Michael Jackson

Once, The King Of Pop

MJ, Wacko Jacko, the King of Pop, whatever you want to call him, few can deny the legacy that has been left by him. Fans went crazy for his iconic dancing and awe inspiring singing; in death the Michael mania has hit overdrive, with Twitter pages dedicated to Billie Jean and hit songs filling the airwaves and charts. There is even a timeline of his nose if you search far enough into the murky depths of the internet. To some he is still an inspiration, to others he is a paedophile, but one thing is for certain; the story of Michael Jackson will be here for an insanely long time. Michael's father, Joe, had been in an R&B group named the Falcons; he gave up his music career when he married Michael’s mother, Katherine. Joe was still passionate about music however and encouraged his children in learning to sing and dance. In the mid 60s he put together the Jackson 5, comprising of sons Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and in the lead, Michael. It had been noted very early on that Michael possessed a gift for performing, his ability to sing and dance surpassing his brothers at an early age. During this time it has been alleged that Joe frequently abused the boys both physically and mentally, in particular Michael, an experience which understandably Michael never quite recovered from. From winning local talent competitions in their home town to opening for acts such as the O-Jays and James Brown, they were secured an audition with Motown and signed in 1968. All four of the Jackson 5’s first singles such as “ABC” and “I Want You Back” went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with Michael making his first national TV appearance with his brothers at the tender age of 11. From 1972, Michael also pursued an inevitable solo career, starting with “Ben”, his first solo number 1, and “Rockin’ Robin”. The Jackson 5, or the Jacksons as they renamed themselves, moved to CBS Records in 1975. It was here they renamed themselves the Jacksons, releasing the infectious dance hit “Can You Feel It”. On being cast as the Scarecrow in ‘the Wiz’, Michael was introduced to Quincy Jones; a lifetime partnership began. Sadly this period of time was also where Michael’s tragic love affair with plastic surgery was introduced, due to a complex dance routine leading to a badly broken nose. Two rhinoplasty’s later and his appearance had been altered permanently. Jones hired a stellar team of writers, such as Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, for the exciting solo venture Off the Wall. This proceeded to go platinum as well as containing hit singles “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough’ and ‘Rock With You’. Although the album was a great commercial success, Michael pushed himself to make an even bigger impact with his next album. And then there was Thriller. In 1982, the best-selling album of all time was released by Michael, which stayed in the charts for two years with songs like “Thriller”, “Billie Jean” and “Beat It”. His slick videos broke the MTV colour barrier, making way for black artists to be seen on a global level. Winning eight Grammy awards in 1983 as well as releasing the “moonwalk”, it seemed that no matter what Jackson did, the world craved more. Sadly in 1984 Jackson was to suffer one of the most shocking accidents to be witnessed by an audience to date. During the filming of a Pepsi commercial the use of a pyrotechnic went seriously wrong, setting his hair on fire. He was rushed to hospital with second degree burns and underwent a further rhinoplasty and laser surgery to hide the scars. Michael made a large donation to the hospital he was treated at, the burns unit now named after him. Following this, he began to establish himself as a humanitarian, co-writing “We Are the World” with Lionel Ritchie, released to support charities in Africa and the US. He was also given an award by President Reagan at the White House due to his work with charities helping with alcohol and drug abuse in the states. From this period of time Michael Jackson started to become increasingly intriguing to the media. From buying the Neverland Ranch in 1986, getting a chimp called Bubbles and reports of sleeping in an oxygen tent to slow the aging process, the tabloids had a field day whenever a new shock story hit about Michael Jackson. His skin tone also became a controversial issue due to its increasingly light appearance, and although Jackson announced on Oprah that he suffered from Vitiligo which causes the skin pigmentation to die, rumours still circulated that he was having treatment to turn his skin white. His album Bad, released 1987, reminded fans of this innate talent and once again singles such as ‘Bad’ and ‘Man In the Mirror’ were hitting straight to number 1. Michael proceeded to organise a tour which would become the highest grossing tour to date. In 1991 his album Dangerous was released, with “Black Or White” remaining as one of his most popular songs, although subsequent singles such as “Heal the World” and “Remember the Time” were berated for not doing as well. His next tour in 1992 however was a demonstration of how loved Michael Jackson was for his performing ability. From then on it’s hard to separate truth from media hype. In 1993 Jackson was accused of his first count of child molestation, causing him to pay roughly 20 million in an out of court settlement. Following this Jackson embarked on marriages with Lisa Marie Presley, breaking up after 19 months, and Debbie Rowe whom he fathered two children with, Prince Michael Jackson Jr., and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. He also released ‘HIStory: Past, Present and Future’ which although containing his greatest hits was seen by critics as a disappointment due to limited new material on the record. In 1999 his second marriage also broke down. In 2001 Michael Jackson celebrated his 30th anniversary as a solo recording artist with a concert in Madison Square Garden where many celebrities such as Beyonce performed as well as a reunion with his brothers to perform the hits of the Jacksons. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Later this year he released album ‘Invincible’. Although it contained hit single ‘You Rock My World’, Sony was criticised for a lack of promotion of the album and the second single release ‘Cry’ lacked popular support. By 2002 Michael was a father again, this time using a surrogate mother and artificial insemination. The child was involved in a mass media scandal when Jackson proceeded to hold him precariously over a balcony at a hotel in Germany. Although he made a public apology for this careless action, his image was rapidly falling into disrepute. In the following years Michael Jackson was accused of further child molestation counts as well as intoxication of a minor, and although acquitted on all counts at the end of his gruelling trial in 2005, his public image had once again been permanently tarnished. Although many fans stayed loyal, this certainly hit him hard and at the end of 2005 he moved to Bahrain. Clearly though fans had not forgotten how electrifying Michael was live, and when in 2009 he announced a comeback tour of 50 dates at the O2 Arena in London, entitled the “This Is It” Show, the tickets sales broke many records due to nearly a million selling out in minutes. Sadly though, this run of shows was not to be. On June 25th 2009, Michael was reported dead from a heart attack in his home in California, however in typical Jackson style the media simply could not let this lie. With reports of drug addictions, dishonest doctors and conspiracy theories circling the airwaves, it is hard to see where the legacy the talented Mr Jackson has left will end.

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Michael Jackson

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