Michael Jackson was one of the most influential and successful artists in music history.
His career spanned more than four decades, from his beginnings as a child prodigy in the group The Jackson 5 to his consecration as the solo «King of Pop.»
In this blog, we will review some of the highlights of his musical career, as well as his achievements, challenges, and legacy.
The beginnings: The Jackson 5
Was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, United States.
He was the seventh of nine siblings, and from a very young age he showed great talent for singing and dancing.
His father, Joseph Jackson, was a strict and demanding manager who formed a musical group with his five sons: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael.
The group was called The Jackson 5 and debuted in 1964 in a Chicago nightclub.
Success did not take long to come for the Jackson brothers, who soon attracted the attention of the Motown record company, specializing in soul and R&B music.
Under the Motown label, The Jackson 5 released a series of hits that made them youth idols, including
- «I Want You Back,»
- «The Love You Save» and
- «I’ll Be There.»
Michael was the main vocalist and the most charismatic of the group, and soon began to stand out for his voice, his style and his dance moves.
The transition: Off the Wall and Thriller
In 1975, The Jackson 5 changed record labels and were renamed The Jacksons.
Jackson took advantage of this change to start his solo career, although without abandoning the family group.
In 1979, he released his first solo album under the Epic Records label: Off the Wall.
This album was a great commercial and critical success, and marked the beginning of the collaboration between Michael Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, which would last until 1987.
Off the Wall was a groundbreaking album that fused elements of pop, disco, funk and R&B, and included songs such as
- «Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough»,
- «Rock with You»,
- «She’s Out of My Life» and
- «Off the Wall.»
The album sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and earned Michael Jackson his first Grammy Award as a solo artist.
But the true global phenomenon would come in 1982 with the release of Thriller, the best-selling album in history with more than 66 million copies.
Thriller was a masterpiece that established Michael Jackson as the «King of Pop» and that revolutionized the music industry with its video clips, its choreography and its sound.
The album featured the participation of artists such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Vincent Price, and with songs such as
- «Billie Jean»,
- «Beat It»,
- «Human Nature» and
- «Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'».
Thriller earned Michael Jackson eight Grammy Awards and seven Guinness World Records.
The consecration: Bad and Dangerous
After the overwhelming success of Thriller, Michael Jackson took a five-year break before releasing his next album: Bad.
This album was released in 1987 and was another commercial and critical success, although it did not reach the numbers of Thriller.
Bad was a more personal and mature album that showed Michael Jackson’s musical evolution towards a more rock sound.
It was also the first album that Michael Jackson promoted with a solo world tour: the Bad World Tour.
This tour lasted from 1987 to 1989 and toured 15 countries with a total of 123 concerts.
The tour was an unprecedented spectacle that showcased Michael Jackson’s talent and charisma on stage, and attracted more than 4.4 million spectators.
In 1991, Michael Jackson released his eighth solo album: Dangerous.
This album was another commercial and critical success, although it did not exceed the numbers of Thriller.
Dangerous was a more experimental and diverse album that incorporated elements of new jack swing, hip hop, gospel and pop.
The album featured the collaboration of artists such as Slash, Heavy D and Teddy Riley, and with songs such as
- «Black or White»,
- «Remember the Time»,
- «Heal the World»,
- «Jam» and
- «Who Is It».
The album sold more than 32 million copies worldwide and earned Michael Jackson a Grammy Award.
Dangerous was also the second album that Michael Jackson promoted with a solo world tour: the Dangerous World Tour.
This tour lasted from 1992 to 1993 and toured 24 countries with a total of 69 concerts.
The tour was another impressive show that showcased Michael Jackson’s innovation and creativity, attracting more than 3.5 million viewers.
The challenges: HIStory and Invincible
Starting in the mid-90s, Michael Jackson’s musical career was affected by various scandals and accusations that damaged his public image and his mental health.
In 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse for the first time, although the case was settled out of court.
In 1994, Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, but the marriage lasted only two years.
In 1996, Michael Jackson married Debbie Rowe, a nurse with whom he had two children: Prince and Paris. However, the marriage also ended in divorce in 1999.
In the midst of these personal turbulences, Michael Jackson released his ninth solo album in 1995: HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.
This album was a double album that contained an album with his greatest hits and another album with material new.
The album was another commercial and critical success, although it did not reach the figures of his previous works.
HIStory was a more vindictive and controversial album that reflected Michael Jackson’s frustration and anger at the criticism and attacks he received.
The album included songs such as
- «They Don’t Care About Us»,
- «You Are Not Alone»,
- «Earth Song» and
- «You Rock My World».
The album sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and earned Michael Jackson a Grammy Award.
It was also the third album that Michael Jackson promoted with a solo world tour: the HIStory World Tour.
This tour lasted from 1996 to 1997 and toured 35 countries with a total of 82 concerts.
The tour was another example of Michael Jackson’s stage power, and it attracted more than 4.5 million spectators.
Last album: Invincible
On October 30, 2001, he released Invincible, Michael Jackson’s last studio work, and also the most expensive in history, with an estimated cost of 30 million dollars.
The album featured producers such as Rodney Jerkins, Teddy Riley and R. Kelly, and had hits such as
- «You Rock My World»,
- «Butterflies» and
the album did not have the impact expected by the public or critics, and sold less than his previous works. Additionally, Jackson had problems with his record label, Sony Music, which he accused of not properly promoting his album and of conspiring against him.
After the release of «Invincible», Michael Jackson stepped away from the stage and dedicated himself to his private life.
In 2002, he caused controversy by showing off his third child, Prince Michael II, known as Blanket, from a hotel balcony in Berlin.
In 2003, he was accused again of child sexual abuse by a young man named Gavin Arvizo, who had participated in a documentary about the singer’s life.
Jackson pleaded not guilty and was subjected to a media trial that lasted more than a year. Finally, in 2005, he was acquitted of all charges.
Following the trial, Michael Jackson moved to Bahrain, where he lived for two years as a guest of Prince Abdullah.
He then traveled through several countries, such as Ireland and France, looking for a place to settle.
In 2006, he announced that he was working on a new album with producer Will.i.am, but the project never came to fruition.
In 2008, it was rumored that he was seriously ill and that he was suffering from a rare lung disease.
In 2009, Michael Jackson surprised the world by announcing his return to the stage with a series of concerts called «This Is It», which would take place in London.
The singer said that it would be his last tour and that he wanted to say goodbye to his fans.
Tickets sold out within hours and it was expected to be an unprecedented success.
However, fate had other plans.
On June 25, 2009, just two weeks before the start of the concerts, Michael Jackson was found unconscious in his Los Angeles mansion.
He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead from acute propofol poisoning, a powerful anesthetic administered by his personal physician, Conrad Murray.
The news shocked the entire world and generated a wave of tributes and tributes to the king of pop.
This is how the life of Michael Jackson ended, a brilliant and controversial artist, who left an incomparable musical legacy and an indelible mark on popular culture.
His death was a tragedy for his millions of followers and for the music industry.
His music is still valid and his songs continue to inspire new generations.