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Birth name Michael Joseph Jackson
Also known as Michael Joe Jackson
The King of Pop
Born August 29, 1958 (age 49)
R&B, soul, pop, dance-pop, disco, rock, urban, funk, Motown
Occupation(s) singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, dancer, choreographer, actor
Vocals, percussion, multiple instruments
Years active 1967 - present
Motown, Epic, Sony, The Michael Jackson Company, Inc.
Associated acts The Jackson 5/Jacksons, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Siedah Garrett, Teddy Riley
Influences James Brown, Jackie Wilson, Diana Ross, Joe Tex, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, The Beatles, David Ruffin, Little Richard, The Isley Brothers, Sammy Davis, Jr., Fred Astaire
Michael Joseph Jackson (born August 29, 1958), often referred to as MJ and The King of Pop, is an American musician and entertainer, who debuted on the professional music scene at the age of ten as a member of the Jackson 5, and went on to become a pop icon as a solo artist. His successful career and controversial, enigmatic personal life have been a part of pop culture for almost four decades. Jackson has dominated pop music since the late 1970s, becoming the first black entertainer to amass a strong cross-over following on MTV with his revolutionary transformation of the music video as an art form and as a promotional tool. The popularity of videos aired on MTV such as "Beat It", "Black or White", "Scream" and "Billie Jean" created a tremendous synergy that helped to put the relatively young channel "on the map". BMI, The performing rights organization that represents Jackson and hundreds of other artists, stated that Jackson also popularized physically-complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk, that have redefined mainstream dance and entertainment. His distinctive style, dance moves, and vocals have influenced a whole generation of hip hop, pop, and R&B artists. He has been cited as the "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time" by Guinness World Records, and holds the record for the best-selling album ever, Thriller.
Michael Jackson has received thirteen Grammy Awards (eight on a single night in 1984) and two of his solo albums have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Jackson has charted thirteen #1 singles in the United States, more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era. In November 2006, the World Music Awards announced that Jackson had sold over 750 million units worldwide and given $300 million to charity, making Jackson one of the best-selling music artists and the most charitable humanitarians of all time, whose efforts on the latter front have been acknowledged with a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. However, Jackson's controversial appearance and actions have damaged his reputation in the eyes of some of the public and album sales have been in decline since the mid 1990s.
From 1988 to 2005,
• 1 Career
o 1.1 Musical prodigy
o 1.2 Off the Wall
o 1.3 Thriller
o 1.4 Bad
o 1.5 Dangerous
o 1.6 HIStory
o 1.7 Invincible
o 1.8 Trial, career hiatus and reissues
o 1.9 Return to public eye and 25th anniversary of Thriller
o 1.10 Forthcoming studio album
• 2 Influence
o 2.1 Music videos and MTV
o 2.2 Style and performance
• 3 Personal life
o 3.1 Childhood
o 3.2 Marriages and children
o 3.3 Humanitarian efforts
o 3.4 Physical appearance
o 3.5 Child molestation charges
o 3.6 Finances
3.6.1 Music catalogs and loans
3.6.2 Neverland Ranch employees
3.6.3 F. Marc Schaffel
3.6.4 Prescient Acquisition Group
• 4 Discography
o 4.2 Number ones in selected countries
o 4.3 Studio albums
• 5 Filmography
o 5.1 Notable music videos
o 5.2 Films
• 6 See also
• 7 References
• 8 Further reading
• 9 External links
Main article: The Jackson 5
Michael Jackson, bottom center, as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1971
Michael took co-lead singing duties with brother Jermaine when the group's name changed from The Jackson Brothers to The Jackson 5 in 1966. The group eventually auditioned for, and signed a contract with, Motown Records in 1968. They hit stardom with their first four singles, "I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There", which charted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first time ever a group had pulled off that feat. While remaining a member of the group, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown, among them Got to Be There in 1971 and Ben in the following year. These were released as part of the
The group's sales declined after 1973 and they chafed under Motown's strict refusal to allow them creative control or input. In 1976, the group signed a new contract with CBS Records (first joining the Philadelphia International division and then Epic Records). Motown Records sued the group for breach of contract.
As a result of the legal proceedings, which were further complicated by the fact that Jermaine Jackson was married to the daughter of Motown president (Berry Gordy), the Jacksons lost the rights to use the "Jackson 5" name and logo. Jermaine left the group, choosing to stay at Motown. They changed their name to "The Jacksons", featuring youngest brother Randy in Jermaine's place, and continued their successful career, touring internationally and releasing six more albums between 1976 and 1984, with Jermaine eventually re-joining in 1983, making them a sextet. From 1976 to 1984, Michael was the lead songwriter of the group, writing such hits as "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)", "This Place Hotel", and "Can You Feel It". In 1978,
Off the Wall
Main article: Off the Wall
Off the Wall, released in 1979, made music history becoming the first album ever to spawn four top-ten hits, including the number-one hits, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You". It reached #3 in the Billboard album charts, spending 48 consecutive weeks on the Top 20. Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson jointly produced the album, with lyrics and music by Jackson, Heatwave's Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney, among others. The album signaled the arrival of a new Michael Jackson, one not reliant upon his brothers to further his career. Off the Wall, buoyed by its catchy dance rhythms and avoidance of the "shallow excesses...of the period's disco," eventually sold some 20 million copies worldwide. Despite its commercial success, Jackson felt the album should have made a much bigger impact and was determined to exceed expectations with his next release.
In January 1980,
Michael Jackson at the White House in 1984 with then-President Ronald Reagan and his wife.
Main articles: Thriller (album), Victory Tour, We Are the World, and Captain EO
In November 1982, the storybook for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was released. It included
In 1983, while performing "Billie Jean" at the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever concert,
In February 1984,
Thriller was a gigantic hit that made
After reuniting with his brothers, he helped to write and produce the Victory album. He then performed and starred in the Victory Tour, which started on July 6, 1984 and lasted for five months. That year, Jackson was invited to the White House and was thanked by President Ronald Reagan at a White House ceremony for allowing the song "Beat It" to be used in drunk driving prevention television and radio public service announcements.
Tabloid stories of
In 2008, the Thriller album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Main articles: Bad (album) and Bad World Tour
Michael Jackson's meeting in 1990 with George H. W. Bush
Bad had lower sales compared to Thriller, but was still a commercial success. In the
This period saw
Main articles: Dangerous (album) and Dangerous World Tour
In November 1991,
The biggest hit single in the
The second single released from Dangerous was "Remember The Time" which spent 8 weeks in the top 5 in
Later that year, Jackson made most high-profile international visits: a trip to Africa in which he visited several countries, among them Gabon and Egypt. This was the singer's second arrival on the continent, his first having occurred as a 14-year-old with the Jackson 5. His first stop to Gabon was greeted with a sizable reception of more than 100,000 people in "spiritual bedlam", some of them carrying signs that read, "Welcome Home Michael". In his trip to the Ivory Coast, Jackson visited the gold-mining village of Krindjabo, populated by the Agni tribe and located near the capital of Abidjan, and was crowned "King Sani" by a tribal chief. He then thanked the dignitaries in French and English, signed official documents formalizing his kingship, and sat on a golden throne while presiding over ceremonial dances. Jackson finished his stay in Africa by going to Egypt and promoting the Dangerous album. In January 1993, he performed during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII. It drew one of the largest viewing audiences in the history of American television. Jackson was given the "Living Legend Award" at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Main articles: HIStory, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, HIStory World Tour, and BRIT awards
In June 1995,
The first single released from HIStory was "Scream", sung and performed with his sister Janet Jackson. The single had the best ever debut at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and had a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals" . The music video for "Scream" is one of his most critically acclaimed winning three MTV awards in 1995 and a Grammy in 1996. "Scream" is currently the most expensive music video ever made. "You Are Not Alone" was the second single released from HIStory and would become the first song ever to debut at #1 on the Hot 100,(beating his previous single "Scream"). It reached #1 in various international markets, including
"Earth Song" was the third single released from HIStory, it was accompanied by a well received expensive music video that was nominated for a grammy in 1996 but lost to his earlier video "Scream". The song topped the UK singles chart for six weeks over Christmas in 1995 and sold one million copies there, making it his most successful UK single, surpassing the success of "Billie Jean". At the 1996 BRIT Awards,
During the "HIStory World Tour", Slash joined
In 1997, Jackson released an album of new material titled Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, with remixes of hit singles from HIStory, and five new songs; it sold six million copies worldwide and became the greatest selling remix album ever, reaching #1 in Britain.  Of the new songs, three were released globally: the title track, "Ghosts" and "Is It Scary". The title track reached #1 in the
Main article: Invincible (album)
In October 2001, Invincible was released and debuted at number-one in thirteen countries. Invincible went on to sell nearly 8-10 million copies worldwide.  The album spawned three singles: "You Rock My World," "Cry," and "Butterflies." Around the same time that Invincible came out, Jackson and 35 other artists recorded a charity benefit single entitled "What More Can I Give", designed to raise money for 9/11 victims, which was never released. Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, that he was not going to renew his contract; the contract was about to expire in terms of supplying the label with albums of full-new material for release through Epic Records/SME. In 2002, all singles releases, video shootings, and promotions concerning the Invincible album were canceled.
Subsequently, Jackson made allegations that Mottola was a "devil" and a "racist" who did not support his African American artists and who used black artists for his own personal gain . Sony disputed these allegations, pointing out that Mottola was once married to biracial pop star Mariah Carey. The sales for this album were poor compared to his previous releases, which may be due to the lack of a supporting world tour and because only one music video was released to promote the album. While most reviewers called the album
On September 7 and September 10, 2001,
Trial, career hiatus and reissues
Main articles: Number Ones, People v.
In November 2003, Jackson and Sony Records released a compilation of his number-one hits on CD and DVD titled Number Ones. The compilation has sold over six million copies worldwide. On the album's scheduled release date, Jackson was in Las Vegas filming the video for "One More Chance" (the only new song included in the Number Ones compilation), the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department searched Jackson's home, the Neverland Ranch, and issued an arrest warrant for Jackson on new charges of child molestation. Jackson was accused of sexual abuse by Gavin Arviso, who appeared in the Living with Michael Jackson documentary earlier that year .
After being acquitted of the charges June 13, 2005 ,
In February 2006, Jackson's label released Visionary: The Video Singles, a box set made up of twenty of his biggest hit singles, each of which were issued individually week by week over a five-month period. Sony released the Visionary box set in the US on November 14, 2006.
Return to public eye and 25th anniversary of Thriller
Main article: Thriller 25
Following the death of James Brown, more than 8000 people watched as several artists, including Jackson, paid tribute during Brown's public funeral on December 30, 2006. Reverend Al Sharpton, who was close to Brown, delivered his sermon at the funeral, in which he stated that in the last conversation he had with Brown, he had said that artists like Jackson needed to continue to make positive music for all people.
In October and November 2007, Jackson did photo shoots to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of Thriller in L'Uomo Vogue, the Italian men's version of Vogue magazine and Ebony Magazine. In the US, Jackson sold 650,000 albums and dvds in 2007, 250,000 more than Madonna.
On February 11, 2008,
Internationally, "The Girl Is Mine 2008" was released as a downloadable single on January 14 and on CD on January 25. In the United Kingdom the CD release was pushed back to February 4. In the United States, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" was the first single released on January 23. "The Girl Is Mine 2008" reached #2 in Japan, #4 in Mexico, #6 in the Netherlands, #7 on the United World Airplay Chart, a top 20 position in the major European markets but saw disappointing sales in Canada. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" reached #3 in Sweden, #4 in New Zealand, #8 in Australia, #32 in Canada, but saw disappointing sales in America. On March 21, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" will see its physical release in Europe. These are Jackson's first singles since "One More Chance" in 2003.
Album track "Beat It 2008" began charting, reaching #26 in Switzerland, #31 in Denmark, #43 in Sweden, #60 in Japan, #74 in Germany, #75 in Austria and #77 in Canada as did "Billie Jean 2008", reaching #91 in Germany. Unusual for Jackson, no music videos have been released yet.
On February 3, 2008 a televised Pepsi ad featuring super model Naomi Campbell singing and dancing to "Thriller" aired during Super Bowl XLII, exposing the song to over 95 million Americans. The ad also aired at the Grammys on February 10 and marked the first time Jackson has been associated with the Pepsi label since 1993.
Forthcoming studio album
Main article: Michael Jackson's forthcoming studio album
Shortly after Thriller 25,
See Also: Legacy of Thriller
In the mid-1980s, Time Magazine called
Music videos and MTV
Further information: Michael Jackson's Music Videos
Michael Jackson is widely regarded as being the first artist to elevate music videos to a meaningful art form, setting off new trends of story-telling, mini-movies, and choreographed dance sequences that dominate the genre to this day.
Style and performance
Among the most celebrated aspects of
On March 25, 1983,
In the late 1980's,
Michael Jackson's personal life has been under the spotlight for decades. His marriages, children, physical appearance, humanitarian efforts, and accusations of child molestation have all received considerable media coverage world-wide.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born in
Marriages and children
Michael Jackson with his children in Disneyland Paris in 2006
On November 14, 1996, during the Australian leg of the HIStory World Tour, Jackson married his dermatologist's nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe, with whom he fathered a son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (also known as "Prince"), and a daughter, Paris Katherine Jackson. Jackson and Rowe divorced in 1999.
In November 2002,
The controversial documentary Living with Michael Jackson aired in the
Jackson felt betrayed by Bashir and complained that the film gives a distorted picture. In response to the media scrutiny, two specials were aired: Michael Jackson: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See and Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies. Michael Jackson: The Footage You Were Never Meant to See which aired later in February showed uncut footage of the Living with Michael Jackson documentary. The Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies aired in April was a 2-hour special with footage of Michael Jackson's home videos and included commentary by
Jackson began his charity work in 1981 with his brothers following the Triumph tour where they raised $100,000 for the Atlanta Children's Foundation. In 1984, following his burning accident with Pepsi the drinks manufacture gave Jackson a $1.5 million out of court settlement which he donated to the Michael Jackson Burn Centre set up in his Honour. In July 1984 he donated his $5million share from the Victory tour to charity. In 1985 Jackson co-wrote with Lionel Richie the hit song "We Are the World", and sung a featured solo on the charity single. The record helped to raise money and awareness for the famine in East Africa and was one of the first instances where
In late 2002,
Michael Jackson after being acquitted of child molestation charges on June 13, 2005
Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1993, Jackson addressed the rumors claiming that the change in his skin color was due to the disease vitiligo. In the interview, Jackson became emotional, saying that: "I'm a black American, I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am. I have a lot of pride and dignity... I have a skin disorder that destroys the pigmentation of my skin, it's something that I cannot help, OK? But when people make up stories that I don't want to be what I am it hurts me... It's a problem for me that I can't control."
Child molestation charges
Main article: People v.
I have spent my entire life helping millions of children across the world. I would never harm a child. It is unfortunate that some individuals have seen fit to come forward and make a complaint that is completely false. Years ago, I settled with certain individuals because I was concerned about my family and the media scrutiny that would have ensued if I fought the matter in court. These people wanted to exploit my concern for children by threatening to destroy what I believe in and what I do. I have been a vulnerable target for those who want money.
– Michael Jackson
On December 18, 2003,
The People v.
The District Attorney of Santa Barbara County in California, Tom Sneddon, has led two efforts against Jackson involving child molestation. The first incident, in 1993, resulted in no charges and the second, at the end of 2003, culminated in a trial two years later in which Jackson was acquitted on all counts. These repeated prosecutions have led to suggestions that Sneddon was motivated by a "mission" or "vendetta" against
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards.
Please improve this article if you can. (January 2008)
Music catalogs and loans
Michael Jackson purchased ownership in ATV Music Publishing in 1985, which owns the publishing rights to songs written by The Beatles and many other acts. In 1995, Jackson and Sony Music Publishing merged their two catalogues to create Sony-ATV.
Over the past 10 years,
In April 2005, Bank of America sold the loan to Fortress Investments.
In a move named by
In exchange, Sony negotiated with a loans company on behalf of
Michael Jackson owes a $5 million interest payment to Fortress Trust, the publicly traded hedge fund that bought his $272 million loan from Bank of America in April 2005 (the loan has been refinanced to $325 million by Fortress). The payment is due on Oct. 31, 2007.
Neverland Ranch employees
On March 9, 2006,
Soon after this payment, Jackson's spokesperson announced on March 16, 2006 that Jackson was closing his house at Neverland and had laid off some of the employees but added that reports of the closing of the entire ranch were inaccurate.
F. Marc Schaffel
On July 14, 2006, the jury awarded Schaffel $900,000 of the original $3.8 million he sued
Prescient Acquisition Group
On July 31, 2006, a federal judge allowed a $48 million claim against
Main articles: Michael Jackson album discography and Michael Jackson singles discography
• 1972: "Ben"
• 1979: "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
• 1980: "Rock with You"
• 1983: "Billie Jean"
• 1983: "Beat It"
• 1983: "Say Say Say" (with Paul McCartney)
• 1987: "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
• 1987: "Bad"
• 1987: "The Way You Make Me Feel"
• 1988: "Man in the Mirror"
• 1988: "Dirty Diana"
• 1991: "Black or White"
• 1995: "You Are Not Alone"
Number ones in selected countries
• 1972: Got to Be There
• 1972: Ben
• 1973: Music & Me
• 1975: Forever, Michael
• 1984: Farewell My Summer Love
• 1979: Off the Wall
• 1982: Thriller
• 1987: Bad
• 1991: Dangerous
• 1995: HIStory: Past, Present and Future - Book I
• 1997: Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix
• 2001: Invincible
Sony BMG releases
• 2008: TBA
Main article: Michael Jackson filmography
Notable music videos
• 1983: "Billie Jean"
• 1983: "Beat It"
• 1983: "Thriller"
• 1987: "Bad"
• 1987: "The Way You Make Me Feel"
• 1988: "Smooth Criminal"
• 1989: "Leave Me Alone"
• 1991: "Black or White"
• 1992: "Remember the Time"
• 1995: "Scream"
• 1995: "Earth Song"
• 2001: "You Rock My World"
• 1978: The Wiz
• 1986: Captain EO
• 1988: Moonwalker
• 1997: Ghosts