Michael Jackson would complete 57 years old.
Michael Jackson, one of the most widely beloved entertainers and profoundly influential artists of all-time, leaves an indelible imprint on popular music and culture. Called the King of Pop, his contributions to music and dance, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. Michael Jackson started in the music business at the age of 11 with his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5.
Michael was born on 29th August 1958, in Gary, Indiana, to an African-American working-class family. His father, Joseph Jackson, had been a guitarist but had put aside his musical aspirations to provide for his family as a crane operator. Believing his sons had talent, he molded them into a musical group in the early 1960s. At first, the Jackson Family performers consisted of Michael's older brothers Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie.
Michael joined his siblings when he was five, and emerged as the group's lead vocalist. He showed remarkable range and depth for such a young performer, impressing audiences with his ability to convey complex emotions. Older brother Marlon also became a member of the group, which evolved into the The Jackson 5.
The Jackson 5 moved on to working an opening act for such R&B artists as Gladys Knight and the Pips, James Brown, and Sam and Dave. Many of these performers were signed to the legendary Motown record label, and it has been reported that Gladys Knight may have been the one to tell Motown founder Berry Gordy about the Jackson 5. Impressed by the group, Gordy signed them to his label in 1968.
Relocating to Los Angeles, Michael and his brothers started work on their music and dancing with their father as their manager. They lived with Gordy and also with Supremes singer Diana Ross when they first arrived there. In August 1969, the Jackson 5 was introduced to the music industry at a special event, and later served as the opening act for the Supremes. Their first album, 'Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5', hit the charts in December of that year. It's first single, 'I Want You Back', hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1970.
More chart-topping singles quickly followed, such as 'ABC', 'The Love You Save', and 'I'll Be There'. 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. His 1972 album, 'Ben', featured the eponymous ballad about a rat. The song became Jackson's first solo No. 1 single.
For several years, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 maintained a busy tour and recording schedule, under the supervision of Berry Gordy and his Motown staff. Gordy wrote many of the songs recorded by the group and by Michael Jackson as a solo artist. The group became so popular that they even had their own self-titled cartoon show, which ran from 1971 to 1973.
Despite Jackson's individual achievements and the group's great success, there was trouble between the Jacksons and their record company. Tensions mounted between Gordy and Joseph Jackson over the management of his children's careers, and their level of participation in making their music. The Jacksons wanted more control over their recordings, which led to most of the Jacksons breaking ties with Motown in 1975. Jermaine Jackson remained with the label and continued to pursue a solo career, having previously released several albums, none of which had matched the success of his younger brother Michael.
Now calling themselves the Jacksons, the group signed a new recording deal with Epic Records. With 1978's 'Destiny', Michael Jackson and his brothers (which by now included younger brother Randy) emerged as talented songwriters, penning all of the record's tracks. Working with producer Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson wowed the music world with his next solo album, 1979's 'Off the Wall'. It featured an infectious blend of pop and funk with such hit tracks as the Grammy Award-winning 'Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough', 'Rock with You', and the title track. He also found success with the ballad 'She's Out Of My Life'.
In the early 1980s, he defined the art form of music video with such ground-breaking videos as "Billie Jean," "Beat It" and the epic "Thriller." Jackson's sound, style and dance moves inspired subsequent generations of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists.
Five of Jackson's solo albums - "Off the Wall," "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous" and "HIStory," all with Epic Records - are among the top-sellers of all time and “Thriller” holds the distinction as the largest selling album worldwide in the history of the recording industry with more than 70 million units sold. Additionally, singles released from the Thriller album sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, another all time record.
During his extraordinary career, he sold an estimated 750 million records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and "Thriller" as the Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award's Artist of the Century Award.