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Facts about Michael Jackson
Biography for Michael JacksonMichael Joseph Jackson (Aug. 29, 1958 (55 years ago) Jun. 25, 2009 (4 years ago)), known as the "King of Pop", was an American musician and one of the most commercially successful entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music and dance, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for four decades.
He started a solo career in 1971 (42 years ago), having made his debut in 1964 (49 years ago) as a member of The Jackson 5. His 1982 (31 years ago) album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with four others Off the Wall (1979, 34 years ago), Bad (1987, 26 years ago), Dangerous (1991, 22 years ago), and HIStory (1995, 18 years ago) among the best selling. He popularized several intricate dance moves, such as the robot and the moonwalk. He is widely credited with having transformed the music video from a promotional tool into an art form, with videos for his songs "Billie Jean", "Beat It" and "Thriller" making him the first African American artist to amass a strong crossover following on MTV, and has influenced scores of music artists.
Twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, his other achievements feature multiple Guinness World Records including the "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time" 13 Grammy Awards, 17 number one singles (including the four as a member of the Jackson 5), and estimated sales between 350 million and 750 million records worldwide. He was also a notable philanthropist and humanitarian who donated and raised millions of dollars through support of 39 charities and his own Heal the World Foundation.
Jackson's personal life generated controversy for years. His changing appearance was noticed from the late 1970 (43 years ago) and early 1980s, with changes to the shape of his nose and to the color of his skin drawing media publicity. He was accused in 1993 (20 years ago) of child sexual abuse, although no charges were brought. He married twice, first in 1994 (19 years ago) and again in 1996 (17 years ago), and brought up three children, one born to a surrogate mother. In 2005 (8 years ago), he was tried and acquitted of child molestation allegations. While preparing for the This Is It concert tour in 2009 (4 years ago), Jackson died at the age of 50 after suffering from cardiac arrest. He reportedly had been administered drugs such as propofol and lorazepam, and his death was ruled a homicide by the Los Angeles County coroner. His memorial service was broadcast live around the world, attracting a global audience of up to one billion people. Jackson was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California on sep. 3, 2009 (4 years ago) at a private ceremony.
195875: Early life and The Jackson 5Jackson was born the seventh of nine children on Aug. 29, 1958 (55 years ago) in Gary, Indiana, an industrial suburb of Chicago, to an African American family. His mother, Katherine Esther Scruse, was a devout Jehovah's Witness, and his father, Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson, a steel mill worker who performed with an R&B band called The Falcons. Jackson had three sisters, Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet, and five brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy.
Jackson had a difficult relationship with his father. He stated that he was physically and emotionally abused during incessant rehearsals, whippings, and name-calling, though he credited his father's discipline for his success. In one altercation recalled by Marlon, Joseph held Michael upside down by one leg and "pummeled him over and over again with his hand, hitting him on his back and buttocks". Joseph would also trip or push the boys into walls. One night while Jackson was asleep, Joseph climbed into his room through the bedroom window, wearing a fright mask and screaming. He said he wanted to teach the children not to leave the window open when they went to sleep. For years afterward, Jackson said he suffered nightmares about being kidnapped from his room. Joseph acknowledged in 2003 (10 years ago) that he had whipped Jackson as a child.
Jackson first spoke openly about his childhood abuse in an interview with Oprah Winfrey broadcast on Feb. 10, 1993 (20 years ago). He said that he had often cried from loneliness and would sometimes throw up when he saw his father. In an interview with Martin Bashir, aired on Feb. 3, 2003 (10 years ago) as Living with Michael Jackson, he covered his face with his hands and began crying when talking about his childhood abuse. He recalled that Joseph 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".
He showed talent early in his life, performing in front of classmates during a Christmas recital at the age of five. In 1964 (49 years ago), he and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine. Jackson later began performing backup vocals and dancing; at the age of eight, he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals, and the group's name was changed to The Jackson 5. The band toured the Midwest extensively from 1966 (47 years ago) to 1968 (45 years ago), frequently performing at a string of black clubs known as the "chitlin' circuit", where they often opened stripteases and other adult acts. In 1966 (47 years ago), they won a major local talent show with renditions of Motown hits and James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)", led by Michael.
The Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including "Big Boy", for the local record label Steeltown in 1967 (46 years ago), and signed with Motown Records in 1968 (45 years ago). Rolling Stone magazine later described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts," writing that he "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer." 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") peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. During The Jackson 5's early years, Motown's public relations team claimed that Jackson was nine years old, two years younger than he was, to make him appear cuter and more accessible.
Starting in 1972 (41 years ago), Jackson released a total of four solo studio albums with Motown, among them Got to Be There and Ben, released as part of the Jackson 5 franchise, and producing successful singles such as "Got to Be There", "Ben", and a remake of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin". The group's sales began declining in 1973 (40 years ago), and the band members chafed under Motown's strict refusal to allow them creative control or input. Although they scored several top 40 hits, including the top 5 disco single "Dancing Machine" and the top 20 hit "I Am Love", the Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975 (38 years ago).
197581: Move to Epic and Off the WallThe Jackson 5 signed a new contract with CBS Records in Jun. 1975 (38 years ago), joining the Philadelphia International Records division, later Epic Records, and renaming themselves The Jacksons. They continued to tour internationally, releasing six more albums between 1976 (37 years ago) and 1984 (29 years ago), during which Jackson was the lead songwriter, writing hits such as "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)", "This Place Hotel," and "Can You Feel It".
In 1978 (35 years ago), he starred as the scarecrow in the musical, The Wiz, and it was here that he teamed up with Quincy Jones, who was arranging the film's musical score. Jones agreed to produce Jackson's next solo album, Off the Wall. In 1979 (34 years ago), Jackson broke his nose during a complex dance routine. His subsequent rhinoplasty was not a complete success; he complained of breathing difficulties that would affect his career. He was referred to Dr. Steven Hoefflin, who performed Jackson's second rhinoplasty and subsequent operations.
Jones and Jackson produced the "Off The Wall" album together. At the album's pre-release party, Michael, himself, stated that Little Richard had a "huge influence" on him. Songwriters for the album included Jackson, Heatwave's Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney. Released in 1979 (34 years ago), it was the first album to generate four U.S. top 10 hits, including the chart-topping singles "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You". It reached number three on the Billboard 200 and eventually sold over 20 million copies worldwide. In 1980 (33 years ago), Jackson won three awards at the American Music Awards for his solo efforts: Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist, and Favorite Soul/R&B Single for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". That year, he also won Billboard Music Awards for Top Black Artist and Top Black Album and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, also for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". Despite its commercial success, Jackson felt Off the Wall should have made a much bigger impact, and was determined to exceed expectations with his next release. In 1980 (33 years ago), he secured the highest royalty rate in the music industry: 37 percent of wholesale album profit.
198283: Thriller and Motown 25In 1982 (31 years ago), Jackson contributed the song "Someone In the Dark" to the storybook for the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial; the record won a Grammy for Best Album for Children. That same year Jackson issued his second Epic album, Thriller, which became the most commercially successful album of all time. The album remained in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for 80 consecutive weeks and 37 of those weeks at the peak position. It was the first album to have seven Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles, including "Billie Jean", "Beat It," and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." Thriller was certified for 28 million shipments by the RIAA, giving it Double Diamond status in the United States. It is the best-selling album of all time, with 110 million copies worldwide. Jackson's attorney John Branca noted that Jackson had the highest royalty rate in the music industry at that point: approximately $2 for every album sold. He was also making record-breaking profits from sales of CDs and The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller, a documentary produced by Jackson and John Landis. Funded by MTV, the documentary sold over 350,000 copies in a few months. The era saw the arrival of novelties like dolls modeled after Michael Jackson, which appeared in stores in May 1984 (29 years ago) at a price of $12. Biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli writes that, "Thriller stopped selling like a leisure item like a magazine, a toy, tickets to a hit movie and started selling like a household staple."
Jackson debuts the moonwalk during his performance on Motown 25Time described Jackson's influence at that point as "Star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and color too". The New York Times wrote that, "in the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else".
On Mar. 25, 1983 (30 years ago), he performed live on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever TV special, both with The Jackson 5 and on his own singing "Billie Jean". Wearing a distinctive sequined glove, he debuted his signature dance move, the moonwalk. His performances during the event were seen by 47 million viewers, and drew comparisons to Elvis Presley's and the The Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. The New York Times said, "The moonwalk that he made famous is an apt metaphor for his dance style. How does he do it? As a technician, he is a great illusionist, a genuine mime. His ability to keep one leg straight as he glides while the other bends and seems to walk requires perfect timing."
198485: Pepsi, We Are the World and business careerJackson suffered a setback to his health on Jan. 27, 1984 (29 years ago). While filming a Pepsi Cola commercial, overseen by executive Philip Dusenberry, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, he suffered second degree burns to his scalp after pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire. Happening in front of a full house of fans during a simulated concert, the incident elicited an outpouring of sympathy. Jackson had his third rhinoplasty shortly thereafter, and began treatment to hide the scars on his scalp. Pepsi settled out of court, and Jackson donated his $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California, which now has a "Michael Jackson Burn Center".
Jackson at the White House South Portico with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan, 1984On May 14, 1984 (29 years ago), he was invited to the White House to receive an award from President Ronald Reagan for his support of charities that helped people overcome alcohol and drug abuse. Jackson won eight awards during the Grammys that year. Unlike later albums, Thriller did not have an official tour to promote it, but the 1984 (29 years ago) Victory Tour, headlined by The Jacksons, showcased much of Jackson's new solo material to more than two million Americans. He donated his $5 million share from the Victory Tour to charity. He also co-wrote the charity single "We Are the World" in 1985 (28 years ago) with Lionel Richie, which was released worldwide to aid the poor in the U.S. and Africa. It became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with nearly 20 million copies sold and millions of dollars donated to famine relief.
While working with Paul McCartney on the two hit singles "The Girl Is Mine" (1982, 31 years ago) and "Say Say Say" (1983, 30 years ago), the pair became friendly. McCartney told Jackson about the large amount of money he earned from owning music catalogs; he was earning approximately $40 million a year from other people's songs. Jackson subsequently began buying, selling, and distributing publishing rights to music from numerous artists. In 1985 (28 years ago), ATV Music, a music publishing company owning thousands of music copyrights, including the Northern Songs catalogue that contained the majority of the Lennon-McCartney compositions recorded by The Beatles (31 walls), was put up for sale. Jackson took an immediate interest in the catalog, but was warned he would face strong competition. Excited, he skipped around saying, "I don't care. I want those songs. Get me those songs Branca [his attorney]". Branca contacted McCartney's attorney, who clarified that his client was not interested in bidding: "It's too pricey". After Jackson had started negotiations, McCartney changed his mind and tried to persuade Yoko Ono to join him in a joint bid, but she declined, so he pulled out. Jackson eventually beat the rest of the competition in negotiations that lasted 10 months, purchasing the catalog for $47.5 million.
198687: Appearance, tabloids, Bad, autobiography, and filmsJackson's skin had been a medium-brown color for the entire duration of his youth, but starting in the early 1980s, it gradually grew paler. The change gained widespread media coverage, including rumors that he was bleaching his skin. According to J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography, in 1986 (27 years ago), Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus; the vitiligo partially lightened his skin, and the lupus was in remission; both illnesses made him sensitive to sunlight. The treatments he used for his condition further lightened his skin tone, and, with the application of pancake makeup to even out blotches, he could appear very pale. The structure of his face changed too: several surgeons speculated that he had undergone multiple nasal surgeries, a forehead lift, thinned lips, and cheekbone surgery.
He lost weight in the early 1980 (33 years ago) because of a change in diet and a desire for "a dancer's body". Witnesses reported that he was often dizzy and speculated that he was suffering from anorexia nervosa; periods of weight loss would become a recurring problem later in life. Some medical professionals have said he was suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, a psychological condition whereby the sufferer dislikes his appearance and has no concept of how he is viewed by others. He had a fourth rhinoplasty in 1986 (27 years ago), and had a cleft put in his chin.
Jackson two years after he was diagnosed with vitiligo, here in the early stages of the diseaseHe became the subject of increasingly sensational reports. In 1986 (27 years ago), the tabloids ran a story claiming that Jackson slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process; he was pictured lying down in a glass box. Although the claim was untrue, Jackson had disseminated the fabricated story himself. When Jackson bought a chimpanzee called Bubbles from a laboratory, it was reported as an example of increasing detachment from reality. It was reported that Jackson had offered to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick (the "elephant man") and although untrue, Jackson did not deny the story. He stopped leaking untruths to the press, so the media began making up their own stories.
These reports became embedded in the public consciousness, inspiring the nickname "Wacko Jacko," which Jackson came to despise Responding to the gossip, Jackson remarked to a reporter:
Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars. Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, "I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight," people would say, "Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a damn word that comes out of his mouth."
Jackson wore a gold-plated military style jacket with belt in the Bad era.Jackson starred in the Francis Ford Coppola-directed 3-D movie Captain EO. It was the most expensive movie produced on a per-minute basis at the time, and was later hosted in Disney theme parks. Disneyland featured the movie in its Tomorrowland area for nearly 11 years, while Walt Disney World screened the movie in its Epcot theme park from 1986 (27 years ago) to 1994 (19 years ago). With the industry expecting another major hit, Jackson's first album in five years, Bad (1987, 26 years ago), was highly anticipated. It had lower sales than Thriller, but was still a substantial commercial success, spawning seven hit singles in the U.S., five of which ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana") reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, more than any other album. As of 2008 (5 years ago), the album had sold 30 million copies worldwide.
In 1987 (26 years ago), Jackson disassociated himself from the Jehovah's Witnesses, in response to their disapproval of the Thriller video. The Bad World Tour began on sep. 12 that year, finishing on Jan. 14, 1989 (24 years ago). In Japan alone, the tour had 14 sellouts and drew 570,000 people, nearly tripling the previous record of 200,000 in a single tour. He broke a Guinness World Record when 504,000 people attended seven sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. He performed a total of 123 concerts to an audience of 4.4 million people, and gained a further Guinness World Record when the tour grossed him $125 million. During the trip he invited underprivileged children to watch for free, and gave donations to hospitals, orphanages, and other charities.
198890: Autobiography, changing appearance, and NeverlandIn 1988 (25 years ago), Jackson released his first autobiography, Moon Walk, which took four years to complete and sold 200,000 copies. Jackson wrote about his childhood, The Jackson 5, and the abuse he had suffered. He also spoke of his plastic surgery, saying he had had two rhinoplastic surgeries and the surgical creation of a cleft in his chin. He attributed much of the change in the structure of his face to puberty, weight loss, a strict vegetarian diet, a change in hair style, and stage lighting. Moon Walk reached the top position on The New York Times best sellers' list. The musician then released a movie called Moonwalker, which featured live footage and music videos that starred Jackson and Joe Pesci. Moonwalker debuted atop the Billboard Top Music Video Cassette chart, staying there for 22 weeks. It was eventually knocked off the top spot by Michael Jackson: The Legend Continues.
In Mar. 1988 (25 years ago), Jackson purchased land near Santa Ynez, California to build Neverland Ranch at a cost of $17 million. He installed Ferris wheels, a menagerie, and a movie theater on the 2,700-acre (11 km2) property. A security staff of 40 patrolled the grounds. In 2003 (10 years ago), it was valued at approximately $100 million. In 1989 (24 years ago), his annual earnings from album sales, endorsements, and concerts was estimated at $125 million for that year alone. Shortly afterwards, he became the first Westerner to appear in a TV ad in the Soviet Union.
His success resulted in his being dubbed the "King of Pop". The honorific was popularized by Elizabeth Taylor when she presented him with an "Artist of the Decade" award in 1989 (24 years ago), proclaiming him "the true king of pop, rock and soul." President George H. W. Bush presented him with The White House's special "Artist of the Decade." From 1985 (28 years ago) to 1990 (23 years ago), he donated $500,000 to the United Negro College Fund, and all of the profits from his single "Man in the Mirror" went to charity. Jackson's live rendition of "You Were There" at Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th birthday celebration received an Emmy nomination.
199193: Dangerous, Heal the World Foundation and Super Bowl XXVIIIn Mar. 1991 (22 years ago), Jackson renewed his contract with Sony for $65 million, a record-breaking deal at the time, displacing Neil Diamond's renewal contract with Columbia Records. He released his eighth album Dangerous in 1991 (22 years ago). As of 2008 (5 years ago), Dangerous had shipped seven million copies in the U.S. and had sold 32 million copies worldwide; it is the most successful new jack swing album of all time. In the United States, the album's first single "Black or White" was its biggest hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining there for seven weeks, with similar chart performances worldwide. The album's second single "Remember the Time" spent eight weeks in the top five in the United States, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In 1993 (20 years ago), Jackson performed the song at the Soul Train Awards in a chair, saying he had suffered an injury in rehearsals. In the UK and other parts of Europe, "Heal the World" was the biggest hit from the album; it sold 450,000 copies in the UK and spent five weeks at number two in 1992 (21 years ago).
Jackson founded the "Heal the World Foundation" in 1992 (21 years ago). The charity organization brought underprivileged children to Jackson's ranch to enjoy theme park rides that Jackson had built on the property. The foundation also sent millions of dollars around the globe to help children threatened by war and disease. The Dangerous World Tour began on Jun. 27, 1992 (21 years ago), and finished on Nov. 11, 1993 (20 years ago). Jackson performed to 3.5 million people in 67 concerts. All profits from the concerts went to the "Heal the World Foundation", raising millions of dollars in relief. He sold the broadcast rights to his Dangerous world tour to HBO for $20 million, a record-breaking deal that still stands. Following the illness and death of Ryan White, Jackson helped draw public attention to HIV/AIDS, something that was still controversial at the time. He publicly pleaded with the Clinton Administration at Bill Clinton's Inaugural Gala to give more money to HIV/AIDS charities and research.
In a high-profile visit to Africa, Jackson visited several countries, among them Gabon and Egypt. His first stop to Gabon was greeted with a sizable reception of more than 100,000 people in "spiritual bedlam", some of them carrying signs that read, "Welcome Home Michael". In his trip to the Ivory Coast, Jackson was crowned "King Sani" by a tribal chief. He then thanked the dignitaries in French and English, signed official documents formalizing his kingship and sat on a golden throne while presiding over ceremonial dances.
One of Jackson's most acclaimed performances came during the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII. As the performances began, Jackson was catapulted onto the stage as fireworks went off behind him. As he landed on the canvas, he maintained a motionless "clenched fist, standing statue stance", dressed in a gold and black military outfit and sunglasses; he remained completely motionless for several minutes while the crowd cheered. He then slowly removed his sunglasses, threw them away and began to sing and dance. His routine included four songs: "Jam", "Billie Jean", "Black or White" and "Heal the World". It was the first Super Bowl where the audience figures increased during the half-time show, and was viewed by 135 million Americans alone; Jackson's Dangerous album rose 90 places up the album chart.
Jackson was given the "Living Legend Award" at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. "Black or White" was Grammy nominated for best vocal performance. "Jam" gained two nominations: Best R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.
1993: First child sexual abuse allegationsMain article: 1993 (20 years ago) child sexual abuse accusations against Michael Jackson
Jackson gave a 90-minute interview to Oprah Winfrey in Feb. 1993 (20 years ago), his second TV interview since 1979 (34 years ago). He grimaced when speaking of his childhood abuse at the hands of his father; he believed he had missed out on much of his childhood years, admitting that he often cried from loneliness. He denied tabloid rumors that he had bought the bones of the Elephant Man, slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, or bleached his skin, stating for the first time that he had vitiligo. The interview was watched by an American audience of 90 million, becoming the fourth most-viewed non-sport program in U.S. history. It also increased awareness of vitiligo, a relatively unknown condition. Dangerous re-entered the album chart in the top 10, more than a year after its original release.
In the summer of 1993 (20 years ago), Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy named Jordan Chandler and his father, Evan Chandler, a dentist. A year after Jackson met the boy, under the influence of sodium amytal, a controversial sedative, Jordan told his father that Jackson had touched his penis. The father was tape-recorded discussing his intention to pursue charges, where he said, "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". He and Jackson engaged in unsuccessful negotiations to reach a financial settlement; the negotiations were initiated by Chandler but Jackson did make several counter offers. Jordan told a psychiatrist and later police that he and Jackson had engaged in acts of kissing, masturbation and oral sex, as well as giving a detailed description of what he alleged were the singer's genitals.
An official investigation began, with Jordan's mother adamant that there was no wrongdoing on Jackson's part. Neverland Ranch was searched; and multiple children and family members denied that Jackson was a pedophile, though his image (wallpaper) took a further hit when his older sister, La Toya, accused him of being a pedophile, a statement she later retracted. Jackson agreed to a 25-minute strip search, conducted by police and doctors at his ranch, required to see if a description provided by Jordan of Jackson's genitals was accurate. Doctors concluded there were strong similarities, but it was not a definitive match. His friends said he never recovered from the humiliation. He described the search in an emotional public statement, and proclaimed his innocence.
The tabloids painted him in an extremely unfavorable light. Complaints about them included bias against Jackson, paying for stories about alleged criminal activity, and buying leaked confidential material from the police investigation. On Jan. 1, 1994 (19 years ago), Jackson settled with the Chandlers out of court for $22 million, after which Jordan stopped co-operating regarding criminal proceedings. Jackson was never charged, and the state closed its criminal investigation, citing lack of evidence.
1994: First marriageIn May 1994 (19 years ago), Jackson married singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley. They had first met in 1975 (38 years ago) during one of Jackson's family engagements at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, and were reconnected through a mutual friend in early 1993 (20 years ago). They stayed in contact every day over the telephone. As the child molestation accusations became public, Jackson became dependent on Presley for emotional support; she was concerned about his faltering health and addiction to drugs. Presley explained, "I believed he didn't do anything wrong and that he was wrongly accused and yes I started falling for him. I wanted to save him. I felt that I could do it." In a phone call he made to her, she described him as high, incoherent and delusional. Shortly afterwards, she persuaded him to settle the allegations out of court and go into rehabilitation to recover. Jackson proposed to Presley over the telephone towards the fall of 1993 (20 years ago), saying, "If I asked you to marry me, would you do it?" They married in the Dominican Republic in secrecy, denying it for nearly two months afterwards. The marriage was, in her words, "a married couple's life... that was sexually active". At the time, the tabloid media speculated that the wedding was a ploy to prop up Jackson's public image. Jackson and Presley divorced less than two years later, remaining friendly.
199597: HistoryOne of many identical statues, positioned throughout Europe to promote HIStory. The statue illustrates the singer's flamboyant clothing and hair style, influenced by military imagery.In 1995 (18 years ago), Jackson merged his ATV Music catalog with Sony's publishing division creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Jackson retained half-ownership of the company, earned $95 million upfront as well as the rights to even more songs. He then released the double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a 15-track greatest hits album, and was later reissued as Greatest Hits HIStory Vol. I in 2001 (12 years ago), while the second disc, HIStory Continues, contained 15 new songs. The album debuted at number one on the charts and has been certified for seven million shipments in the US. It is the best-selling multiple-disc album of all-time, with 20 million copies (40 million units) sold worldwide. HIStory received a Grammy nomination for best album.
The first single released from the album was the double A-side "Scream/Childhood". "Scream" was a duet, performed with Jackson's youngest sister Janet. The single had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at number five, and received a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". "You Are Not Alone" was the second single released from HIStory; it holds the Guinness World Record for the first song ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was seen as a major artistic and commercial success, receiving a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Vocal Performance". In late 1995 (18 years ago), Jackson was rushed to a hospital after collapsing during rehearsals for a televised performance; the incident was caused by a stress related panic attack. "Earth Song" was the third single released from HIStory, and topped the UK singles chart for six weeks over Christmas 1995; it sold a million copies, making it Jackson's most successful single in the UK. The HIStory World Tour began on sep. 7, 1996 (17 years ago), and finished on Oct. 15, 1997 (16 years ago). Jackson performed 82 concerts in 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans. The show, which visited five continents and 35 countries, became Jackson's most successful in terms of audience figures.
199699: Second marriage and fatherhoodDuring the Australian leg of the HIStory World Tour, Jackson married dermatology nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe on Nov. 14, 1996 (17 years ago) in an impromptu ceremony close to his Sydney hotel room. She gave birth to Michael's first two children: a son, Prince, and a daughter, Paris. Rowe and Jackson first met in the mid-1980s, when Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo. She spent many years treating his illness as well as providing emotional support. They built a strong friendship, then became romantically involved. Originally there were no plans to marry, but following Rowe's first pregnancy, Jackson's mother intervened and persuaded them to do so. Jackson later claimed that he was in such a rush to leave the hospital with daughter Paris in 1998 (15 years ago) because he was worried to hear any bad news like the time of Prince's birth when he was told that the baby wasn't breathing correctly. The couple divorced in 1999 (14 years ago), and remained friends, with Rowe giving full custody of the children to Jackson.
In 1997 (16 years ago), Jackson released Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which contained remixes of hit singles from HIStory and five new songs. Worldwide sales stand at 6 million copies as of 2007 (6 years ago), making it the best selling remix album ever released. It reached number one in the UK, as did the title track. In the US, the album was certified platinum, but only reached number 24. Forbes placed his annual income at $35 million in 1996 (17 years ago) and $20 million in 1997 (16 years ago).
Throughout Jun. 1999 (14 years ago), Jackson was involved in a number of charitable events. He joined Luciano Pavarotti for a benefit concert in Modena, Italy. The show was in support of the non-profit organization War Child, and raised a million dollars for the refugees of Kosovo, as well as additional funds for the children of Guatemala. Later that month, Jackson organized a set of "Michael Jackson & Friends" benefit concerts in Germany and Korea. Other artists involved included Slash, The Scorpions, Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey (29 walls), A. R. Rahman, Prabhu Deva Sundaram, Shobana Chandrakumar, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavarotti. The proceeds went to the "Nelson Mandela Children's Fund", the Red Cross and UNESCO.
200003: Label dispute, Invincible and third childIn 2000 (13 years ago), Jackson was listed in the book of Guinness World Records for his support of 39 charities, more than any other entertainer or personality. At the time, Jackson was waiting for the licenses to the masters of his albums to revert to him; this allowed him to promote his old material how he liked and prevented Sony from getting a cut of the profit. Jackson expected this to occur early in the new millennium; however, due to various clauses in the contract, this revert date is still many years away. Jackson began an investigation, and it emerged that the attorney who represented the singer in the deal was also representing Sony, creating a conflict of interest. Jackson was also concerned about another conflict of interest. For a number of years, Sony had been pushing to buy all of Jackson's share in their music catalog venture. If Jackson's career or financial situation were to deteriorate, he would have to sell his catalog. Thus, Sony had something to gain from Jackson's career failing. Jackson was able to use these conflicts as leverage to exit his contract early. Just before the release of Invincible, Jackson informed the head of Sony Music Entertainment, Tommy Mottola, that he was leaving Sony. As a result, all singles releases, video shootings and promotions concerning the Invincible album were canceled. Jackson made allegations in Jul. 2002 (11 years ago) that Mottola was a "devil" and a "racist" who did not support his African-American artists, using them merely for his own personal gain. He charged that Mottola had called his colleague Irv Gotti a "fat nigger". Sony disputed claims that they had failed to promote Invincible with sufficient energy, maintaining that Jackson refused to tour in the US.
Six years after his last studio album and after spending much of the late 1990 (23 years ago) out of the public eye, Jackson released Invincible in Oct. 2001 (12 years ago) to much anticipation. To help promote the album, a special 30th Anniversary celebration at Madison Square Garden occurred in sep. 2001 (12 years ago) to mark the singer's 30th year as a solo artist. Jackson appeared onstage alongside his brothers for the first time since 1984 (29 years ago). The show also featured performances by Mύa, Usher (4 walls), Whitney Houston, 'N Sync, Destiny's Child, Monica, Luther Vandross, and Slash, among other artists. In the wake of the sep. 11, 2001 (12 years ago) attacks, Jackson helped organize the United We Stand: What More Can I Give benefit concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The concert was aired on Oct. 21, 2001 (12 years ago), and included performances from dozens of major artists, including Jackson, who performed his song "What More Can I Give" as the finale. Invincible was a commercial success, debuting atop the charts in 13 countries and going on to sell approximately 10 million copies worldwide. It received double-platinum certification in the US. However, the sales for Invincible were notably low compared to his previous releases, due in part to a diminishing pop music industry, the lack of promotion, no supporting world tour and the label dispute. The album spawned three singles, "You Rock My World", "Cry" and "Butterflies", the latter without a music video.
Jackson's third child, Prince Michael Jackson II (nicknamed "Blanket") was born in 2002 (11 years ago). The mother's identity is unknown, but Jackson has said the child was the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his own sperm cells. In Nov. of that year, Jackson brought his newborn son onto the balcony of his room at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, as fans stood below. Holding him in his right arm, with a cloth loosely draped over the baby's face, Jackson briefly extended the baby over the railing of the balcony, four stories above ground level, causing widespread criticism in the media. Jackson later apologized for the incident, calling it "a terrible mistake". Sony released a compilation of Jackson's hits on CD and DVD. In the US, the album was certified platinum by the RIAA; in the UK it was certified for shipments of at least 1.2 million units.
200305: Second child sexual abuse allegationsFans show their support for Jackson after he is accused of child molestation in 2003 (10 years ago).In a series of interviews with Martin Bashir, broadcast in 2003 (10 years ago) as Living with Michael Jackson, Jackson was seen holding hands and discussing sleeping arrangements with Gavin Arvizo, 13, who later accused him of sexual abuse. Shortly after the documentary aired, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent in relation to Arvizo.
Jackson denied the allegations, saying the sleepovers were not sexual in nature. Elizabeth Taylor defended him, saying she had been there when they were in the bed. "There was nothing abnormal about it," she told Larry King. "There was no touchy-feely going on. We laughed like children and we watched a lot of Walt Disney. There was nothing odd about it." During the investigation, Jackson was examined by mental health professional Dr. Stan Katz, who spent several hours with the accuser too. Katz said Jackson was a regressed 10-year-old, and did not fit the profile of a pedophile.
During the two years between the charges and the trial, Jackson reportedly became dependent on pethidine (Demerol), and lost a lot of weight. The People v. Jackson began on Jan. 31, 2005 (8 years ago), in Santa Maria, California, and lasted five months, until the end of May. On Jun. 13, 2005 (8 years ago), Jackson was acquitted on all counts. After the trial, he relocated to the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain, as a guest of Sheikh Abdullah.
200609: Final yearsReports of financial problems for Jackson became frequent in 2006 (7 years ago) after the closure of the main house on the Neverland Ranch as a cost-cutting measure. One prominent financial issue concerned a $270 million loan secured against his music publishing holdings. After delayed repayments on the loan, a refinancing package shifted the loans from Bank of America to debt specialists Fortress Investments. A new package proposed by Sony would have had Jackson borrow an additional $300 million and reduce the interest rate payable on the loan, while giving Sony the future option to buy half of Jackson's stake in their jointly owned publishing company (leaving Jackson with a 25% stake). Jackson agreed to a Sony-backed refinancing deal, although details were not made public. Despite these loans, according to Forbes, Jackson was still making as much as $75 million a year from his publishing partnership with Sony alone.
Jackson was awarded the Diamond Award on Nov. 15, 2006 (7 years ago), for selling over 100 million albums, at the World Music Awards. Following the death of James Brown, Jackson returned to the U.S. to pay tribute during Brown's public funeral on dec. 30, 2006 (7 years ago). In late 2006 (7 years ago), he agreed to share joint custody of his first two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe. Jackson and Sony bought Famous Music LLC from Viacom in 2007 (6 years ago). This deal gave him the rights to songs by Eminem (16 walls), Shakira (37 walls) and Beck, among others.
I've been in the entertainment industry since I was six-years-old... As Charles Dickens says, "It's been the best of times, the worst of times." But I would not change my career... While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me.
The 25th anniversary of Thriller was marked by the release of Thriller 25, which added the previously unreleased song "For All Time" and re-mixes. Two remixes were released as singles to moderate success: "The Girl Is Mine 2008" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008". Thriller 25 sold well as a re-issue, peaking at number one in eight countries and Europe. In 12 weeks Thriller 25 sold over three million copies worldwide. To celebrate Jackson's 50th birthday, Sony BMG released a series of compilation albums called King of Pop. King of Pop did reach the top 10 in most countries where it was issued, and also sold well as an import in other countries.
Fortress Investments threatened to foreclose on Neverland Ranch, which Jackson used as collateral for loans running into many tens of millions of dollars. However, Fortress opted to sell Jackson's debts to Colony Capital LLC. In November, Jackson transferred Neverland Ranch's title to Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC, which was a joint venture between Jackson and Colony Capital LLC. This deal cleared Jackson's debt, and he reportedly even gained an extra $35 million from the venture. At the time of his death, Jackson still owned a stake in Neverland/Sycamore Valley, but it is unknown how large that stake was.
Prior to his death, Jackson was scheduled to perform 50 sell out concerts to over one million people, at London's O2 arena. The concerts would have commenced on Jul. 13, 2009 (4 years ago) and finished on Mar. 6, 2010 (3 years ago). According to Jackson's website, ticket sales for the concerts broke several records. During a prior press conference, Jackson made suggestions of possible retirement. Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of AEG Live stated that the first 10 dates alone would earn the singer approximately £50 million.
Death and memorialOn Jun. 25, 2009 (4 years ago), Jackson collapsed at his rented mansion at 100 North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles. Attempts at resuscitating him by his personal physician were unsuccessful. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics received a 911 call at 12:22 p.m. (PDT), arriving three minutes later at Jackson's location. He was reportedly not breathing and CPR was performed. Resuscitation efforts continued en route to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and for an hour after arriving there at 1:13 p.m. (20:13 UTC). He was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. local time (21:26 UTC).
The memorial was held on Jul. 7, 2009 (4 years ago), at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, preceded by a private family service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park's Hall of Liberty. Jackson's casket was present during the memorial but no information was released about the final disposition of the body. While some unofficial reports claimed a worldwide audience as high as one billion people the U.S. audience was estimated by Nielson to be 31.1 million, an amount comparable to the estimated 35.1 million that watched the 2004 (9 years ago) burial of President Ronald Reagan, and the estimated 33.1 Americans who watched the 1997 (16 years ago) funeral for Princess Diana.
Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Mariah Carey (29 walls), John Mayer, Jennifer Hudson, Usher (4 walls), Jermaine Jackson, and Shaheen Jafargholi performed at the event. Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson gave eulogies, while Queen Latifah read, "We had him," a poem written for the occasion by Maya Angelou. The Reverend Al Sharpton received a standing ovation when he told Jackson's children, "Wasn't nothing strange about your Daddy. It was strange what your Daddy had to deal with. But he dealt with it anyway." Jackson's 11-year-old daughter, Paris Katherine, cried as she told the crowd, "Ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine... I just wanted to say I love him... so much."
Posthumous releasesFollowing the death of Michael Jackson there was an air among fans and colleagues that much of his pre-recorded music should and would be released. This feeling turned into reality when on Jul. 16, 2009 (4 years ago), following confirmation by the president of Epic Records, a snippet of music known as "A Place With No Name" was leaked by TMZ.com.
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