Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. Called the King of Pop, his contributions to music, dance and fashion along with his publicized personal life made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
The eighth child of the Jackson family, Michael made his professional debut in 1964 with his elder brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5, and began his solo career in 1971. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. His music videos, including those of “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, and “Thriller” from his 1982 album Thriller, are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. The popularity of these videos helped bring the television channel MTV to fame. Jackson’s 1987 album Bad spawned the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror”, and “Dirty Diana”, becoming the first album to have five number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. He continued to innovate with videos such as “Black or White” and “Scream” throughout the 1990s, and forged a reputation as a touring solo artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous artists of various music genres.
Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of 65 million copies worldwide. Jackson’s other albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world’s best-selling albums. He is recognized as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time by Guinness World Records.Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame as the only dancer from pop and rock music. His other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Legend Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 26 American Music Awards—more than any other artist—including the “Artist of the Century” and “Artist of the 1980s”, 13 number-one singles in the United States during his solo career,—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era—and estimated sales of over 400 million records worldwide. Jackson has won hundreds of awards, making him the most awarded recording artist in the history of popular music. He became the first artist in history to have a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades when “Love Never Felt So Good” reached number nine on May 21, 2014. Jackson traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism, and, in 2000, the Guinness World Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities, more than any other entertainer.
Aspects of Michael Jackson’s personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, generated controversy. In the mid-1990s, he was accused of child sexual abuse, but the civil case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount and no formal charges were brought.In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges after the jury found him not guilty on all counts. While preparing for his comeback concert series, This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and a live broadcast of his public memorial service was viewed around the world. Forbes ranks Jackson as the top-earning dead celebrity, a title held for a sixth consecutive year, with $115 million in earnings.
Life and career
The single-storey house has white walls, two windows, a central white door with a black door frame, and a black roof. In front of the house there is a walk way and multiple colored flowers and memorabilia.Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958. He was the eighth of ten children in a working class African-American family living in a two-bedroom house on Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana, an industrial city and a part of the Chicago metropolitan area.His mother, Katherine Esther Scruse, was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. She played clarinet and piano and once aspired to be a country-and-western performer, but worked part-time at Sears to support the family. Michael’s father, Joseph Walter “Joe” Jackson, a former boxer, was a steelworker at U.S. Steel. Joe also performed on guitar with a local rhythm and blues band, the Falcons, to supplement the family’s household income.Michael grew up with three sisters (Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet) and five brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy).A sixth brother, Marlon’s twin Brandon, died shortly after birth.
Jackson had a troubled relationship with his father, Joe. In 2003, Joe acknowledged that he regularly whipped him as a boy. Joe was also said to have verbally abused his son, often saying that he had a “fat nose”. Jackson stated that he was physically and emotionally abused during incessant rehearsals, though he credited his father’s strict discipline with playing a large role in his success.Speaking openly about his childhood in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, broadcast in February 1993, Jackson acknowledged that his youth had been lonely and isolating. His deep dissatisfaction with his appearance, his nightmares and chronic sleep problems, his tendency to remain hyper-compliant, especially with his father, and to remain childlike throughout his adult life, are consistent with the effects of the maltreatment he endured as a young child.
In an interview with Martin Bashir, later included in the 2003 broadcast of Living with Michael Jackson, Jackson acknowledged that his father hurt him when he was a child. He recalled that Joe often sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed, and that “if you didn’t do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you.”Both of Jackson’s parents have disputed the longstanding allegations of abuse, with Katherine stating that while whippings are considered abuse today, such action was a common way to discipline children back then. Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon have also said that their father was not abusive, but rather misunderstood.
In November 1983 Jackson and his brothers partnered with PepsiCo in a $5 million promotional deal that broke advertising industry records for a celebrity endorsement. The first Pepsi Cola campaign, which ran in the United States from 1983 to 1984 and launched its “New Generation” theme, included tour sponsorship, public relations events, and in-store displays. Jackson, who was actively involved in creating the iconic advertisement, suggested using his song, “Billie Jean”, as its jingle with a revised chorus. According to a Billboard report in 2009, Brian J. Murphy, executive VP of branded management at TBA Global, said: “You couldn’t separate the tour from the endorsement from the licensing of the music, and then the integration of the music into the Pepsi fabric.”
On January 27, 1984, Michael and other members of the Jacksons filmed a Pepsi commercial overseen by executive Phil Dusenberry, a BBDO ad agency executive, and Alan Pottasch, Pepsi’s Worldwide Creative Director, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. During a simulated concert before a full house of fans, pyrotechnics accidentally set Jackson’s hair on fire, causing second-degree burns to his scalp. Jackson underwent treatment to hide the scars and had his third rhinoplasty shortly thereafter. Pepsi settled out of court, and Jackson donated his $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California. Its Michael Jackson Burn Center is named in his honor. Dusenberry later recounted the episode in his memoir, Then We Set His Hair on Fire: Insights and Accidents from a Hall of Fame Career in Advertising. Jackson signed a second agreement with Pepsi in the late 1980s for a reported $10 million. The second campaign had a global reach of more than 20 countries and would provide financial support for Jackson’s Bad album and 1987–88 world tour. Although Jackson had endorsements and advertising deals with other companies, such as LA Gear, Suzuki, and Sony, none were as significant as his deals with Pepsi, which later signed other music stars such as Britney Spears and Beyoncé to promote its products.
In the summer of 1993, Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy named Jordan Chandler and his father, Evan Chandler, a dentist. The Chandler family demanded payment from Jackson, and the singer initially refused. Jordan Chandler eventually told the police that Jackson had sexually abused him. Evan Chandler was recorded discussing his intention to pursue charges, saying, “If I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever….. Michael’s career will be over.” Jordan’s mother was, however, adamant at the time that there had been no wrongdoing on Jackson’s part. Jackson later used the recording to argue that he was the victim of a jealous father whose only goal was to extort money from the singer. In January 1994, after investigation on allegations of extortion against the singer by Chandler, deputy Los Angeles County district attorney Michael J. Montagna stated that Chandler would not be charged, due to lack of cooperation from Jackson’s party and its willingness to negotiate with Chandler for several weeks, among other reasons.
In August 1993, Jackson’s home was raided by the police who, according to court documents, found books and photographs in his bedroom featuring young boys with little or no clothing. Since the books were legal to purchase and own, the jury decided not to indict Jackson. In December 1993, Jackson was strip-searched. Jordan Chandler had reportedly given police a description of Jackson’s intimate parts, and the strip search revealed that Jordan had correctly claimed Jackson had patchy-colored buttocks, short pubic hair, and pink and brown marked testicles. Reportedly, Jordan had also previously drawn accurate pictures of a dark spot on Jackson’s penis only visible when his penis was lifted. Despite differing initial internal reports from prosecutors and investigators and later, with reports of jurors feeling otherwise that the photos did not match the description, the DA stated his belief in a sworn affidavit that the description was accurate, along with the sheriff’s photographer stating the description was accurate. A 2004 motion filed by Jackson’s defense asserted that Jackson was never criminally indicted by any grand jury and that his settlement admitted no wrongdoing and contained no evidence of criminal misconduct.
Death and memorial
Fans flocked to Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, adorning it with flowers and notes on the day of his death.On June 25, 2009, Jackson fell unconscious while lying in bed at his rented mansion at 100 North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles. Attempts at resuscitating him by Conrad Murray, his personal physician, were unsuccessful. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics received a 911 call at 12:22 pm (PDT, 19:22 UTC), arriving three minutes later. Jackson was reportedly not breathing and CPR was performed. Resuscitation efforts continued en route to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and for more than an hour after arriving there at 1:13 pm (20:13 UTC). He was pronounced dead at 2:26 pm Pacific time (21:26 UTC).
Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief.The news spread quickly online, causing websites to slow down and crash from user overload. Both TMZ and the Los Angeles Times suffered outages. Google initially believed that the millions of search requests meant their search engine was under DDoS attack, and blocked searches related to Michael Jackson for 30 minutes. Twitter reported a crash, as did Wikipedia at 3:15 pm PDT (22:15 UTC). The Wikimedia Foundation reported nearly a million visitors to Jackson’s biography within one hour, probably the most visitors in a one-hour period to any article in Wikipedia’s history. AOL Instant Messenger collapsed for 40 minutes. AOL called it a “seminal moment in internet history … We’ve never seen anything like it in terms of scope or depth.”
Around 15% of Twitter posts (5,000 tweets per minute) reportedly mentioned Jackson after the news broke, compared to the 5% recalled as having mentioned the Iranian elections or the flu pandemic that had made headlines earlier in the year. Overall, web traffic ranged from 11% to at least 20% higher than normal. MTV and BET aired marathons of Jackson’s music videos. Jackson specials aired on television stations around the world. The British soap opera EastEnders added a last-minute scene to the June 26 episode in which one character tells another about the news.At the time of death, Jackson had been administered propofol, lorazepam, and midazolam, and the Los Angeles coroner decided to treat the death as a homicide. Law enforcement officials conducted a manslaughter investigation of his personal physician Conrad Murray, and charged him with involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles on February 8, 2010.Jackson’s body was entombed on September 3, 2009, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Portrait and other tributes, including mural and messages from 650 Spanish fans, letters, pictures, teddy bears, and flowers.Tribute of fans from all over the world in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park on the first anniversary of his death.On June 25, 2010, the first anniversary of Jackson’s death, fans traveled to Los Angeles to pay tribute. They visited Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his family’s home, and Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Many of the fans were carrying sunflowers and other tribute items to leave at the sites. Members of the Jackson family and close friends arrived to pay their respects.Katherine returned to Gary, Indiana to unveil a granite monument constructed in the front yard of the family home. The memorial continued with a candlelight vigil and a special performance of “We Are the World”.On June 26, there was a protest march in front of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division at the old Parker Center building and a petition with thousands of signatures demanding justice. The Jackson Family Foundation, in conjunction with Voiceplate, presented “Forever Michael”, an event bringing together Jackson family members, celebrities, fans, supporters and the community to celebrate and honor his legacy. A portion of the proceeds were presented to some of Jackson’s favorite charities. Katherine also introduced her new book “Never Can Say Goodbye”.