Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009) was a world-famous pop icon and entertainer who is often referred to as the "King of Pop". He started off in with his brothers in the musical group sensation The Jackson Five in the 1970s and continued to have a hugely successful career in the 1980s and 1990s. He has released some of the best selling albums of all time including Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987) and Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995). Thriller itself is the best selling album of all time worldwide with sales of 260 million copies. Michael Jackson was a humanist, although he criticized communism in the song Stranger in Moscow.
Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958. He rose to fame as part of the successful pop group The Jackson Five, formed with his brothers in 1967. The group went on to earn four number one hits in 1970 alone, and the 12-year-old Jackson became the undeniable breakout star of the group.
Jackson redefined the music video into an art form with examples that include "Thriller", "Billie Jean", "Beat It", "Bad", "Black or White", "Remember The Time", "Scream" and "Earthsong". He has released the most popular music video of all time ("Thriller") and the most expensive music video of all time ("Scream"), which also received critical acclaim.
He was badly burned while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1983. His 1994 marriage to Lisa Marie Presley ended in divorce less than two years later. Jackson then married nurse Deborah Rowe in 1996. Rowe gave birth to two children, and the couple were divorced in 1999. Jackson adopted a third child in 2002. Using money earned from his record sales Jackson built his private ranch known as Neverland. He was twice accused of child molestation; in 1994 he settled out of court, paying his accuser an undisclosed amount, and in 2005 was acquitted (found not guilty) of the charges at his jury trial. Jackson returned to music in 2008 with a special edition of his "Thriller" album called "Thriller25". The reissue was successful selling 650,000 copies in two weeks.
Michael Jackson died June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California by cause of heart failure which was brought on by long-term abuse of prescription medications. His death was hastened by the misapplication of a powerful anesthetic by his doctor who went on to face manslaughter charges. He died several days before he was supposed to go back on tour for his This is It! series of concerts in London. He died with nearly $500 million in debts.
In his youth, Michael Jackson belonged to Jehovah's Witnesses.
- How Michael Jackson Got Away With It at FrontPageMag
- Michael Jackson leaves hefty debts Reuters, June 26, 2009