Michael Joseph Jackson, commonly referred to as the “King of Pop”, was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana to Joseph Walter “Joe” Jackson and Katherine Esther Jackson. His father, a former boxer, worked as a steelworker with the US steel. Additionally, Joe performed with a local rhythm and blues band, the Falcons, to supplement the family’s income. His mother left the Baptist faith to become a Jehovah’s Witness in 1963. She played the piano and the clarinet very well and worked part time at Sears to support her family. Michael was the eighth child of the ten Jackson family with five brothers, who later became known as the Jackson 5, and three sisters. Michael was one of the influential and popular entertainers in the world and the best-selling music artist during the year of his death.
In 1964, Jackson made his musical debut with his other brothers namely Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marion as a member of the Jackson five musical group. He went solo in 1971 while still with Motown Records. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a household name in pop music. His musical videos have been credited as breaking racial barriers mostly especially those from the album Thriller. His 1987 album, Bad climbed the US billboard and became the first album to have five singles as number one. These singles included “Dirty Diana”, “The Man in the Mirror”, “The Way You Made Me Feel”, “Bad”, and “Can’t Stop Loving You”. Jackson became known worldwide as a touring artist and through stage and television performances, Jackson invented and popularized a number of dance steps, such as robot and moonwalk.
Jackson Thriller album is the best-selling album of all time with over 66 million copies sold worldwide. Jackson’s other albums “like off the wall”, released in 1979, “Bad”, released in 1987, “Dangerous”, released in 1991 and “HIStory”, released in 1995, also experienced some level of successes and ranked among top selling albums worldwide. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, making him one the few artists to have achieved that. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance hall of Fame as the only dancer to have been inducted from pop and rock music. Jackson received numerous awards and other personal achievements which included multiple Guinness World Records, including one for the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time, 13 Grammy Awards, The Grammy Legend Award, The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 24 American Music Awards – the most recipient of this award more than any other artist and included the Artist of the Century Award, 13 number one singles in the United States during his incredible solo career – more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era – and an estimated record sales of over 350 million copies worldwide.
Jackson won many awards not only for his musical creativity but for his humanitarianism. In 2000, The Guinness Book of Records, recognized him for supporting up to 39 charities, more than any other artist.
Despite all this, Jackson courted a lot of controversies in the 1980s for his changing physical appearance, his relationships and behavior, and in 1993, he was accused of sexually molesting a boy by a family friend. The case went to court but later settled out of court for undisclosed fee. In 2005, he was once again accused of child sexual abuse but was found not guilty by the jury on all counts.
On June 25, 2009, Jackson died of cardiac arrest as a result of acute propofol and benzodiazepine overdose while preparing for his comeback concert, “This is it.” His death was later ruled as a homicide by the LA county Coroner and his personal physician Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
He was ranked as the top earning death celebrity by Forbes for five years running in 2017.