Popularly known as the “King of Pop,” singer-songwriter Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958. When he was a child he performed as the lead singer of the Jackson family’s popular Motown group, the Jackson 5. Jackson went on to become one of the most internationally famous award-winning solo pop sensations to date. At the age of 13, Jackson launched a solo career in addition to his work with the Jackson 5.
He made the charts in 1971 with “Got to Be There” from the album of the same name. Michael Jackson signed a $5 million endorsement deal with Pepsi-Cola around this time.
He, however, was badly injured while filming a commercial for the soda giant in 1984, suffering burns to his face and scalp. Jackson had surgery to repair his injuries, and is believed to have begun experimenting with plastic surgery around this time.
Disappointed his fans by singing a few lines from “We Are the World”, accompanied by a children’s choir, after he had been rumoured to perform his 1982 hit “Thriller” as a triumphant comeback at the World Music Awards at Earls Court, London.
Releasing his follow-up to Thriller in 1987, Jackson reached the top of the charts with Bad. It featured five No. 1 hits, including “Man in the Mirror,” “The Way You Make Me Feel” and the title track, which was supported by a video directed by Martin Scorsese.
Jackson spent more than a year on the road, playing concerts to promote the album. He received a Presidential Humanitarian Award from President Ronald Reagan at the White House in May 1984, in recognition of Jackson’s contribution to the government’s campaign against drunk driving.
“Beat It” was used in television advertisements. In 1997 a survey declared Jackson the most famous person in the world, ahead of Pope John Paul II and then US President Bill Clinton.
On the 27th of May 2006, Jackson accepted a Legend Award at MTV Japan’s VMA Awards in Tokyo. It was his first public appearance since being found not guilty in his child molestation trial almost a year earlier. The award was honouring his influence and impact in music videos over the past 25 years.
In October 2002 it was revealed by various international banks that Jackson was in financial debt into the tens of millions of dollars due to various unpaid loans.
His greatest hits compilation “Michael Jackson: Number Ones” sold 6 million copies worldwide following its release in November 2003, peaking at Number 1 in most countries except the United States. It had been planned at the last minute after “Resurrection”, a follow-up to his 2001 album “Invincible”, was cancelled.
He was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to British music and integral part of British music culture. On June 25, 2009, Jackson died while in his 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. Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief. After his death, Jackson became the best-selling albums artist of 2009. He sold over 8.2 million albums in the United States, and a total of 35 million albums worldwide, in the 12 months that followed his death.
Jackson became the first artist to sell one million downloads in a week in download history, with a record-breaking 2.6 million downloads of his songs.