June 26, 2009
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Michael Jackson is the King of Pop. This is not a title that he gave himself. It was given to him by his millions of fans around the world and by his peers, among whom he has no equal. How did he get the title, you ask? He came by it the old fashioned way. He earned it! No other performer in history has generated the massive sales that he has. No other performer in history has received as many awards and accolades as he has. No other performer in history draws the kind of excitement and mass hysteria that he does. And no other performer in history has done so much in the way of humanitarian efforts than he has. There has never been one like him before, and there will never be one like him again. He is in a class all by himself.
Michael became a superstar at an age when most other children are learning things like the alphabet and how to count to 20. Born the seventh child in a family of nine, Michael and his older brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon) were thrust into the spotlight when their father, Joseph Jackson, a steel mill worker in Gary, Indiana, formed a singing group out of his sons and called them The Jackson 5. Even though Michael was the youngest, it became immediately obvious that he had something special. Armed with a magical voice mature beyond its tender years and a crowd-charming charisma that rivaled any seasoned entertainer, little Michael lead his brothers from winning local talent contests to a recording contract with Motown Records in the late 1960's. The group quickly began turning out hit after hit for their new record label and remained a hit-making machine throughout the '70's. During their time at Motown, Michael also began a successful solo recording career that would run parallel to his work with his brothers.
In 1976, the Jacksons left Motown and signed with Epic Records where they continued to crank out one hit after another. In 1978 Michael ventured into film when he starred opposite Diana Ross in The Wiz, an African-American remake of the Wizard of Oz. The film itself was unexceptional but it did put Michael on a collision course with destiny because it introduced him to legendary producer Quincy Jones who arranged the film's score.
Michael and Quincy collaborated on his next solo project, Off The Wall. And with that album Michael was immediately transformed from a cute little kid act into an adult superstar. The album was released in 1979 to critical praise for its crossover blending of soul and rock and its non-stop boogie grove. With the help of number one hits "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock With You", the album sold 10 million copies and went multiplatinum. It's hard to believe that any artist could top a success like that.
But in 1982, that's just what Michael did with the release of a monster of an album called Thriller.
Thriller broke all kinds of records. It sold more than 50 million copies worldwide (that's more than any other album before it or since). The album spawned a record six top ten singles and spent a record breaking 37 weeks at number one. It remains the best selling album of all time. That year Michael also won an unprecedented eight Grammy Awards - 7 for Thriller and 1 for E.T.-The Storybook. Much of Thriller's success was due, in part, to a new thing called music videos. Hits like "Billie Jean," "Beat It," and "Thriller" came alive before our very eyes when paired with a cool story line and Michael's amazing dancing ability. Michael's short films not only helped pioneer the video medium but also broke MTV's color barrier in the process. Thriller made Michael Jackson an American pop icon.
So, what do you do after recording the number one best-selling album in history? You record the number two best-selling album in history, of course! Bad, Michael's next solo project released in 1987, sold over 25 million copies worldwide and included the hit singles "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "The Way You Make Me Feel," and "Man In The Mirror." Accompanied by his first ever solo world tour (the biggest concert tour in history), the Bad album generated 5 consecutive number one hits (a feat unequalled since).
In 1991,with his next album, Dangerous, Michael continued the astronomical sales figures with 23 million copies sold worldwide. With Dangerous came more state of the art videos and another amazing concert tour. Michael also made history in 1993 when the notoriously private superstar sat down for a 90-minute live interview with talk show host extraordinaire, Oprah Winfrey. The interview was conducted from Michael's home, Neverland Valley Ranch in Santa Ynez, California and was the most watched program of 1993 attracting nearly 100 million viewers around the world.
In 1995, Michael released his most ambitious project yet. HIStory Past, Present and Future Book I was a massive double album containing 15 of Michael's greatest hits from his previous four albums and 15 brand new songs. HIStory saw Michael turning a corner creatively as the 15 new songs were some of the most personal songs he has ever recorded. By January of 1996, HIStory had been certified six times platinum in the United States alone and it is still the most successful double album of all time. In 1997 Michael released Blood On The Dance floor: HIStory In The Mix. The album contained 5 new songs (some of the best work he's ever done, according to many critics), and 8 remixes from HIStory. Some saw this remix CD as a brilliant idea because it brought a two-year-old album back to the forefront.
"king of pop"
we will never forget you!!!
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