Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), known as the "King Of Pop", was an American musician, and one of the most talented and celebrated artists in the history of music. His unique contributions to popular music and dance, along with a highly publicized and often controversial personal life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for four decades.
In this section, we bring you some of the most interesting historic facts about the life and music of the phenomenon that is Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, to an African American family. His mother, Katherine Esther S cruse, was a devout Jehovah's Witness, and his father, Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson, a steel mill worker who performed with an R&B band called The Falcons.
Michael Jackson had a difficult relationship with his father. He said that he was physically and emotionally abused during rehearsals. He was whipped, and was called names. Joseph acknowledged in 2003 that he had whipped Jackson as a child. Michael Jackson though credited his father's discipline for his success.
In 1964, Michael Jackson and brother Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers, which was a band formed by brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine. They first joined as backup musicians playing congas and the tambourine. Michael later began performing backup vocals and dancing, and at the age of eight he and Jermaine assumed lead vocals, and the group's name was changed to The Jackson 5.
Michael Jackson was 11 years old when he performed on television for the first time with The Jackson Five.
Jackson's pre-concert ritual included drinking Ricola candy dissolved in hot water. He claimed the beverage helps to keep his throat and his singing voice clear.
The "Scream" music video Jackson made with sister Janet is the most expensive promo ever made, costing more than $7 million.
Bubbles the chimp and Ben the rat are two of Jackson's most famous pets, but he also befriended a ram called Mr. Tibbs, a python called Crusher and Louie the llama.
MC Hammer once challenged Jackson to a dance-off. He was told to "Beat It." Jackson reportedly responded, "I've seen your videos and every single dance move you use, you got them of me."
Jackson has supported more charities than any other pop singer - 39 charitable organizations either with monetary donations through sponsorships of their projects or the participation in their activities. The charities involved include AIDS Project L.A., American Cancer Society, BMI Foundation, Inc., Child help USA, and United Negro College fund
In 1987, Michael Jackson bought a 2,800 acre property north-west of Santa Barbara for $14.6m and named it Never land, after the imaginary land in JM Barrie's novel Peter Pan. Within the grounds he built a private zoo and a fairground with a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel.
Michael Jackson is the first solo artist to generate 4 top ten hits on the Billboard charts on one album with Off the Wall.
Michael Jackson holds the record for most Grammys won in one year with 8 in 1984.
Thriller, bad, Dangerous, History and Off the wall were michael's best selling albums with sales of 65, 32, 30, 22 and 20 million albums respectively.
Michael Jackson's first ever commercial record was entitled 'Big Boy', written by Ed Silver for Steel Town records. The song 'Big Boy' sold little over 10 000 records.
Michael Jackson famously donated the entire profits from his arduous, and record breaking "Dangerous" World Tour from June 27, 1992 to November 11, 1993, to charity.
In 1984, a U.S. library accused Jackson of owing it over $1 million in overdue book fines. Officials said they would scrap the fines if he returned the books autographed.
In 1985, Michael Jackson co-wrote, sang and recorded the best selling single 'We Are The World' raising 60 million dollars to alleviate famine in Africa. In fact the profits from Michael Jacksons 'Man In The Mirror', 'Heal the World' and 'Earth Song' have all been donated to charity.
Michael Jackson appeared on a postage stamp in the Virgin Islands in the mid-1980s after locals voted him the superstar they'd most like to honor.
It is a misconception that the title of King of Pop is self-proclaimed. Elizabeth Taylor publicly coined the phrase first when presenting Michael with an award in 1989, calling him the "true king of pop, rock and soul". The award was the Heritage award, which was presented to Michael by both Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Murphy.
In May 1994, Jackson married singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley. They had first met in 1975 during one of Jackson's family engagements at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, and were reconnected through a mutual friend in early 1993.
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley divorced less than two years after their marriage in 1994, they remained on friendly terms.
Michael Jackson received a Presidential Humanitarian Award from Ronald Reagan in 1984 for his support of charities helping people overcome alcohol and drug abuse.
David O. Selznick's 1940 Best Film Oscar for Gone with the Wind (USA, 1939) was bought by Jackson for $1,542,000 on June 12, 1999, at Sotheby's, New York City. The pop star made his bid by phone. It is the most expensive Oscar.
Jackson's performance during the 1993 SuperBowl half-time show drew the largest TV audience in American history.
for a charity event held at the Neverland Ranch in September 2003, for the first time ever, Michael invited an artist from the outside to perform there. It was Yannick Harrison, also known as Jay Kid, from Denmark that performed a number of his interpretations of Michael Jackson songs for the specially invited guests.
Michael Jackson's part feature film, part music video, Ghosts (USA, 1996), is 38 minutes long and was based on an original concept by horror writer Stephen King. Jackson plays five different roles in the video, directed by Stan Winston. It is the longest music video of all time.
In 1986 Jackson signed a $15 million deal with Pepsi - it was the largest ever endorsement for product pro
Jackson really is a King in West Africa - he was given a royal title by villagers in Gabon, Ivory Coast in 1992.
Jackson owns the patent for a stage shoe device that allows performers to lean forward and appear to defy gravity.
On May 8th 1997, Michael Jackson attended the midnight premier of his new 38 minute 'short film' enitled Ghosts at the 50th Cannes film festival. The screening, attended by dozens of celebrities, was shown in the main auditorium and was received with rapturous applause.
Michael Jackson is the third biggest-selling pop act of all time, after The Beatles and Elvis Presley, with album sales of 750 million.
In 1985 Jackson paid $47.5m for the publishing rights to a catalogue of 4,000 songs, including at least 200 Beatles tunes. By 2005 the catalogue, now co-owned by Sony, was worth $500m.
Michael Jackson won 13 Grammy awards. Ten were for his work as a solo artist, three others were shared with producer Quincy Jones, his sister Janet, and various artists who contributed to his Aid for Africa track, We Are the World.
Michael Jackson and brother Tito were best men at Liza Minnelli and David Gest's wedding.
The fastest ticket sales in history, with 750,000 tickets sold in about four hours was for "This Is It" in 2009. This was described by O2 promoters as unprecedented.
Michael Jackson spent a record 9 million dollars recording a promotional teaser trailer for his new History album. He recruited the Hungarian army depicting Jackson as a triumphant dictator wearing a lavish gold military uniform. The scene depicts the unveiling of the History statue of Michael Jackson to his fans. Jackson later described this as a 'celebration of love'.
Michael Jackson is the only artist in history to generate 5 number 1 hits (USA) from one album with Bad: "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror", "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", and "Dirty Diana".
A Michael Jackson statue was floated on the River Thames in 1995. Asked how he would like to promote the album, HIStory, Jackson told Sony record executives: "Build a statue of me." A 30-feet high glass fibre statue of the pop star was placed on a boat and towed down the Thames.
Michael Jackson Died on June 25th, 2009 at 2:26pm (LA time). He died the most successful pop star of all time. His compassion generosity and charity will always be remembered.