June 25, 2009 – Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana as the seventh of nine children. His siblings are Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Randy and Janet. His father Joseph Jackson, who physically and emotionally abused Michael as a child, often performed in an R&B band called The Falcons. Michael was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness by his mother.
In 1964, he and his brother Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers, a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine, respectively. Soon he began performing backup vocals and dancing; then at the age of eight, he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals, and the group’s name was changed to The Jackson 5. They extensively toured the Midwest from 1966 to 1968 and frequently performed at a string of black clubs and venues collectively known as the “chitlin’ circuit”, where they often opened for stripteases and other adult acts.
Michael’s first brake came in 1966, when the band won a major local talent show with renditions of Motown hits and James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, led by himself, after which The Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including “Big Boy”, before signing with Motown Records in 1968.
The group set a chart record when its first four singles “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There” reached No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Starting in 1972, Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown, among them Got to Be There and Ben, which produced successful singles such as “Got to Be There”, “Ben” and “Rockin’ Robin”. The Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975.
It was in 1978 while Michael was working on the film musical The Wiz, an all-black retelling of the Wizard of Oz – in which he played the Scarecrow to Diana Ross’s Dorothy – that he met music producer, composer and arranger, Quincy Jones, the man who would turn him into a superstar and transform the world of popular music, taking Michael’s raw talent and moulding it into an awesome new sound, producing albums with massive world sales, such as Off The Wall: 19m, Thriller: 65m, Bad: 28m, Dangerous: 29m, HIStory: 18m, Invincible: 8m.
As well as being a double-inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1997 and later as a solo artist in 2001, throughout his career Michael has received numerous honors and awards, including the World Music Awards’ Best-Selling Pop Male Artist of the Millennium, the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award and the Bambi Pop Artist of the Millennium Award. He was also an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. His awards include multiple Guinness World Records, eight in 2006 alone, 13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era and the sale of over 750 million albums worldwide, making him the world’s best selling male solo pop artist.
In the first decade of the 21st century , Michael was plagued by money problems and shielded himself from public view. Arrested in 2003 on charges of molesting a 14 year old boy, after a gruelling five-month trial, which took it’s toll on Michael, he was cleared in June 2005. After which he moved for a while to the Middle East where he befriended the king of Bahrain’s son, Sheikh Abdulla Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa.
Sadly his record breaking charity programs seem to have been pushed to the background in more recent years, over the decades Michael has raised and helped raise millions of dollars for various charities. Michael was due to begin a sold-out comeback 50 date residency in London to be starting in September of 2009.
Hundreds of fans queued at the O2 arena as tickets went on sale and more than a quarter of a million people queued online, around 750,000 tickets were sold for the 50-date residency, which he had billed his “Final Curtain Call”. Rehearsals for the show were under way when Michael allegedly suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Bel Air and tragically passed away at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009.
The cause of death was ruled a pain medication prescription homicide at the hands of his doctor, Conrad Murray. Since other superstars since have suffered the same fate (Whitney Houston, Prince, Tom Petty, Chris Cornell etc.) this should throw a light on the relationship pressures between stars and their doctors.
Here is a quiz that will determine How Well You Knew Michael Jackson