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Michael Jackson: Singer, Dancer And Inspirer
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Michael Joseph Jackson has spent almost his entire life as a public performer. When Jack-son's father formed the Jackson Five, a singing quintet comprising
his sons, five-year-old Michael, the youngest, was the leading singer. Although Michael was too young to have experienced the romantic situations that were
the subject of his songs, he performed with total sincerity, showing all the hallmarks of a great soul artist2.
Michael Jackson didn't quit the Jacksons, even at the height of his stardom. His first release as a solo performer when he was barely 13 was the ballad Cot
to Be There, a major US and UK hit. In 1979 Jones produced Off the Wall that introduced the world to the adult Michael Jackson. In his new incarna?tion3 ,
Jackson retained the vocal flexibility of old, but added a new element of sophistication and maturity. The album topped the charts4 in the UK and USA, with
two # 1 singles5 , Don't Stop Till You Get Enough ( a Grammy a-ward) and Rock With You.
Released in 1982, Thriller broke all records, and sold 26 million copies at home and worldwide, 51 million, revitalizing and revolutionizing the music
business. Jackson won eight Grammy Awards and seven American Music A-wards for Thriller. In 1985, it was proclaimed the Best Selling Album of All Time by the
Guinness Book of Records. Beyond the numbers, how important was Jackson for record-shattering feat? As producer Quincy Jones told Time magazine, Michael has
connected with every soul in the world.
The accompanying video received sales boosts with Jackson's electrifying performance on the May 1983 Motown 25th Anniversary Special, where he premiered his
gravity-defying "Moonwalk"6. Its successor, Beat It, established another precedent, making it the first black record to receive rotation7 airplay on the MTV
video station. He has been proclaimed "the single most a-warded entertainer the world has ever known," "the most popular artist in the history of show
business," and he is also, by his own reckoning8, the "King of Pop."
Jackson had by now become an almost mythical figure. He was said to be taking drugs to change his skin color to white and that he had undergone extensive
plastic9 surgery to alter his appearance, and photographs were published that suggested he slept in a special chamber to prevent himself from aging. In 1985,
as the coauthor of and performer on We Are the Worldâ€”a benefit sin?gle for Africa charity, recorded with a cast of music starsâ€”Jackson had a big hand in
what became the international #1 single up to that point in history10.
Jackson continued to make arresting music in the nineties, working with cut-ting-edge artist-producers from the hip-hop11 arena. Dangerous appeared late in
1991 with Black or White as its leadoff single12.
Jackson's every move was reported and analyzed by the media. He was in-creasingly portrayed as a figure trapped in an eternal childhood, surrounded by toys
and pet animals, and insulated from the traumas of the real world. For 306 a period of years his quirks became headlines, driving him to exile abroad or
behind the walls of his Encino estate, California, he called' Neverland. ' "Ad?ditionally, when he confessed to being addicted to painkillers, Jackson's
longtime sponsor Pepsi-Cola decided to pull out of their contract with the world's most popular superstar. The media were handed more bait14 when he made a
widely publicized marriage with Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis on 26 May 1994. The marriage collapsed nineteen months later, giving further rise to
"allegations that it was merely a set-up to improve his soiled image.
In recent years, he has toured abroad and attended to his charitable foundation,'Heal the World'. His first album of the new millennium, Invincible was
released in September 2001.
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