Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and philanthropist. Called the “King of Pop”, his contributions to music, dance, and fashion along with his publicized personal life made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
Let’s see some facts about him!
1. Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958.
2. He was the eighth of ten children in a working class African-American family living in a two-bedroom house on Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana, an industrial city and a part of the Chicago metropolitan area.
3. His mother, Katherine Esther Scruse, was a devout Jehovah’s Witness.
4. She played clarinet and piano and once aspired to be a country-and-western performer, but worked part-time at Sears to support the family.
5. Michael’s father, Joseph Walter “Joe” Jackson, a former boxer, was a steelworker at U.S. Steel.
6. Joe also performed on guitar with a local rhythm and blues band, the Falcons, to supplement the family’s household income.
7. Michael grew up with three sisters (Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet) and five brothers (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy).
8. A sixth brother, Marlon’s twin Brandon, died shortly after birth.
9. Jackson had a troubled relationship with his father, Joe.
10. In 2003, Joe acknowledged that he regularly whipped him as a boy.
11. Joe was also said to have verbally abused his son, often saying that he had a “fat nose”.
12. Jackson stated that he was physically and emotionally abused during incessant rehearsals, though he credited his father’s strict discipline with playing a large role in his success.
13. In an interview with Martin Bashir for the 2003 documentary Living with Michael Jackson, Jackson recalled that Joe often sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed, and that “if you didn’t do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you.”
14. Jackson’s parents have disputed the longstanding allegations of abuse, with Katherine stating that while whipping is considered abuse today, it was a common way to discipline children at the time.
15. Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon have also said that their father was not abusive and that the whippings, which were harder on Michael because he was younger, kept them disciplined and out of trouble.
16. Speaking openly about his childhood in an interview with Oprah Winfrey broadcast in February 1993, Jackson acknowledged that his youth had been lonely and isolating.
17. His deep dissatisfaction with his appearance, his nightmares and chronic sleep problems, his tendency to remain hyper-compliant, especially with his father, and to remain childlike throughout his adult life are consistent with the effects of the maltreatment he endured as a young child.
18. In 1964, Michael and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers—a band formed by their father and which included brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine—as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine.
19. In 1965, Jackson began sharing lead vocals with his older brother Jermaine, and the group’s name was changed to the Jackson 5.
20. The following year, the group won a major local talent show with Jackson performing the dance to Robert Parker’s 1965 hit “Barefootin'”.
21. From 1966 to 1968 the band toured the Midwest, frequently performing at a string of black clubs known as the “chitlin’ circuit” as the opening act for artists such as Sam & Dave, the O’Jays, Gladys Knight, and Etta James.
22. The Jackson 5 also performed at clubs and cocktail lounges, where striptease shows and other adult acts were featured, and at local auditoriums and high school dances.
23. In August 1967, while touring the East coast, the group won a weekly amateur night concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
24. The Jackson 5 recorded several songs, including “Big Boy” (1968), their first single, for Steeltown Records, a Gary, Indiana, record label, before signing with Motown in 1969.
25. They left Gary in 1969 and relocated to the Los Angeles area, where they continued to record music for Motown.
26. Rolling Stone later described the young Michael as “a prodigy” with “overwhelming musical gifts” who “quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer.”
27. The group set a chart record when its first four singles—”I Want You Back” (1969), “ABC” (1970), “The Love You Save” (1970), and “I’ll Be There” (1970)—peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
28. In May 1971, the Jackson family moved into a large home on two-acre estate in Encino, California.
29. During this period, Michael evolved from child performer into a teen idol.
30. As Jackson began to emerge as a solo performer in the early 1970s, he maintained ties to the Jackson 5 and Motown.
31. Between 1972 and 1975, Michael released four solo studio albums with Motown: Got to Be There (1972), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973), and Forever, Michael (1975).
32. “Got to Be There” and “Ben”, the title tracks from his first two solo albums, both became successful singles, as did a cover of Bobby Day’s “Rockin’ Robin”.
33. The Jackson 5 were later described as “a cutting-edge example of black crossover artists.”
34. Although the group’s sales began to decline in 1973, and the band members chafed under Motown’s refusal to allow them creative input, they achieved several top 40 hits, including the top five single “Dancing Machine” (1974), before leaving Motown in 1975.
35. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music.
36. His music videos, including those of “Beat It”, “Billie Jean”, and “Thriller” from his 1982 album Thriller, are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool.
37. The popularity of these videos helped bring the television channel MTV to fame.
38. Jackson’s 1987 album Bad spawned the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man in the Mirror”, and “Dirty Diana”, becoming the first album to have five number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
39. He continued to innovate with videos such as “Black or White” and “Scream” throughout the 1990s, and forged a reputation as a touring solo artist.
40. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name.
41. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous artists of various music genres.
42. Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of 65 million copies worldwide. Jackson’s other albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world’s best-selling albums.
43. He is recognized as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time by Guinness World Records.
44. Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame as the only dancer from pop and rock music.
45. His other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Legend Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 26 American Music Awards—more than any other artist—including the “Artist of the Century” and “Artist of the 1980s”, 13 number-one singles in the United States during his solo career,—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era—and estimated sales of over 350 million records worldwide.
46. Jackson has won hundreds of awards, making him the most awarded recording artist in the history of popular music.
47. He became the first artist in history to have a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades when “Love Never Felt So Good” reached number nine on May 21, 2014.
48. Jackson traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism, and, in 2000, the Guinness World Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities, more than any other entertainer.
49. Aspects of Jackson’s personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, generated controversy.
50. In 1993, he was accused of child sexual abuse, but the civil case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount and no formal charges were brought.
51. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges after the jury found him not guilty on all counts.
52. While preparing for his comeback concert series, This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest.
53. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
54. Jackson’s death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and a live broadcast of his public memorial service was viewed around the world.
55. Forbes ranks Jackson as the top-earning dead celebrity, with yearly earnings of $825 million in 2016, the highest ever recorded by the publication.
56. He paid $1.5 million in 1999 to buy for the 1939 Oscar for best film won by Gone With The Wind
57. Jackson once described Elizabeth Taylor as “a warm cuddly blanket that I love to snuggle up to”
58. He recorded a voice-over on The Simpsons.
59. Macauley Culkin is godfather to two of Jackson’s children.
60. Jackson co-wrote We Are The World with Lionel Richie.
61. He is godfather to Nicole Richie.
62. He is also godfather to Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb’s son Michael.
63. Jackson shares a birthday with Sir Richard Attenborough and actress Rebecca DeMornay.
64. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson were part of the most expensive video ever “Scream” with a whopping expense of $7,000,000.
65. MJ’s 1st marriage with Elvis Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie Presley in 1994 lasted for only 19 months.
66. Later, he had his 2nd marriage in 1996, with Deborah Jeanne Rowe and had 2 kids, Michael Joseph Jackson Junior and a daughter, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. This marriage also ended in 1999.
67. MJ was a big fan of “The Three Stooges”, an American vaudeville and comedy act.
68. Apparently, Michael Jackson left behind $1 billion in assets, $500 million in unpaid debts.
69. Pets played an important part in his life. He had mice, snakes, birds, llamas, tigers, dogs and cats, but his favorite pet was Bubbles – the chimpanzee.
70. In the late ’90s, he wanted to purchase Marvel Comics, which had filed for bankruptcy. He wanted to produce and act a Spiderman . But, it failed, and the role of Spiderman went to Tobey Maguire.
71. MJ’s popular “lean” in Smooth Criminal was due to a special patented “anti-gravity illusion” shoe.
72. Jackson was very fond of Mexican food
73. In 1993 Jackson’s dermatologist said he had a rare skin disease called vitiligo, which causes sufferers to lose pigmentation in their skin