As we mourn the loss of the true King of Pop, we thought we’d reflect on the 50 year old’s life.Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958 and by 1969 he was already a star as the youngest member of the Jackson 5 - a group formed by his father Joe Jackson featuring four of his older brothers.
In 1970, the band released a string of hits, including ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘I’ll Be There’ and ‘The Love You Save’ and cemented their place at the forefront of then modern soul music. It also made them the first group ever to have their first four singles top the charts.
As the band progressed, they signed to Epic, became The Jacksons (without Jermaine) and had a string of disco hits including ‘Blame It On The Boogie’ and ‘Can You Feel It?’, but in the meantime Jackson had a string of solo hits including ‘Ben’ and a cover of Bobby Day’s ‘Rockin’ Robin’. In 1979, after starring in The Wiz (an all-black retelling of The Wizard Of Oz) with Diana Ross, he teamed up with producer Quincy Jones, who he met on set and recorded ‘Off The Wall’, which included the hits ‘Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough’ and ‘Rock With You’.
It was in 1982, however, that his biggest success took the world by storm. Again, with Quincy Jones at the helm, Jackson recorded and released ‘Thriller’ which would go on to sell over 100 million albums worldwide and widely be touted as the biggest selling album of all time.
The success of ‘Thriller’ saw seven of the nine songs be released as singles, including the staggeringly huge hits ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Thriller’. The record also featured guest appearances by Paul McCartney and Eddie Van Halen.
In 1984, Jackson reunited with his brothers for one final album ‘Victory’ before returning to his solo career with 1987’s ‘Bad’.
During the three year hiatus between ‘Victory’ and ‘Bad’ Jackson refused interviews, bought a huge ranch in California - naming it Neverland - and withstood a barrage of rumours, including accusations of going through hormone treatment to preserve his high voice.
During this time Jackson’s skin began to appear whiter and he claimed he had a skin diseases called vitiligo, which makes the skin lose its pigment. The black community accused him of gradually lightening his skin tone in an effort to appear whiter during a spate of cosmetic surgeries.
In 1987 ‘Bad’ was released and a barely recognisable Jackson graced the cover. Despite the change in appearance, audiences flocked to the record in droves and made the record a successful follow up to its impossible-to-top predecessor.
In 1991 he was dubbed “The King of Pop” and he released the album ‘Dangerous’ which featured extravagant clips and epic production from Terry Riley.
The lead single ‘Black or White’ was Jackson refuting the stories of the colour of his skin with the lyrics “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white”.
This would be his last album for a decade, despite the hugely successful compilation album ‘HIStory’. During this time Jackson was accused of child molestation, although he was found not guilty.
Jackson became a tabloid target, with merciless stories detailing his seemingly constant cosmetic surgeries and horrific photos of an evermore unrecognisable person.
In 2001 he released the album ‘Invincible’, which was recorded with modern R&B superstar R. Kelly. The album sold an honourable two million in the USA alone and while wasn’t the come back it had been planned to be, did remind the public of Jackson’s musical side.
Jackson was about to begin a run of shows in London, at which over one million tickets were sold for 50 shows at London’s O2 Arena.
Michael Jackson is survived by two children, son Prince Michael Jackson, Jr. and daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson.