Michael Jackson Biography

Michael Jackson, born in 1958, American popular singer, dancer, and songwriter, known for his dancing style and unprecedented popular success. Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana. At the age of five he joined his brothers' singing group, then known as the Jackson 5 and later renamed the Jacksons. Michael's dancing ability as well as his singing skills made him the group's leader. Under the sponsorship of music producer Berry Gordy, the group became very popular, recording albums and making personal and television appearances.

Jackson's first solo album, Got to Be There (1971), established him as a solo performer. Leaving the family group, he played the Scarecrow in the musical film The Wiz (1978) and recorded the album Off the Wall (1979), which included a number of songs he had written. His album Thriller (1982) earned an unprecedented eight Grammy Awards and sold more than 40 million copies, making it the bestselling album in history up to that time. The music videos of the singles “Beat It” (for which he received a Grammy) and “Billie Jean” from this album made Jackson a popular performer on MTV (see Music Television).

Michael Jackson: American singer, dancer, and songwriter Michael Jackson performs during a 1993 concert tour in Asia. Jackson began his career as a child performing with his brothers in the group known as the Jackson 5, and achieved worldwide fame as a solo performer, largely due to his unique style of singing and dancing. Jackson’s greatest musical success, the 1982 album Thriller, won an unprecedented eight Grammy Awards, produced a record-breaking seven Top Ten hits, and became the best-selling album in history up to that time. Because of Jackson’s eccentric and reclusive lifestyle, he has been a frequent target of the media spotlight.

Jackson rejoined his brothers on a six-month tour after the release of their album Victory (1984). He also cowrote (with Lionel Richie) the song “We Are the World” (1985), which was performed by a group of more than 40 popular musicians, with all profits from audio and video sales donated to alleviate world hunger. Subsequently, Jackson's album Bad (1987) and the title single, as well as the video of the song, became bestsellers, as did his album Dangerous (1991) and the single “Remember the Time” (1991). In 1995 the double album HIStory was released. Half of the album is a compilation of the most successful songs from Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous, while the other half is a collection of original compositions. In 1996 Jackson won a Grammy Award for the music video “Scream” (1995), which he created with his sister Janet. That same year he divorced Lisa Marie Presley, the late Elvis Presley's daughter, whom he had wed in 1994. Jackson's autobiography, Moonwalk, was published in 1988.

Jackson’s career went into decline after he faced allegations in 1993 that he had molested a 13-year-old boy. Although he was never arrested, in 1994 Jackson settled a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit with the boy’s family without admitting to any wrongdoing. The boy refused to testify against Jackson in a criminal trial, and the investigation into the allegations became inactive. Following this investigation, however, the California legislature revised state law to require victims of child molestation to testify in criminal proceedings.

In 2003 Jackson was arrested on multiple counts of child molestation. The district attorney of Santa Barbara, California, where Jackson resides, brought the felony charges, saying that Jackson was guilty of “lewd and lascivious conduct” with a child under the age of 14. A spokesperson for Jackson denied the charges, calling them “scurrilous and totally unfounded.”

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