Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer and entertainer. Referred to as the King of Pop, he is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time, and one of the most influential. His contributions to music, dance and fashion, and a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
Alongside his brothers, Jackson made his debut
as lead singer and youngest member of The Jackson 5 in 1964. He began his solo career in 1971. His 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album ever, having sold more than 110 million copies. He is credited with having elevated the music video from a mere promotional tool into an art form: His videos for Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller made him the first African American artist to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical style, vocal style and choreography were recognized across generational, racial and cultural boundaries.
Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Other achievements include several Guinness World Records (including the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time), 15 Grammy Awards (including the Living Legend Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award), 26 American Music Awards (24 only as a solo artist, including one for Artist of the Century)—more than any artist— 17 number one singles in the US (including four as a member of the Jackson 5), and estimated world sales of over 750 million records, making him one of the best-selling recording artists ever.
Jackson’s personal life and relationships generated controversy for years. His changing appearance was noticed from the late 1970s onwards, with changes to his nose, and skin color, causing much media speculation. In 1993 he was accused of child sexual abuse, though no formal charges were brought. In 2005 he was tried and acquitted of similar charges. He married twice, first in 1994 and again in 1996. He brought up three children, one born to a surrogate mother. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from a drug overdose while preparing for his This Is It concert tour, which was to have started in mid-2009. He had reportedly been administered drugs such as propofol and lorazepam. The Los Angeles County coroner ruled his death to be a homicide, and prosecutors charged his personal physician with involuntary manslaughter. Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and his public memorial service, broadcast live across the world, was watched by millions.
Birth name Michael Joseph Jackson
Born August 29, 1958
Gary, Indiana, United States
Died June 25, 2009 (aged 50)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres R&B, pop, rock, soul, dance
Occupations Singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, choreographer, actor, businessman, philanthropist
Instruments Vocals, piano, guitar, beatbox, drums, bongos, other percussion
Years active 1964–2009
Labels Motown, Epic, Legacy
Associated acts The Jackson 5