Michael Jackson, the legendary King of Pop and one of the most famous artists in history, came into the world on August 29th, 1958. He was born to Joseph and Katherine Jackson and was the seventh of nine children. His siblings are, in order of birth, Maureen (Rebbie), Sigmund (Jackie), Toriano (Tito), Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Steven (Randy), and Janet. His strict father and Jehovah's Witness mother caused Michael's young childhood to be somewhat turbulent. In 1962, Michael's dad formed a band with Michael's three oldest brothers, which Michael joined the next year. At the extremely young age of five, Michael showed very promising talent in both his voice and dance moves. Michael's band, named The Jackson Five, won a series of talent contests which led to a signing with the prestigious Motown Records in 1968.
The Jackson Five released their first single in October of 1969, when Michael was just 11 years old. In 1970, the band made history when its first four singles all became number one hits. In 1971, Michael released his first solo single, Got to Be There, which hit the top five on the charts. The next year Michael had his first number one single, Ben, which was nominated for an Oscar. Michael released his fourth and last solo album with Motown in 1975, and the next year The Jackson Five left Motown and, with the loss of Jermaine, renamed themselves The Jacksons as they signed to Epic Records.
In 1977, Michael starred in The Wiz, an all-black remake of The Wizard of Oz alongside Diana Ross. During filming Michael met his long-time friend composer/producer Quincy Jones, who he collaborated with to produce his next solo album, Off the Wall in 1979. The album, with top hits such as "Rock With You" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," went on to sell over 10 million copies.
Michael's next album, his most famous to date, was released in 1982. Thriller went on to become the highest selling album of all time, with total sales reported to be over 100 million copies. The album also scored Michael a record-breaking seven top-10 singles, including The Girl is Mine, Billie Jean, Beat it, and of course Thriller. Michael revolutionized the way music videos were made with the release of several movie-like stories from his singles on the album. His video for Thriller is arguably the most famous music video of all time. The newly formed MTV played Michael's videos extensively, helping both him and his new CD gain more of a reputation. As if all this was not enough, Thriller also went on to win seven Grammys in 1984. Those seven, along with one from the E.T. the Extraterrestrial story book, gave Michael a record-breaking eight Grammys won in one year.
On May 16th, 1983, Michael debuted his famous "moonwalk" dance move (which he did not actually invent) on Motown's 25th anniversary special on television. In 1984 he made his final album with The Jacksons, Victory, which also included a very successful tour.
Rumors began to spread about Michael's personal life, which spread even more after he bought a big ranch in California, named it Neverland, and filled it with animals and amusement park rides. Michael also began having cosmetic surgery, which led to rumors that he was purposely trying to become whiter. Michael countered these rumors by revealing that he had a skin disease called vitiligo, which causes large white blotches on the skin. In 1985, Michael's purchase of ATV Publishing, which controlled the Beatles' catalog, cost him his friendship with John McCartney.
In 1987 Michael released his next album, entitled Bad, which debuted at number one and is the only album in the world to have five number one singles -I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, and Dirty Diana. The highest grossing tour of all time, which was Michael's first solo world tour, accompanied the album. In 1988, Michael's memoir, Moonwalk was adapted into a film.
In 1991, after being dubbed "Wacko Jacko" by British tabloids for his eccentric ways, Michael released his next album, Dangerous under his new contract with Sony. As was expected, the album debuted at number one, and the album's first single, Black or White, also shot to the top of the charts. He earned a Living Legend Award at the Grammys in 1993.
Controversy one again surfaced though, first from the music video of Black or White and then from accusations (in 1993) that Michael had molested a child. Michael's habits of spending unusual amounts of time with children at his Neverland ranch became the center of much gossip and speculation. When the accusations of molestation became public Michael cancelled the tour he was on and, after a long battle, eventually settled the case out of court for an estimated $20 million, though Michael still claimed that he had done nothing wrong.
The molestation charges brought against Michael severely tarnished his reputation. Also in 1993, Michael had a 90-minute interview with Oprah, which was the most-watched program in 1993, with over 100 million viewers worldwide.
Michael married Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' daughter, in 1994 in a secret ceremony in the Dominican Republic, but the marriage only lasted for 19 months. The short marriage fueled even more rumors, including ones of Michael being a homosexual.
Returning to the music world, in 1995 Michael released yet another album that debuted at number one - HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The double album featured 15 of Michael's greatest hits along with 15 new songs. The album was heavily promoted, while at the same time Michael spoke out against the public's intrusions into his personal life. Although HIStory was initially successful, it quickly dropped from the top of the charts and was deemed a disappointment by many. Michael's remix album Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, released in 1997, was also considered a failure.
On November 14th, 1996, Michael married Debbie Rowe, an assistant to his dermatologist, after they announced that she was pregnant with his child. Prince Michael Jackson Jr. was born on February 13th, 1997. Michael and Debbie had a second child, Paris Katherine Jackson, on April 3rd, 1998. Soon after, in 1999, the couple divorced.
Michael was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, which he followed with a concert that celebrated his 30th anniversary as a solo artist. The concert included a reunion of The Jacksons. Also in 2001, in light of the events of September 11th, Michael put together an all-star single What More Can I Give. At the end of the same year he released yet another album that debuted at number one on the charts, Invincible. Sadly, the album quickly slid down the charts and had disappointing sales, which Michael blamed Sony for. In 2002, Michael again became a father, with an unknown woman giving birth to his third child, Prince Michael Jackson II.
A Greatest Hits compilation, Number 1's was released by Michael in 2003. Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection was released the next year. Over the last few years Michael was the subject of huge amounts of gossip, rumors, allegations, and controversies. Most notable are the nine felony charges that were made against Michael - seven were for "performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14" and two were for "administering an intoxicating agent." On June 13th, 2005, Michael was acquitted of all nine charges. In light of recent events, Michael left Neverland ranch and moved to the island of Bahrain.
On March 5th, 2009, Michael announced a 50-date comeback tour in London, England called "This Is It." Michael explained that the tour would be his final set of performances in England. The tour sold out within hours, and the first date was set for July 13th.
Michael Jackson shockingly died on June 25, 2009, whipping the whole country, if not the whole world, into a frenzy. Michael died of cardiac arrest in his rented mansion near Los Angeles, California. He was rushed to the hospital, but attempts to revive him failed. Media outlets covered the news heavily, and fans crowded both Michael's rented home and the hospital where he was taken. Various theories and conspiracies evolved during the next days and weeks surrounding Michael's death, while the world remained in shock over the tragic loss of one of the world's most talented, yet too often misunderstood, artists.