Michael Joseph Jackson, 29th August 1958, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.
Michael Jackson has had an unquestionable impact upon the soul and rock scene
over the previous four decades. Michael has spent almost his entire life on the
public stage in one way or another.
He has moved from child star to controversial multi-millionaire, still holding on
to his childhood.
Michael was a founder-member of the Jackson Five at the age of four, fast
becoming the group's lead vocalist. His dance moves and vocal stylings were,
initially, based upon those of James Brown.
The Jackson Five were signed to Motown Records at the end of 1968, their early
releases, included the chart hits, 'I Want You Back', 'Never Can Say Goodbye'
and 'I'll Be There'.
Some critics question the soulfullness of the singer, however, his vocal stylings
showed a maturity beyond his years. When MGM Records launched the
Osmonds as rivals to the Jackson Five in 1970, and singled out their lead singer,
13-year-old Donny Osmond, for a solo career, Motown responded accordingly.
Michael Jackson's first release as a solo performer was the ballad 'Got To Be
There', a hit both sides of the Atlantic. Michael covered Bobby Day's song
'Rockin' Robin' and reached the top of the US charts in 1972. The following year
he reached the top ten with the song 'Ben' taken from a movie and highlighted as
possibly Michael's most soulful moment. Motown capitalized on his popularity
with a series of albums that covered various area's of soul music and Motown's
own catalogue. During the Eighties, several of the recordings from this time were
re-released to fill in between a lengthening gap between the newer product.
As the decade progressed, Michael concentrated on recording with his brothers,
to keep the momentum moving. The group moved to Philadelpia International
and released several excellent albums as the Jacksons. Michael took a solo career
turn with a starring role in the film musical 'The Wiz', collaborating on the
soundtrack album with Quincy Jones. Their partnership was renewed in 1979
when Jones produced 'Off The Wall', an album accepted by his fans and soul
purists as the boy became a young man. 'Off The Wall' went on to sell in it's
millions and it heralded the start of his road to becoming a multi millionaire, a
road that was to have several twists and turns. The album topped the charts in
the UK and USA, and contained two number 1 singles, 'Don't Stop Till You Get
Enough' (for which Jackson won a Grammy award) and 'Rock With You'.
Meanwhile, Motown capitalized on his commercial status by reissuing a
recording from the mid 70's, 'One Day In Your Life', which duly topped the UK
charts. Michael continued to tour and record with the Jacksons after this solo
success, while media speculation grew regarding his private life.
This media attention would haunt him in the coming years. Michael was
increasingly reported as a figure trapped in an eternal childhood. The media had
him surrounded by toys and pet animals, and living somewhere away from
reality. These speculations were utilised when he was chosen to narrate an album
based on the 1982 fantasy film ET - The Extra Terrestrial. The record was
quickly withdrawn because of legal complications, but still won Jackson another
Grammy award. In 1982, 'Thriller', Jackson's second album with Quincy Jones,
was released, and went on to become one of the most commercially successful
albums of all time. It also produced a run of successful hit singles, each
accompanied by a promotional video that widened the scope of the project. 'The
Girl Is Mine', a duet with Paul McCartney became a friendly collaboration,
however, there would be future animosities between the pair regarding rights for
the old Beatles tunes, many soon to be owned by Michael.
The song reached number 1 in the U.S.A. and the U.K., however, when the track
'Billie Jean' was released, it opened the floodgates of possibilities for the artist.
The song became an ernormous international hit. The accompanying video was a
spectacular affair. The follow-up, 'Beat It', with its guitar solo by Eddie Van
Halen, was one of the first black records to receive regualr airplay on the MTV
video station. Its promo film involved Jackson at the centre of a choreographed
street battle, with it's hints of the musical 'West Side Story'. The next single,
'Thriller' became another huge international hit, with the video running for
nearly 20 minutes. It showed Michael as a figure living outside reality, changing
into a werewolf. The track included dialogue from the horror movie actor
This promo clip led to a follow-up, 'The Making Of Thriller', which in turn sold
more copies than any other home video to date.
The 'Thriller' album and singles won Jackson a further seven Grammies; amidst
this run of hits, Jackson slotted in 'Say Say Say', a second chart-topping duet
with Paul McCartney. He accepted the largest individual sponsorship deal in
history from Pepsi-Cola in 1983. The following year, his involvement in the
Jacksons' 'Victory Tour' sparked the greatest demand for concert tickets in the
history of popular music. Michael had by now become more than just a
superstar, leading to further media speculation regarding his private life. It was
claimed that he had undergone extensive plastic surgery to alter his appearance
and photographs were published that suggested he slept in a special chamber to
prevent himself ageing. Michael moved into 1985, co-writing and performing on
the U.S.A. For Africa benefit single 'We Are The World', another international
He then spent 47.5 million dollars in purchasing the ATV Music company, who
controlled the songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, thus effectively
ending his favourable relationship his old friend. Later that year, he took part in
'Captain Eo', a short film that was only shown at the Disneyworld amusement
park and Michael also announced plans to write his autobiography. The book
was delayed while he recorded 'Bad', another collaboration with Quincy Jones
that finally appeared in 1987. The album produced seven Top 10 singles with the
tile track turning into another 'Thriller' style video.
'Bad' was not as successful as his previous two albums losing the soul side
soundings in favour of a more rock orientated vibe. Michael's work continued on
a grander and grander scale. He undertook a lengthy world concert tour to
promote 'Bad', utilizing stunning visual effects to capture the atmosphere of his
At the same time, he published his autobiography, 'Moonwalker', which was
moderately successful in comparison to his previous efforts. 'Dangerous'
followed at the end of 1991 and was seen to be a modest return to form.The
album featured Teddy Riley contributing on a number of tracks. Michaels new
product from this point onwards was anticipated eagerly. Until 1992, his refusal
to undergo interviews had allowed the media to show the singer in any light they
wished. In 1992, he agreed to a carefully rehearsed interview with US chat show
host Oprah Winfrey. The televised programme was shown all over world, during
which viewers saw his personal funfair in the back garden, and watched as
Jackson spoke of his domineering father. However, things took a downturn in
1993, just as the singer thought he had addressed all of the controversial issues.
Allegations of sexual abuse were made by one of Jackson's young friends. The
media went to town.
His home was raided by police while he was on tour in the Far East and the
artist, clearly disturbed, cancelled a number of performances, alledgedly, due to
dehydration. No charges were made, and the dust settled until November 1993,
when Michael left the U.S.A. and went into hiding. Additionally, he confessed to
being addicted to painkillers and was seeking treatment.
After this admission, Jackson's long-time sponsors Pepsi-Cola decided to pull out
of their contract an event that tarnished his efforts to show the World he is just
an ordinary guy.
The media were handed more fodder when he, married Lisa Marie Presley on
26th May 1994, perhaps in an attempt to rebuild his image. The marriage
collapsed nineteen months later, giving further rise to allegations that it was
merely a set-up to improve his tarnished image.
He did, however, regain some of his popularity with 'HIStory Past, Present And
Future, Book 1'. One half of the double set chronicled his past hits, but there was
the equivalent of a new album forming the second half. Lyrically this album gave
Michael a soapbox in order that he could respond to his critics.
Michael Jackson brit awards. The downside of this return was an appearance at
the 1996 BRIT Awards. Controversy surrounded Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp), who
invaded the stage in protest while Jackson, dressed in Messiah-white, was
surrounded by, among others, worshipping children and a rabbi. 'Blood On The
Dancefloor HIStory In The Mix' was a collection of remixes and new material
that spawned further hit singles. In 2001 a new Michael Jackson CD was
completed and featured the single 'You Rock My World'. It was titled
'Invincible' featured several producers, including Teddy Riley as the main
Guests on the album included Carlos Santana, Destiny's Child, R.Kelly along
with a few others.It appeared that, despite the allegations of child abuse and the
constant media attacks, particularly surrounding his unexpected second
marriage and the, birth of his child, Jackson's fans remained loyal to the 'King
of Pop'. Older Michael Jackson In 2002, an interview with Martin Bashir,
broadcast all over the World, showed a middle aged man trapped in a child's
mindset. Michael told the interviewer that he slept with children in his room,
causing more media outrage. To this date, the singer’s private life is a constant
source of media interest, sadly making the interest in Michael's musical output of
a secondary nature. This was proven by further child molestation charges in
June 2005, from which Michael was cleared on all charges (also losing around
40lbs in weight), however, the fears at the time were that his recording career
had been brought to an end.
Got To Be There (Motown 1971)
Ben (Motown 1972)
Music And Me (Motown 1973)
Forever, Michael (Motown 1975)
Off The Wall (Epic 1979)
One Day In Your Life (Motown 1981)
Thriller (Epic 1982)
ET - The Extra Terrestrial (MCA 1983)
Farewell My Summer Love (1973 recording (Motown 1984)
Looking Back To Yesterday (Motown 1986)
Bad (Epic 1987)
Dangerous (Epic 1991)
HIStory Past, Present & Future, Book 1 (Epic 1995)
Blood On The Dance Moor HIStory In The Mix (Epic 1997)
Invincible (Epic 2001)