Michael Jackson

John Florens | Aug 27, 2022

Table of Content


Michael Joseph Jackson (Gary, August 29, 1958 - Los Angeles, June 25, 2009) was an American singer-songwriter, dancer, composer, record producer, choreographer, philanthropist and entrepreneur.

Also known as "The King of Pop," he is considered one of the most influential musical artists of the 20th and 21st centuries because of his contributions in the worlds of music, fashion Through his live performances and videos he popularized dance techniques such as the moonwalk, toe stand, anti-gravity lean, and robot dance, coming to be regarded as one of the best dancers in history.

His sixth studio album, Thriller, is the best-selling album in music history, having surpassed 100 million copies globally, 34 million of them in the United States alone, making it the best-selling and most certified studio album in the country. His other recording projects, including Off the Wall, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory are also listed among the world's best-selling albums, while Blood on the Dance Floor is listed as the world's best-selling remix album.

He was one of the few artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once as a solo artist and once as a member of the Jackson 5; he had also been inducted into 10 other halls of fame, including the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame, the only dancer from the music industry. Since November 20, 1984, his name has been among the celebrities on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. The artist's major honors include 15 Grammy Awards (out of 38 nominations), 39 Guinness Book of World Records awards, 26 American Music Awards, 16 World Music Awards, and 15 MTV Video Music Awards.

Jackson has also often been in the news for his personal life, including his change in appearance (he turned white from black due to vitiligo), cosmetic surgeries, personal relationships, and allegations of molestation, from which he was found not guilty in 2005, as well as for his humanitarian initiatives such as establishing charities to protect the rights of children and animals.

Childhood and relationship with the father (1958-1964)

Michael Joseph Jackson was born at 7:33 p.m. on August 29, 1958, at St. Mary's Mercy Hospital in Gary, Indiana, the eighth of ten children of a modest African American family. His mother Katherine Esther Scruse, a clerk in a Sears supermarket, had been a devout Jehovah's Witness since 1963 and used to sing with her children. His father Joseph Jackson was a laborer in a United States Steel mill and in his youth had been the guitarist for the Falcons, an amateur R&B group. Michael had three sisters, Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet, and six brothers, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Brandon (Marlon's twin brother, who died 24 hours after birth), and Randy. The Jackson family lived for a long time in a small brick house on Bowmont Drive, at the address 2300 Jackson Street. Michael and his siblings grew up in a family environment where the Bible was the only training tool, the transgression of which involved severe punishments: according to several testimonies, the Jackson brothers, particularly Michael, were often mistreated by their father and forced into incessant testing as well as physical abuse. Michael's relationship with his father would be the focus of media attention throughout his career.

Early career with the Jackson 5 (1964-1976)

Thus raised in a family devoted to music, Michael came into contact with the world of show business at an early age. He sang in public for the first time, in front of his classmates and family members, during a Christmas pageant in his kindergarten performing the song Climb Ev'ry Mountain a cappella, showing great mastery, despite his age, and receiving a standing ovation; after his mother also discovered his dancing skills by chance, in 1964 he was aggregated by his father into the newly formed ensemble with his older brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, which did not yet have a definitive name. At first Michael was its percussionist, but later he began to share the singing role with his brother Jermaine, and once Marlon was also added, the group took the name The Jackson 5. After participating in various talent shows at the time, the Jackson 5 first signed to Steeltown, a record label owned by Gary, for which they released only a couple of singles, and then were brought to the attention of record producer Berry Gordy, head of Motown Records, who launched them in 1969.

When their debut single I Want You Back reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1970, Michael became the youngest singer to reach the top spot on the U.S. charts, at the age of 11 years and 5 months. With the release of the next three singles, ABC, The Love You Save, and I'll Be There, the Jackson 5 became the first artists in history to debut four consecutive number one singles on Billboard, and the first group of internationally known teen idols. Following the group's success, the Jackson family left Gary and moved to Encino, California, in May 1971.

To the enormous success with his brothers the young Michael began to alternate his solo career, and thanks to Motown he was able to record his first four solo studio albums, Got to Be There and Ben in 1972, Music & Me in 1973 and Forever, Michael in 1975, which were quite successful selling more than 20 million copies worldwide. The song Ben, taken from the album of the same name, became the first number one single in his solo career, won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, being the title track of a film of the same name. Ben's performance at the 1973 Oscars was one of the first solo performances of his career.

After their contract with Motown expired in 1976, the brothers signed with Epic Records. Motown disputed the agreement, however, and filed legal proceedings, as a result of which the brothers had to change their name from The Jackson 5 to The Jacksons and lost Jermaine, who wanted to stay with the old label; Randy, the Jackson brothers' youngest son, was named to replace him.

Artistic maturation in the Jacksons and solo breakthrough with Off the Wall (1976-1981)

In 1976, on the album The Jacksons, the first song written and composed by Michael was released, entitled Blues Away, but it was starting in 1978 that the singer, in addition to being the frontman of the Jacksons also became the main songwriter, with the collaboration of his brother Randy. In fact, for the album Destiny, Epic gave the Jackson brothers carte blanche for the first time, allowing them to write and compose every song except the launch single Blame It on the Boogie; the second single from it, Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground), entered the Billboard Top 10 and became the most successful single in the group's history.

That same year he was cast to play the role of the scarecrow in the musical film The Wiz, directed by director Sidney Lumet. The film's soundtrack was supervised by record producer Quincy Jones, whom Jackson had the opportunity to meet while filming the film, and whom he asked to produce his first solo album for Epic.

Off the Wall was released on August 10, 1979 and was a huge success, becoming the first album in music history to place four singles in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100: Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Rock with You, Off the Wall, and She's Out of My Life. In the UK, the album also broke the same record, with four tracks entering the Top 10 of the Official Singles Chart. Off the Wall also reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200, remaining in the top 20 for 48 consecutive weeks and going on to sell more than 15 million copies in a short time, becoming at the time the best-selling album by an African American artist in history. The album to date has sold nearly 10 million copies in the United States and about 30 total worldwide. Jackson also became the first black artist to make it onto a white chart, thus breaking racial barriers and helping to create unified charts. According to Rolling Stone magazine, with Off the Wall, Jackson:

The album also earned Jackson several awards: in 1980 he won three American Music Awards and a Grammy Award for his performance of Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough. As stated later in his autobiography, however, despite all this success, Jackson was disappointed with the results achieved by the album, which he said should have had a greater impact.

After the solo stint, the singer returned to the studio with the brothers to record their new album Triumph. Composed almost entirely by Michael, and propelled by the singles Lovely One, This Place Hotel and Can You Feel It, it became the group's first album to top the charts since 1971, being followed by a successful new national tour. Although the group enjoyed renewed popularity, the comparison with the outstanding achievements of Off the Wall was obvious, giving a clear signal that Jackson was now launched toward a solo career.

Worldwide success with Thriller and performance at Motown 25 (1982-1984)

In 1982 Jackson was approached by director Steven Spielberg, who invited him to take part in the production of an audiobook of the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, known as the E.T. Storybook, for which the singer recorded the song Someone in the Dark and also narrated the story of the film, for which he received a Grammy Award in 1984. The singer then spent much of the year together with producer Quincy Jones at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles recording his new studio album.

Thriller, the artist's second solo album for Epic, was released on November 30 and became his biggest commercial success. The album went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and remained there for 37 weeks, longer than any other studio album in the history of the chart, then stayed in the top 10 for another 80 consecutive weeks, setting a second record. It was the first album in history to place seven singles in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100: The Girl Is Mine, sung with Paul McCartney, Billie Jean, Beat It, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', Human Nature, P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) and the eponymous Thriller, while in the UK it surpassed the record of Off the Wall, placing five songs in the Top 10. Jackson became the first artist in history to reach No. 1 on four different U.S. album and singles charts simultaneously, also setting a record for the longest stay on the charts for a male artist. With sales of more than 20 million copies, Thriller was the best-selling album in the United States in both 1983 and 1984, making it the country's first best-selling album for two consecutive years.

The album was the first to be certified triple diamond by the RIAA for sales of 34 million copies in the United States, more than any other studio album. It is also the best-selling album in music history globally, with more than 100 million copies to its credit. The album's impact in popular music was enormous, so much so that it changed the recording industry forever and became a true cultural phenomenon,

On March 10, 1983, with the airing of the video for Billie Jean, Michael Jackson became the first black artist to be broadcast on MTV, which until then had always refused to feature black artists. The song remained at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven consecutive weeks, and for nine more at the top of the Hot R&B Chart, receiving continuous and massive rotation on MTV. Jackson's popularity was steadily increasing, but the peak of fame was reached on March 25, 1983: that evening, in fact, the singer and his brothers performed at a concert celebrating 25 years since the birth of Motown, the label that launched them, entitled Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. For those who did not own cable TV or watch MTV, that was the first chance to see Jackson perform live. After performing with his brothers in a Jackson 5 medley, Michael stood alone on stage performing Billie Jean. During this performance, the singer first launched the moonwalk, a step with which his dance style would be identified in the years to come.

During Jackson's performance, chaos broke out among the audience in the hall. Journalist Christopher Smith, who was present, wrote:

Another journalist present, Steven Ivory, said:

The next day, Fred Astaire, one of Jackson's idols, called the singer to congratulate him:

The event was watched on television by some 50 million viewers, ratings not seen in the United States since Elvis Presley and the Beatles' performances on the Ed Sullivan Show. The press called Jackson "the new Sinatra" and "as electrifying as Elvis." After the performance at Motown 25, Thriller's sales increased exponentially, setting a record that had never before been achieved and never since been surpassed: after selling 32 million copies in 1983 alone, it was recognized as the best-selling album of all time by the Guinness Book of Records in February 1984. At its peak, Thriller came to sell more than a million copies a week; journalist and Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli said the album reactivated the music industry, which had been in decline since 1978:

October saw the release of Say Say Say, his second duet with Paul McCartney, which stayed atop the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and became Jackson's seventh Top 10 single in a year, equaling the record held by the Beatles.

Starting in 1983, Jackson is also regarded as the inventor of modern music videos, understood as a source through which artists could best promote their music, making videos with special effects, Hollywood sets, and spectacular choreography, such as the video for Billie Jean, which entered the collective imagination because of the famous tiles that lit up under her feet, or the video for Beat It with its West Side Story-style choreography. On December 2, 1983, MTV broadcast the music video for Thriller for the first time worldwide. Shot by John Landis, running 13 1/2 minutes and costing $1 million, the video would become a milestone in music history. Les Garland, MTV's director of programming, said that for the first time in the network's history there were extraordinary ratings spikes:

On December 27, 1983, he joined his brother Jermaine as a guest on the single Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell, his close childhood friend, which topped the Billboard R&B chart.

In 1989, Thriller was honored by MTV viewers as the "best music video in history." In the 1999 "100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made" poll, the MTV audience again elected Thriller's video as the "best music video of all time." In 2001, the TV channel VH1 also included it at the top of its "100 Greatest Videos of All Time" list. The Guinness Book of Records listed it in 2006 as the "most successful music video of all time." In 2009 the video was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in Washington for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," becoming the first and only music video to receive this honor and being named the "most famous music video of all time." In 2010 Thriller was again voted "most influential video of all time" by Myspace users.

On January 16, 1984 at the American Music Awards, Jackson set a new record for wins, winning 8 awards out of 11 nominations, including the Award of Merit, becoming at only 25 years old the youngest artist to receive the award. On Jan. 29, at the 1984 Grammy Awards, Jackson won 8 awards out of 12 nominations, again entering the Guinness Book as "the artist with the most Grammy Awards won in a single year." A few weeks later, the documentary The Making of Thriller was released, which became the best-selling videotape in both the music and film genres at the time, with sales exceeding 10 million units.

Commercials for Pepsi and Victory Tour, We Are the World and Captain EO (1984-1986)

On January 27, 1984, Jackson and his brothers filmed a commercial for Pepsi-Cola at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The group was simulating a concert in front of thousands of fans when Michael's hair accidentally caught fire due to an unexpected pyrotechnic malfunction during the performance of Billie Jean. The singer suffered severe third-degree burns to his scalp and the base of his head that reached all the way to his skull and was forced to undergo some reconstructive plastic surgery to the latter in order to hide some of the scars left after the accident. The singer donated the $1.5 million compensation he received from Pepsi to the center for the treatment of large burns in which he had been hospitalized. The incident of the accident had enormous impact in the media, and especially on Jackson's health, as he had to undergo scalp transplants for the next ten years and continued to suffer excruciating pain and migraines throughout the rest of his life. According to financial reports at the time, as a result of its partnership with Jackson, Pepsi recorded sales of $7.7 billion and an increase in market share in 1984, while its longtime rival Coca-Cola experienced a significant drop in sales. Being under contract with Pepsi, Jackson had to decline an invitation to perform as the main act at the closing ceremony of the XXIII Olympics in Los Angeles, which had been sponsored by Coca-Cola.

On May 14, the singer was invited to the White House by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to receive an award due to the support he had given to charities in the fight against alcohol and drugs, even granting the use of Beat It in a commercial on those issues. Time described Jackson's influence at that point as something "that crosses all boundaries of taste, style and color," while for the New York Times "in the music world there is Michael Jackson, and then there are all the others." At that point Jackson had the highest royalty rate in the music industry, about $2 per album sold, and was making record profits. Dolls, clothing, and gagdets modeled with his image appeared in North American stores in May 1984, selling like hotcakes and spawning a veritable industry.

In July Victory, the Jacksons' new album, was released, followed by a promotional tour of stadiums in the United States and Canada. The Victory Tour began on July 6 in Kansas City, ending on December 9 of that year in Los Angeles, with a record six sold-out concerts at Dodger Stadium. During the tour, the attention of the public and the press was completely focused on Jackson, whose solo songs from Off the Wall and Thriller made up half the set list. The tour's 55 concerts drew an attendance of 3 million, with total revenues of $75 million, figures that made it the most successful tour in history at the time, surpassing the Rolling Stones' previous record. Jackson donated all of his personal income from the tour, $5 million, to charity. At the end of the tour, Michael announced his departure from the Jacksons in order to devote himself permanently to his solo career.

In January 1985 he co-wrote the charity single We Are the World with Lionel Richie to raise money for the people of East Africa, who were suffering from a severe famine at the time, recording it with a supergroup of 44 other artists called USA for Africa. In the United States, the song sold more than seven million copies in less than four months, becoming the fastest-selling single ever, and stayed at No. 1 on Billboard for a month, also entering the rock and country charts. We Are the World became, at the time, the fastest-selling single in history with over 22 million copies, and raised $80 million. At the 1986 Grammy Awards, the song won four awards. Despite being invited, Jackson was unable to attend Live Aid on July 13, 1985, as he was already busy with previous projects in the recording studio; We Are the World, sung by all participating artists, closed the Philadelphia concert.

In August, through his lawyer John Branca, Jackson purchased for $47.5 million the ATV Music Publishing catalog, comprising the publishing rights to nearly 4,000 songs, including most of the Beatles' material.

In 1986 Jackson struck a second advertising deal with Pepsi worth $50 million, recognized by Guinness World Records as the largest personal sponsorship deal in history. That same year he starred as the lead in the 4D short film Captain EO, produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Just 17 minutes long but costing between $17 million and $30 million, the film was made specifically by Disney as an attraction for its theme parks: Walt Disney World screened it at Epcot from September 12, 1986, Disneyland from September 18, 1986, Tokyo Disneyland from March 20, 1987 while Disneyland Paris would launch the attraction when it opened in April 1992. Captain EO returned, for various periods of time, to all Disneyland parks around the world after the artist's untimely death.

Bad (1987-1990)

On August 31, 1987, Bad, Jackson's seventh solo album, third for Epic and last produced by Quincy Jones, was released. Described by the press as "the most anticipated album ever," Bad became the first album in history to debut at the top of the charts in 25 countries around the world, selling more than 7 million copies in its first week of release. In the United States it debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed in the Top 5 for 38 weeks, setting a record for the longest stay for an album. Jackson would have liked to perform the title track with Prince, however, the idea was scrapped due to the Minneapolis rocker's refusal. Ten singles were extracted from the album: I Just Can't Stop Loving You (in duet with Siedah Garrett), Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, Dirty Diana, Another Part of Me, Smooth Criminal, Leave Me Alone, Liberian Girl, and Speed Demon; the first five ended up at #1 on Billboard, setting a new Guinness record. In the UK at the time, Bad became the fastest-selling album ever, while seven singles entered the Top 10 of the Official Singles Chart, breaking the previous record held by Jackson himself. Bad was a huge commercial success, selling more than 30 million copies in a few years and becoming, at the time, the second best-selling album in history behind Thriller. To date Bad has sold 45 million copies worldwide, 11 of them in the United States, and is the fifth best-selling album worldwide.

The video for the title track, set in a New York City subway station, was shot by Martin Scorsese: at 18 minutes long and costing over $2 million, it surpassed previous records for the Thriller video. The video also featured actor Wesley Snipes, then in his film debut, while Steven Spielberg, Dan Aykroyd, David Copperfield, Whoopi Goldberg, John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Lou Ferrigno, "Weird Al" Yankovic and other Hollywood celebrities appeared in the video for Liberian Girl.

On September 12, 1987, the Bad World Tour, Jackson's first solo tour, began from Tokyo; in Japan alone, all 14 of the initial concerts were sold out and recorded more than 570,000 spectators, breaking all previous Japanese records. In late May 1988 Jackson inaugurated the European tour in Italy, with two nights at Rome's Stadio Flaminio in front of 70,000 people, while on June 19 he performed in front of more than 60,000 fans in West Berlin, in the Reichstag Square in front of the Berlin Wall; the Stasi, concerned that the concert might gather thousands of GDR citizens at the border, considered it "one of the most threatening moments for the security of East Germany." In July, Jackson performed 7 sold-out concerts at London's Wembley Stadium in front of more than 504,000 spectators, achieving a new Guinness World Record for "the most successful concert series in history"; total demand had been more than 2 million tickets, a figure that could have made at least 21 concerts sold out. On the last leg of the European tour Jackson performed at Liverpool's Aintree Racecourse before an audience of 225,000, the largest of his career, and the largest ever assembled by a foreign artist in the UK. The tour ended in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 1989, with a total of 123 concerts in 15 countries, registering nearly 4.5 million spectators and grossing more than $125 million, figures that made it the most successful tour in music history at the time. In 2019, the Bad World Tour was chosen by Vivid Seats and Consequence as the "best tour of all time" by a solo artist:

In February 1988 Jackson published the autobiography Moonwalk. The book became the best seller of the year, with over 450 000 copies sold in a few days. On March 2 Jackson attended the 1988 Grammy Awards where Bad received 5 nominations including Album of the Year, but won only the award for Best Engineered Recording. On the night Jackson did not rake in the awards, but stole the show from every other artist in attendance by performing The Way You Make Me Feel and Man in the Mirror, where he was accompanied by a gospel choir, in a historic performance considered one of the best in Grammy history. A few days later the singer was awarded two honorary Doctor of Letters degrees, one from Fisk University and one from the United Negro College Fund; since 1985 he had donated more than $450,000 to the foundation, granting scholarships to more than 130 young African Americans.

Shortly thereafter the singer purchased for $17 million the Neverland Ranch, which would be his official residence until 2005.

On September 7, Jackson received the MTV Video Vanguard Award with the following citation:

In October Moonwalker was released. The film was shown in several countries around the world, including Italy, and grossed $67 million, while in the United States it was released exclusively on home video in January 1989. It remained at the top of the charts for 22 weeks, and sold more than 800,000 copies in four months, surpassing The Making of Thriller and becoming the best-selling VHS ever in the country. From the film was extracted the video clip of Smooth Criminal, another video that became famous for its gangster setting, elaborate choreography and special effects including the scene in which Jackson and his dancers leaned forward 45º, defying gravity. The step, dubbed the "45 Degree Lean" or also the "antigravity lean," and the technique to achieve it were later patented by the artist. In 1989 Jackson became the first artist to earn more than $100 million in a year, earning $125 million solely from album and single sales, and the first Western person to appear on state TV in the Soviet Union, where some 150 million people saw his Pepsi commercials. In January, at the American Music Awards, Jackson received a new award in his honor for ''his contributions and pioneering efforts in the field of music videos,'' as well as the first Lifetime Achievement Award for Bad's record-breaking achievements, which became the world's best-selling album for the third consecutive year, while in April he was awarded the title of "King of Pop" for the first time at the Soul Train Awards, where Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Murphy presented him with four awards including the Award for Entertainer of the Year, calling him "the true King of pop, rock and soul."

In April 1990 he was received for the second time at the White House, where President George Bush Sr. presented him with the Artist of the Decade award.By the end of the 1980s, Jackson had sold more than 110 million copies with three albums, two of which had become the best-selling albums ever, and had had more number one singles than any other artist during the decade; Vanity Fair magazine called him "the most popular artist in the history of showbusiness." At the 1990 Grammy Awards he received the award for best video of the year for Leave Me Alone, also becoming the artist with the most Grammys won in the 1980s, an impressive 11.

That same year he became a testimonial for LA Gear for which he also appeared in some commercials.

When the promotion of Bad was over, Jackson planned to release Decade, a Greatest Hits that was to contain his greatest hits up to that time, and to devote himself mainly to a film career; the singer was approached by Steven Spielberg, with whom he had already worked on the E.T. Storybook, to play the role of Peter Pan in Hook; however, both projects were abandoned.

Dangerous (1991-1994)

In March 1991 Jackson signed with Sony Music the most lucrative contract in music history, worth $900 million, touted by the media at the time as "the billion-dollar contract."

On November 26, Dangerous was released, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and in 10 other countries, selling more than 40 million copies globally, 8 of them in the United States, by virtue of which it became the most successful new jack swing album of all time.

The album's launch single, Black or White, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in three weeks, making it the fastest song to reach the top of the chart since 1969, remaining there for seven consecutive weeks and making Jackson the first artist in history to have songs at No. 1 on Billboard in three different decades, and the first American artist to debut directly at No. 1 in the UK since 1960, equaling Elvis Presley's record. The video for the song, 11 minutes long and costing $4 million, was again filmed by John Landis, featuring actor Macaulay Culkin and model Tyra Banks; its TV debut on Nov. 14, 1991, was seen by more than 500 million viewers, making it the music video with the largest viewership ever, setting a new Guinness record. On November 27, Jackson performed on the 10-year anniversary TV special for MTV in Black or White, accompanied by Slash of Guns N' Roses, and in Will You Be There, accompanied by a gospel choir. Starting that year also, the MTV Video Vanguard Award was renamed the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, in honor of his contributions to music video culture.

In January 1992 the second single Remember the Time was released, accompanied by its video clip set in Ancient Egypt; costing $2 million and shot by John Singleton, it featured actor Eddie Murphy, model and actress Iman, and NBA player Magic Johnson. This was followed by the one for In the Closet shot by Herb Ritts, in which Jackson duetted and danced with model Naomi Campbell (on the album the voice was instead that of Princess Stephanie of Monaco) and the one for Jam, in which basketball player Michael Jordan appeared and played and danced with Jackson, while in the one for Give In to Me appeared Slash, Gilby Clarke and Teddy Andreadis, then members of Guns N' Roses. The video for Gone Too Soon included images of the singer in the company of Ryan White, a young student who has become a symbol of the fight against HIV

In February Jackson traveled to Africa to visit Gabon, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Egypt, in what he called "a homecoming." More than 100,000 people greeted him at Libreville airport, and Gabon's President Omar Bongo presented him with the Medal of Honor, an honor hitherto reserved for heads of state, while in Côte d'Ivoire he was crowned "King of the Sanwi" by the chief of the tribe, complete with a coronation ceremony.

On June 18, Dancing the Dream, a collection of poems, reflections and short stories written by the singer, was published in the United States. On June 24, with a press conference held at London's Heathrow Airport, Jackson introduced the Heal the World Foundation; inspired by the song of the same name, it aimed to help those most in need, especially children in war-affected areas and the terminally ill. Through the foundation, Jackson immediately sent millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to civil war-stricken Bosnia.

On June 27, the promotional tour for the album, the Dangerous World Tour, began in Munich and became one of the biggest shows in music history. The final date of the European tour, held in Bucharest on October 1 in front of 90,000 fans, and televised live by HBO, was watched by more than 250 million viewers, the largest audience in cable TV history. TV rights were purchased by HBO for $20 million, the highest amount ever paid for a concert. The tour ended on November 11, 1993 in Mexico City, recording 4 million viewers and $136 million in box office for 69 concerts in 26 countries. All receipts from the tour were donated to charity through the Heal the World Foundation. By the end of 1992, Dangerous and Black or White had become the best-selling album and single of the year worldwide, winning two awards at the Billboard Awards; Jackson also won an honorary award as "best-selling artist of the 1980s."

On January 17, 1993, Jackson attended the first inaugural ceremony of Bill Clinton's presidency, performing We Are the World on the National Mall in Washington, DC, accompanied by other artists. Two days later he performed at the 42nd presidential gala, calling on the Clinton administration to put more money into supporting charities and HIV research

On Jan. 31, Jackson performed an iconic performance, during the Halftime Show of Super Bowl XXVII, setting a U.S. television ratings record with more than 133.4 million viewers in the United States alone. The performance was watched by more than 1.3 billion people in 85 other countries, earning Jackson a new Guinness record for "the performance with the largest television audience ever." The success of his performance then began the NFL's tradition of inviting the world's greatest artists to perform at halftime of the finals.

On February 10, he gave an exclusive interview to Oprah Winfrey that was broadcast live from Neverland Ranch worldwide, registering more than 100 million viewers and becoming the most-watched interview in television history.

On February 24, at the Grammy Awards, he received the Grammy Legend Award presented to him by his sister Janet, becoming at 34 the youngest artist to receive the award. On May 12, at the World Music Awards in Munich, he received awards for Best Selling Pop Artist, Best Selling American Artist and an award specially created in his honor as the World's Best Selling Artist of the Era, while a week later, at the Guinness World Record Museum in Los Angeles, he received the first and only Lifetime Achievement Award, a lifetime achievement award for his "unprecedented world records in the entertainment industry," and was certified as many as 8 different world records.

On August 23, 1993, while in Bangkok, a day before the opening concert of the second leg of the Dangerous World Tour, he was accused by a man named Evan Chandler of alleged sexual harassment of his son Jordan, then 13 years old, later settling the charges extra-judicially. As a result of the affair Jackson was forced to stop touring early and any promotion of the album Dangerous, including participation in the soundtrack for the film The Addams Family 2, for which he had already composed a song (Is This Scary, later turned into Is It Scary) and begun recording some scenes for the video (later turned into Ghosts).

On May 26, 1994, he married Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley's only daughter, in Santo Domingo. On Sept. 8, the couple appeared on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards to open the evening, launching into a kiss that captured the attention of the press and became one of the most iconic moments in the awards' history. Will You Be There, the title track of the film Free Willy, won an MTV Movie Award for best song.

HIStory e Blood on the Dance Floor (1995-2000)

On June 16, 1995, the double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future - Book I was released, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and in 19 other countries. The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a Greatest Hits of 15 Jackson hits, while the second, HIStory Continues, contained 15 previously unreleased tracks. HIStory to date has sold 30 million copies (60 million units) worldwide, 8 of them in the United States, figures that make it the best-selling double album of all time.

The first single taken from HIStory's unreleased album was the double A-side Scream

On Sept. 7 he was honored with his sister Janet at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards for the video for Scream with awards for Best Dance Video, Best Choreography and Best Art Direction against 11 nominations, a record for a music video; Jackson opened the evening by performing a medley of old and new hits, accompanied by Slash. The performance was voted the best in the awards' history, winning the MTV VMA's Best Performance of All Time, Most Iconic VMA Performance and Best VMA Pop Performance awards. In November Jackson performed on Europe's biggest TV show, the German broadcast Wetten Dass?, recording the highest ratings in the program's history. Later that month, he merged his music catalog with Sony's, creating the Sony

In February, Jackson attended the 1996 Brit Awards, performing Earth Song and sparking some controversy and the storming of the stage by Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of Pulp. After the performance, Jackson received a special Brit Award for Artist of a Generation. The award was presented to him by Sir Bob Geldof, who presented it with these words:

In May he performed Earth Song again at the World Music Awards in Munich, and set a new record for wins, receiving five awards: Best Selling Album Of All Time for Thriller, Best Selling Artist of 1996, Best Selling R&B Artist, Best Selling American Artist and Best Selling Artist Ever.

On July 16, 1996, Jackson was invited to perform in the Sultanate of Brunei by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, then the richest man in the world, as part of his 50th birthday celebration. The concert, with free admission, was performed in the presence of the royal family and an audience of 60,000 people. The sultan paid about $17 million for Jackson to perform on his birthday, the highest amount ever paid for a private concert. On the return trip Jackson stopped in South Africa to meet with Nelson Mandela; speaking with the singer, the South African president said, "I can see who the world leader is. I have never seen so many journalists."

The HIStory World Tour, the tour in support of the album, began on September 7, 1996 in Prague, in front of 150,000 people, concluding on October 15, 1997 in Durban, in the presence of President Mandela. The tour included 82 concerts in 35 countries, totaling more than 4.5 million spectators, and $165 million in box office, achievements that made it the most successful tour in Jackson's career and, at the time, in music history as well, breaking previous records for his own Bad World Tour. On November 14, 1996, during the Australian leg of the tour, the singer married for the second time, this time to his friend and former nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe, in an impromptu ceremony at the hotel where they were staying in Sydney. On February 13, 1997, their firstborn son, Prince Michael, was born.

On May 6 in Cleveland, Jackson and his brothers were inducted, as members of the Jackson 5, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jackson became, at only 38 years old, the youngest artist ever inducted. On May 20, an album of new material accompanied by remixes of singles from HIStory was released entitled Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, to date the best-selling remix album in history, with more than 7 million copies sold. The singles Ghosts and Is It Scary were part of a short film written by the singer and Stephen King entitled Michael Jackson's Ghosts. Directed by Stan Winston, it boasted remarkable special effects and new choreography, and lasted more than 39 minutes, a record for a music video, entered in the Guinness Book of Records; some music critics called the video "the new Thriller." The project cost $15 million, paid for entirely by Jackson. In May Jackson and Stan Winston presented the short film out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Later that year a popular poll and the Guinness Book of World Records declared Jackson the "most famous man on the planet."

In 1998 he devoted himself primarily to business, seeking partners and funds to build an amusement park inspired by his favorite character, Peter Pan, called Peter Pan's Neverland, and a chain of toy stores called Wonderworld of Toys, both in Japan; other plans included a second theme park with casino in Detroit, called Thriller Theme Park, and another casino in southern Africa. On April 3 his second child, Paris Katherine, was born. In May Jackson attended the Southern African Economic Summit in Windhoek, Namibia, where he joined African leaders in attendance in a call for debt relief, also calling for more attention to the plight of the poorest children.

On June 25 and 27, 1999, he organized two benefit concerts in Seoul and Munich called Michael Jackson & Friends. The concerts, attended by a number of international artists along with Jackson, were broadcast live in the two countries and raised funds for victims of the Kosovo War, the Nelson Mandela Children Foundation, the Red Cross, and UNESCO. During the Munich show, Jackson was involved in a serious onstage accident: the singer was performing on a structure suspended several meters above the ground when, due to a technical failure, it gave way and fell down, crashing onto the stage with the singer still on it. Jackson insisted on finishing the show as planned, but upon arriving backstage he lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital. As a result of the accident, Jackson would suffer constant back pain for the rest of his life. On October 8, Jackson divorced Debbie Rowe, who left him custody of their two children. That same year he was listed with his sister Janet in the Guinness Book of Records for being the "most successful siblings in music history," while the RIAA recognized him as "the best-selling pop and R&B artist of the century."

At the 2000 World Music Awards in Monte Carlo, Prince Albert of Monaco presented him with the "Best Male Artist of the Millennium" award for being "the best-selling male solo artist of all time." That year Guinness recognized him with a new record, as "the entertainment person who had donated to charity and supported more charities than anyone else."

Invincible and Number Ones (2001-2005)

On March 6, 2001, Jackson gave a humanitarian-themed speech at Oxford University, where he was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters and Pedagogy degree. On March 19, in New York, he attended his induction ceremony as a solo artist into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame being inducted by the group Nsync, but was unable to perform due to a sprained ankle. Jackson not only became one of the few artists to be inducted for the second time, but at 42 he was also the youngest solo artist ever inducted.

On September 7 and 10, Jackson organized two special concert events at New York's Madison Square Garden to celebrate his 30-year solo career, Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration - The Solo Years where, in addition to Jackson himself and a reunion with his brothers, countless other music and movie stars performed. Tickets for the two concerts were among the most expensive ever; Jackson earned $7.5 million for each of the two nights, more than $150,000 per minute. The event was televised on Nov. 13 of that year by CBS and drew the best ratings in the network's history, becoming one of the most-watched TV specials in American history, with about 45 million viewers. The morning after the second concert, Jackson was supposed to attend a meeting at the Twin Towers, but tired from the previous evening, he did not show up. Following the September 11 attacks, Jackson wrote a charity song in English and Spanish, What More Can I Give, which he recorded with 30 other internationally renowned artists, and also organized a benefit concert in tribute to the victims, United We Stand.

On October 30, 2001, Invincible was released, which debuted at No. 1 on the charts in the United States and 10 other countries, and to date has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide. The first singles taken from the album were You Rock My World, in whose video Chris Tucker, Michael Madsen, and Marlon Brando participated, and Cry, while the song Butterflies was released only on radio. Shortly before the release of Invincible, Jackson had informed Tommy Mottola, then president of Sony Music, that he had no intention of renewing his expiring contract with the record company: the singer's departure would also mean the loss of 50 percent of the Sony catalog

On January 9, 2002 at the American Music Awards he received the Artist of the Century award for "his outstanding contributions to the world of music." On February 21 his third child, Prince Michael II "Blanket," conceived through surrogacy, was born. On April 24, Jackson performed at New York's Apollo Theater in a concert organized by former President Bill Clinton to raise funds to encourage young people to vote. Jackson performed Dangerous, Black or White accompanied by Dave Navarro of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Heal the World, in what was the last official and complete performance of his career. The concert raised nearly $3 million.

In November 2002, Jackson arrived in Berlin to receive a Bambi Award as Pop Artist of the Millennium for being "the greatest living pop icon" as well as for his humanitarian actions. Urged by thousands of his fans who had gathered under his hotel to show off his youngest child Blanket, he decided to please them by briefly holding the 9-month-old baby outside the balcony. This created quite a bit of controversy among the world's media, which aired the images on all the front pages of news outlets criticizing the artist. Shortly thereafter Jackson sent a letter of apology for the Berlin incident in which he said he could never really endanger the life of his son.

In November 2003, Bad, Off the Wall and Thriller entered the list of the 500 best albums according to Rolling Stone at numbers 202, 68 and 20, respectively.

That same month Jackson released a CD and DVD compilation of his most popular songs, Number Ones; in addition to all his singles that reached the number one position worldwide, it also contained Break of Dawn from Invincible and the previously unreleased One More Chance. The album has sold more than 14 million copies.

On Nov. 19, 2003, he was again charged with child molestation, undergoing a trial from which he was acquitted of all charges by a full verdict on June 13, 2005.

In November 2004, the collection Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection was released, containing several previously unreleased tracks; the same month Jackson was inducted by popular vote into the UK Hall of Fame, becoming one of the founding members as an "iconic artist of the 1980s."

Financial difficulties, last performance at the World Music Awards, Thriller 25 and King of Pop (2006-2008)

When the trial was over, Jackson left the United States and in January 2006 settled with his children in Bahrain, the guest of Prince Abdu'llah, second son of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

February saw the release of Visionary: The Video Singles, containing 20 of his best-known singles accompanied by their respective videos. Thanks to the success of the collection, Jackson managed to place 19 singles in the Top 40 in the UK in 2006, breaking the previous 1955 record of 5 singles and achieving a new Guinness record, while in Spain 16 singles reached the first position and the last 4 the second; several songs achieved a much higher placement than the original.

On March 9, California government representatives ordered the closure of Neverland Ranch because of some unpaid debts and salaries. Seven days later it was announced that the singer had closed Neverland and fired some of its employees.

In April he struck a deal with Sony and Fortress Investments: under the pact, Sony and Jackson would share an equal stake in the Sony

On November 15, 2006, Jackson participated as the guest of honor at the World Music Awards at Earls Court Arena in London. There he received the Diamond Award from Beyoncé for selling more than 750 million copies with his albums, while Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, presented him with a special award for Thriller and called him "undoubtedly the most famous living human being." Journalist Charles Thomson, who was present at the event, described the reaction of the audience:

After the award ceremony, Jackson briefly performed We Are the World, accompanied by a boys' choir. It was his last live performance in front of an audience.

While in London, Jackson visited the Guinness Book of World Records headquarters, where he was recognized with eight new world records, including those for "First artist to officially sell more than 100 million albums outside the United States" and "Most successful entertainer of all time."

In 2007 Jackson began work on a new studio album. The tracks were recorded partly in Ireland and partly in Las Vegas, and Jackson collaborated with Chris Brown, Kanye West, Lenny Kravitz, Rodney Jerkins, Teddy Riley, and will.i.am, among others; the Black Eyed Peas frontman called the record "an Off the Wall for the new generation, with perfect pop songs." The album release, scheduled for 2008, did not materialize.

On Feb. 11, 2008, to mark the 25th anniversary of Thriller's release, a special re-release of the album enriched with previously unreleased material, Thriller 25, was released, which has sold more than 5 million copies to date.

In May of that year Jackson sold a share in Neverland Ranch to Colony Capital. That company contacted AEG Live, a concert-promoting company, to talk about a concrete return of the singer to the stage. Colony Capital was intent on recouping the money spent on Neverland, so AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips contacted Dr. Tohme Tohme, the singer's manager at the time, a businessman with a less-than-clear history.

On August 29, 2008, Jackson's 50th birthday, a new compilation entitled King of Pop was released, an anthology in which fans themselves voted to decide which songs to include, so the album came out with a different compilation for each country. King of Pop was not released in the United States but reached the Top 10 in 17 other countries, selling about 6 million copies. That year, the albums Off the Wall and Thriller were included in the Grammy Hall of Fame, while Rolling Stone magazine listed Jackson 25th on its list of the 100 Best Voices of All Time and 35th on its list of the 100 Best Artists of All Time.

The announcement of This Is It (2009)

On March 5, 2009, Jackson held a press conference at the O2 Arena in London, attended by more than 2,000 fans and more than 350 journalists, which was broadcast live worldwide by the major networks. Jackson announced his return to the stage with a residency show at the O2 Arena itself, which would begin on July 13, 2009, called This Is It, further stating that it would be his last live performances. Demand for tickets was so high that the initially announced 10 stops became 50, which sold out, causing the tour's end date to be pushed back to March 6, 2010. More than 750,000 tickets were sold out in less than three hours, becoming the fastest ticket sale in history. Sales of Jackson's albums soared after the press conference. Overnight, sales of Off the Wall had increased by 200 percent, Bad by 110 percent, Dangerous by 165 percent, and Thriller 25 by 155 percent.

Accompanying the residency announcement was the release of Michael Jackson The Collection, released on June 20, 2009, a box set containing the five most important albums of his solo career at Epic

Jackson held concert rehearsals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles under the direction of Kenny Ortega, with whom he had worked during his previous tours.

2009: Sudden Death

On June 25, 2009, 18 days before the start of the London concerts, while staying in a rented mansion in Holmby Hills in Los Angeles, Jackson died of cardiac arrest following acute intoxication from propofol, a powerful anesthetic administered to him by a doctor under contract to AEG, the company producing the London concerts, named Conrad Murray. In recent years, the singer suffered from chronic insomnia, and some doctors administered this anesthetic to him in a fallacious attempt to make him rest, since anesthetics do not induce sleep, as stated under oath by some medical experts in sleep treatment heard as witnesses at the trial that followed.

Michael Jackson's death has been called "the biggest media event ever," and many websites crashed under the weight of continuous searches regarding the artist. The public funeral ceremony held July 7 at the Staples Center was watched by an estimated 2.5 to 3 billion people worldwide, making it the most-watched television broadcast and streaming-online event in history.

The following September 3, a private memorial service was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, the celebrity cemetery where Jackson's body was buried.

Sales of his albums exceeded 8 million copies in the United States and more than 30 in the rest of the world, making Jackson the best-selling artist of 2009.

On October 28, Sony released a documentary film containing rehearsal footage of the planned concerts in London, Michael Jackson's This Is It. Despite being limited to two weeks (but the deadline was extended in several countries given the extraordinary turnout), it became the highest-grossing film for a documentary or concert film, grossing more than $261 million worldwide.

Jackson's inheritance (about $1 billion with about $500 million in debt) went to his mother Katherine, his three children and charities. Nothing to his father, due to disagreements between the two.

In 2011 Sony signed a $250 million contract with attorney John Branca and music impresario John McClain, administrators of the singer's assets. This deal, described as the second most lucrative in music history (after Jackson's own deal with Sony in 1991), provided for the distribution through 2017 of at least 10 new Jackson-related projects including the release of unreleased songs, films, and video games. That contract was renewed in December 2017. As part of the agreement, Sony will collaborate on additional projects that the Estate of Michael Jackson may produce. While the terms of the agreement, including its valuation, have not been revealed, some sources say it is extended for another seven years. Although the additional projects have not been enunciated, they appear to include the additional posthumous albums implied in the original 10-album contract. That agreement has been criticized by some supporters and family members of the artist, since Jackson in his lifetime wanted nothing more to do with Sony Music after what happened with Invincible.

Single, album and documentary inspired by This Is It (2009)

On Oct. 12, 2009, nearly four months after the singer's death, an unreleased single was released on the radio that was named after the same tour Jackson was to undertake in July, namely This Is It. The song actually dated back to 1980. On October 26, The Music That Inspired The Movie: Michael Jackson's This Is It collection was released, containing the songs that would be performed on the tour, plus the new song This Is It, three demos and the poem Planet Earth, recited by Jackson himself.

Michael and Xscape (2010-2014)

The singer's first posthumous album, titled Michael, was released on December 10, 2010. It consisted of ten unreleased tracks recorded by Jackson at different periods of his career. The album's first single was Hold My Hand, written and sung as a duet with Akon. The song quickly climbed the charts in 13 countries and reached the fourth position of the most downloaded singles of the year. Despite the success of the launch single, the album did not achieve the success Sony had hoped for; the failure was mainly due to a boycott of this posthumous work by many of the artist's fans who accused the record company of speculating on his death and of releasing on the album three songs sung by an impersonator and not by Jackson. Many family members and friends of the artist also questioned the authenticity of some of the songs.

The second posthumous album, Xscape, was released on May 14, 2014. The album's release was preceded by the single Love Never Felt So Good, a duet with Justin Timberlake, which entered the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Jackson the only artist in history to enter it in five different decades. The album enjoyed worldwide success, placing in the Top 5 in 14 countries and selling more than three million copies in its first two months. It was followed by the singles A Place with No Name and Slave to the Rhythm, presented via a "hologram" of Jackson during the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, where Xscape was among the nominees for "Best R&B Album of the Year."

Immortal, Bad 25 and re-release of Off The Wall (2011-2016)

On November 21, 2011, the Immortal compilation was released, the soundtrack to Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil, a Jackson tribute tour to the world's largest arenas, which debuted on October 2, 2011 in Montréal and ended on August 31, 2014 in Guadalajara. The tour became the most lucrative production in Cirque du Soleil's history and one of the ten most successful musical tours in history, with more than $371 million in box office and an audience of more than 3.7 million over 501 dates.

Bad 25 was released on September 18, 2012, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Bad album. In addition to the re-release of the album, a DVD was released containing the concert Jackson gave at London's Wembley Stadium on July 16, 1988 during the Bad World Tour. Director Spike Lee, Jackson's friend and former collaborator, also made Bad 25, a documentary concerning the creation of the album.

On February 26, 2016, the Off the Wall album was reissued as a special edition, along with a documentary again made by Spike Lee, titled Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall.

Thriller 3D, Scream, MJ the Musical and other activities (2017-ongoing)

On Sept. 4, 2017, at the 74th Venice Film Festival, John Landis' restored and 3D-rendered video of Thriller was presented, accompanied by the documentary Making Michael Jackson's Thriller.

On Sept. 29, Scream, a compilation consisting of 13 of Jackson's Halloween-themed songs, is released. The CD also contains a poster that gives access to an AR (augmented reality) experience via the Shazam app that can be downloaded to smartphones. Also in celebration of the Halloween holiday, on Oct. 27 the CBS television network aired a CGI movie-cartoon called Michael Jackson's Halloween, inspired by the singer.

On July 6, 2018, Drake's single Don't Matter to Me was released, containing some samples from an unreleased Jackson song. On August 29 of the same year, however, a mash-up of various Jackson songs by Mark Ronson entitled Michael Jackson X Mark Ronson: Diamonds Are Invincible was released to celebrate the artist's 60th birthday.

In 2020, a Broadway musical, directed by Christopher Wheeldon and starring Ephraim Sykes (later replaced by Myles Frost) as Jackson, chronicling the singer's life and career and titled MJ the Musical, was announced. The first date was originally scheduled for July 6, 2020 but was later postponed to December 6, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 15, 2022, the album MJ the Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) was released containing cover recordings of Jackson's songs performed by the cast of the Broadway musical.

Michael Jackson has been married twice: the first marriage was to Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Presley's only daughter, in May 1994, from whom he divorced in January 1996. The two returned to dating between 1997 and 1999.

In November 1996 he remarried, this time to a nurse named Deborah Jeanne Rowe, commonly known as Debbie. The couple divorced in 1999, and the two remained on good terms. His wife left custody of the children to him.

Michael Jackson has three children: eldest son Prince Michael Jackson was born on Feb. 13, 1997; about a year later, on April 3, 1998, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson was born; Jackson had both children by Deborah Rowe. On February 21, 2002, he had his third child, Prince Michael Jackson II, whom he nicknamed Blanket, conceived through in vitro fertilization. Jackson never declared the identity of the surrogate mother.

His first girlfriend was actress Tatum O'Neal, and over the years he has also been credited with flirtations with singers Diana Ross and Whitney Houston, model and actress Brooke Shields, and, despite the age difference, actress Liz Taylor, who was actually simply the singer's best friend.

As for Diana Ross, Jackson himself stated in his autobiography that he had had a platonic love for the singer since childhood. In addition, in his will, the artist arranged for Diana Ross to become guardian of his children, should their mother Katherine pass away.

Jackson has also been credited with the paternity of his other alleged children; the most famous among them is Omer Bhatti, actually of Pakistani father and Norwegian mother, a close family friend and protégé of Jackson's, who attended the funeral sitting alongside the artist's family members.

Jackson was also an activist and philanthropist. He entered the Guinness Book of Records as the artist who supported the most charities and is estimated to have donated more than $400 million to charity. He has also received many other humanitarian honors, including two honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from Fisk University and the United Negro College Fund in 1988, and an honorary Doctor of Letters and Pedagogy degree from Oxford University in 2001.

In 1984, after suffering third-degree burns while filming a Pepsi commercial, the singer decided not to sue and donated his compensation, estimated at around $1.5 million, to Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, asking that a burn center be established, which was named the Michael Jackson Burn Center in honor of the singer's donation. Also that same year, he donated all of his personal earnings from the Victory Tour, more than $5 million, to charity. In 1986, Jackson donated $1.5 million to establish the Michael Jackson Scholarships at the United Negro College Fund, helping hundreds of students attend college. Because of this, in 1988 UNCF honored the artist during their 44th annual gala with the highest honor, the Fredrick D. Patterson Award.

Throughout the 1980s the artist continued to donate to many charities including UNESCO, the NAACP, the Ronald McDonald Children's Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. On July 16, 1988, before a concert at Wembley Stadium, Jackson met the Prince of Wales and his wife Princess Diana Spencer and handed them a check for 150,000 pounds for The Prince's Trust and one for 100,000 pounds for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

In 1992 he founded the Heal the World Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty, hunger, violence, disease and pollution worldwide; the entire proceeds of the Dangerous World Tour were donated to the foundation. Its activities were numerous: donations of supplies and gift parcels for Sarajevo children affected by the war, distribution of vaccines, distribution of thousands of dollars in toys, food and provisions to various hospitals, funding for a liver transplant to a Hungarian child. In Italy, the donation made by the association to the Partita del Cuore of the National Singers' team is recalled. Many donations remain unknown.

In 1993 he co-founded with former President Jimmy Carter Heal L.A., an association aimed at preventing drug use and running medical and educational services for young people in the most deprived areas of Los Angeles.

In 1999 he organized two benefit concerts, the Michael Jackson & Friends, to raise funds for victims of the Kosovo War, the Red Cross, the Nelson Mandela Children Foundation and UNESCO.

In 2001, with the help of rabbi and writer Shmuley Boteach, he founded Heal the Kids, an association aimed at helping children in need and their families. In October of that year he organized the benefit concert United We Stand, for the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks.

Jackson also wrote several songs whose proceeds went to charity; We Are the World in 1985 for the starving people of East Africa, Heal the World in 1991 and Earth Song in 1995, the profits of which went to the Heal the World Foundation, and What More Can I Give in 2001 for the families of the victims of the September 11 attacks.

Other charitable projects remained unfinished, however, such as the songs From the Bottom of My Heart, written to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina, and I Have This Dream, or the charity Go For Your Dreams created in 2003 and whose project was abandoned when new allegations of harassment arrived.

He also left an unspecified amount of money in his will to various charities.

Jackson has also been an animal rights activist. In 1983, he rescued a dozen monkeys from experiments. One of these, Bubbles, went to live with him in the Encino mansion first and in Neverland later, along with dozens of other animals. He also won two Genesis Awards for his efforts to raise awareness of animal issues, in 1988 for the Man in the Mirror video and 1996 for the Earth Song video, respectively.

The autopsy performed at the singer's demise definitively confirmed that Jackson suffered from vitiligo, a disease that causes the loss of skin color, making the individual's epidermis patchy and lighter, and that went so far as to almost completely destroy his pigmentation. Having whitened most of his body, since 1984 Jackson underwent some skin-uniforming therapies (depigmentation by monobenzone or hydroquinone) with his own dermatologist of choice, Dr. Arnold Klein. Jackson also suffered from systemic or possibly discoid lupus erythematosus. These diseases cause high photosensitivity to sunlight (to protect himself from the sun's rays he often walked around with an umbrella, wearing sunglasses, gloves and a surgical mask) and skin damage (particularly lupus), especially to the face, as well as alopecia. The other diseases that were attributed to him have always been denied. In addition, second- and third-degree burns to his scalp, suffered during the incident on the set of the Pepsi commercial, caused him pain that plagued him for the rest of his life, leading him to have to use painkillers for a long time, becoming addicted to them for many years, and undergo surgeries such as scalp tissue expansion. In 1999 he had an onstage accident while performing Earth Song on top of a bridge-like structure raised several feet off the ground, which quickly crashed and caused him back problems that would persist for the rest of his life. During the tours and trial Jackson also suffered from stress and insomnia. It was in an attempt to treat his insomnia, which had become chronic, that he agreed to be given several benzodiazepines and propofol, the anesthetic that caused his death in 2009.

First scandals

Beginning in 1983, soon after the success of Thriller, many rumors and gossip began to circulate regarding Jackson's private life; among the first ever were those that the singer was taking hormones to maintain his high-pitched voice, that he had undergone castration, and that he was undergoing a sex-change operation: the latter rumor began circulating as early as 1977. In 1985, Jackson won at an auction ATV Music Publishing, which held the publishing rights to some 250 Beatles songs; days earlier, Paul McCartney had unsuccessfully asked Yōko Ono to join their financial forces to buy him out. According to the newspapers this compromised his friendship with Paul McCartney, while Jackson wrote in his autobiographical book Moonwalk that it was McCartney himself who gave him the idea. Some time later there were rumors that Jackson was sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber and that he had tried to acquire the skeleton of Joseph Merrick, the elephant man, news that was always denied by the artist. The reports were apparently spread by his manager at the time, Frank Di Leo, who was then fired at the end of Bad's promotion. Around the same time, Jackson began to fill his Encino mansion with exotic animals and mannequins that, as the singer himself told Rolling Stone magazine, helped him combat loneliness. These rumors caused quite a stir among the media at the time, and the British tabloids gave him the nickname "Wacko Jacko," which the singer soon detested. Jackson's skin color, black throughout his youth, began to lighten year by year, starting in the early 1980s, and in 1986 he was diagnosed with a rare and acute form of vitiligo, but Jackson would not declare it publicly until 1993, during the famous interview with Oprah, and because of this, the media at the time criticized Jackson for allegedly wanting to "whiten" his skin, creating this urban legend that would stay with him throughout his life. Rolling Stone magazine at the time branded many of these scandals as "publicity stunts."

Allegations of plagiarism

Michael Jackson was accused of plagiarism by a number of artists, including singer Al Bano in 1992: the Italian singer believed that the 1991 song Will You Be There was a plagiarism of I cigni di Balaka, a 1987 song by Al Bano and Romina Power.

Initially the appraisers agreed with Al Bano but eventually determined that both singers were inspired by an Indian folk song, which is not copyrighted (Bless You for Being an Angel).

Another song accused of plagiarism was You Are Not Alone, written by R. Kelly. The song was accused of being copied from 1993's If We Can Start All Over by Belgian brothers Eddy and Danny Van Passel. }}

The 1993 charges

On Aug. 23, 1993, while Jackson was in Bangkok for a leg of the Dangerous World Tour, he was first accused of child molestation: Evan Chandler, a Beverly Hills dentist, accused him of sexually abusing his son Jordan (known as Jordie or Jordy), then 13 years old. Chandler formalized the accusation in civil, not criminal, court, with the aim of obtaining monetary compensation from Jackson. As a result of the charges, Pepsi-Cola, the singer's sponsor at the time, terminated the contract due to the negative media impact that had overwhelmed Jackson's image, who was forced to cancel half the dates of the Dangerous World Tour and then suspend it altogether. A few days after the tour ended, Jackson admitted that he had become addicted to painkillers and decided to go to a rehabilitation clinic. On December 22 Jackson responded via satellite from Neverland declaring himself "totally innocent." On January 25, 1994, the accuser was paid an unspecified amount of money, estimated at around $20 million. Jackson's lawyers had to come to the agreement because revealing the defense in the court hearing would have prejudiced a possible criminal trial. The singer did not sue the Chandlers in court for extortion, but demanded that his total extraneousness to the facts for which he was being charged be put in black and white in the document that was later filed in court. The extrajudicial resolution of the civil case in no way prevented the family from proceeding with a further criminal case. It was only later that phone calls were learned of that proved Jackson's innocence: in them Evan Chandler spoke to his lawyer saying that he wanted to destroy his wife, a friend of the singer, and Jackson himself because he had not lent him money, also stating that he did not care about the impact this action might have on his son. In the following years Jordan Chandler himself sued his father for attempted murder, even obtaining a restraining order against him in 2005 after refusing to testify against Jackson in the trial involving him at the time. According to some never-confirmed rumors and according to testimonies reported in the 2019 documentary, Square One, the boy himself reportedly admitted to some college friends, following the second charges brought against Jackson by the Arvizo family, that he had never been molested by the artist, praising Jackson and saying that he never believed the singer could ever hurt a child. On Nov. 5, 2009, five months after Jackson's death, the boy's father was found lifeless after shooting himself with a gun in his New Jersey apartment.

The 2003 charges and the trial

Starting in May 2002, Michael Jackson allowed a TV crew headed by British journalist Martin Bashir to follow him wherever he went. In February 2003, Living with Michael Jackson was aired: in one scene, Jackson was seen hand in hand with Gavin Arvizo, then 13 years old with cancer, in which the singer admitted to sharing a bedroom with him, but not a bed.

This caused some outcry among Jackson's detractors because of previous accusations. Jackson felt betrayed by the editing that Bashir gave to the documentary and accused him of showing it in a distorted way. This was also demonstrated during the trial the singer had to endure for child molestation, as clips cut by Bashir were shown in the courtroom.

After the documentary aired, the Santa Barbara County Prosecutor's Office began a criminal investigation. The Los Angeles Police Department and the Child Protective Services (DCFS) came to the conclusion that the molestation allegations were unfounded. The same conclusion was reached by the FBI, which had opened an investigation. Initially the family of the young man involved in the documentary defended Jackson; they later told investigators that the singer had instead behaved improperly but, according to them, only after and not before the documentary aired, causing some doubt about the veracity of the allegations.

However, on November 19, 2003, while Jackson was in Las Vegas to shoot the video for the unreleased One More Chance, Santa Barbara police searched the Neverland Ranch and sent the singer an arrest warrant for alleged child sexual abuse. Jackson was arrested on seven counts of alleged child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to Arvizo.

The Michael Jackson Trial began on January 31, 2005, in Santa Maria, in the state of California, and lasted until the end of the following May. On June 13, 2005, Jackson was acquitted of all charges by a full verdict. During the proceedings it was discovered that Janet Arvizo, Gavin's mother, had already been sued in court for tax fraud against the state. There were numerous witnesses who showed how the woman had tried to extort money from the state, insurance companies and other celebrities. In Nov. 15, 2001, the woman filed an application for access to a welfare check, saying she had no source of income. Ten days earlier, however, the woman and her family had collected $152,000 from JC Penney, following an abuse complaint filed against the department store chain, during which Gavin Arvizo had already perjured himself under oath. After Jackson's trial and acquittal, Janet Arvizo was tried and convicted of tax fraud.

Leaving Neverland (posthumous indictment)

In January 2019, the documentary Leaving Neverland directed by British filmmaker Dan Reed was presented at the Sundance Film Festival. In it Wade Robson, James Safechuck, and their families described their relationships with Jackson. Despite their past testimonies in which they had claimed that Jackson was innocent, Safechuck and Robson recanted, accusing the singer of sexually abusing them when they were children; however, no material evidence was presented that Jackson had actually abused them. The alleged abuse allegedly took place at Jackson's Neverland Ranch residence and at his own in Century City, both in California.

The documentary caused a worldwide stir and much controversy between innocentists and guilt-mongers: it generated a negative wave, on the one hand against Jackson and on the other against the channels that had broadcast the documentary. This caused a reexamination of his artistic legacy and as a human being but also with a resurgence of interest in him: many of his songs and albums re-entered some of the world's charts.

Since the airing of the documentary, some newspapers have noted inconsistencies in the dates recalled by the accusers (then children), which would cast doubt on the veracity of the facts and the credibility of the accusations against Jackson.

Michael Jackson was an entrepreneur and record producer. In 1985 he purchased for $47.5 million, the ATV Music Publishing catalog, comprising the publishing rights to nearly 4,000 songs, including most of the Beatles' material, about 250 tracks. Ten years later, Sony Music paid Jackson an estimated $95 million to $110 million for half of the rights, forming a joint venture with the artist called Sony

Over the years, the Sony catalog

Jackson co-produced all of his solo albums of adulthood, from Off the Wall in 1979 onward, and in the early 1990s he founded his own record label, MJJ music, through which he co-produced all of his albums from 1991 onward and the soundtracks for the 1993 film Free Willy and 1995 film Free Willy 2, on which he had collaborated. He also produced the debut album by the group formed by his nephews, 3T, entitled Brotherhood in 1995, by his sister Rebbie Jackson entitled Yours Faithfully, and by singer Tatyana Ali entitled Kiss the Sky, both in 1998.

Known primarily as a pop singer, Jackson, during his solo career, was an interpreter of a variety of musical styles. Initially inspired by Motown soul, he has since cultivated other genres such as rhythm and blues, funk, dance, rock, and new jack swing, bringing through his works a contribution to the dissemination of black music to large sections of the public. His eclectic approach to various styles can already be observed from his first album as an adult, Off the Wall, produced by Quincy Jones, which ranges from the funk and disco pop of Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, Workin' Day and Night and Get on the Floor, to soul, soft rock, jazz, rhythm and blues and ballads such as She's Out of My Life or Girlfriend.

With the album Thriller, also produced by Jones, Michael fine-tuned the musical insights of Off the Wall; the dance, rock, and funk tracks (Baby Be Mine, P.Y.T., Billie Jean, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin') were characterized by greater interpretive force, while the pop songs and ballads (The Lady in My Life, Human Nature, The Girl Is Mine) were lighter and more introspective. In Billie Jean Jackson sang about a fan who claimed to have had a child by him, while in Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' he criticized media and gossip pressures. The song Beat It, dedicated to street violence, was also one of the first crossover rock

In Bad, the third and final album with Quincy Jones producing, the musical blend of Thriller was revisited, but incorporating songs that were better able to climb the pop charts individually. In Dirty Diana, another rock-contaminated track, Jackson imagined dealing with a "cursed" love; there was then the love ballad I Just Can't Stop Loving You, while Man in the Mirror reprised the themes of altruism and charity already present in We Are the World; Smooth Criminal evoked a fictional noir-style kidnapping and murder episode, a style already used by Jackson in the album Triumph's Heartbreak Hotel.

With the album Dangerous, released in 1991, Jackson was able to capture broader slices of the audience, with songs mostly devoted to social issues. The first tracks on the album are new jack swing songs, including Jam and Remember the Time. Why You Wanna Trip on Me talks about issues such as world hunger, disease, poverty and drugs, while Black Or White rails against all forms of racism. However, there are also more daring songs such as In the Closet, a song dedicated to love, longing, loneliness and private life, while the song Dangerous re-addressed the theme of damned love already present in Dirty Diana. Other tracks such as Will You Be There, Heal the World, and Keep the Faith, on the other hand, come closer to the gospel and are dedicated to both humanitarian and personal problems of Jackson himself; finally, Gone Too Soon is a ballad dedicated to a very young friend of the singer, Ryan White, who was a victim of AIDS. On the album Dangerous, forays into rap and hip hop music, whose popularity was growing, are evident.

The double album HIStory focuses on Jackson's problems with the public and the press, and according to Joe Vogel, an expert on Jackson's oeuvre, the album contains a whirlwind of emotions, from the passionate anger of Scream to the vulnerability of Childhood. With the new jack swing-funk-rock pieces Scream, D. S, This Time Around and Tabloid Junkie, and with the R&B ballad You Are Not Alone, Jackson criticizes the injustices and isolation his success has brought him and takes particular umbrage with the media, as he did with the track Leave Me Alone; in the track They Don't Care About Us, he speaks of the problems associated with racism, violence and injustice; in the ballad Stranger in Moscow he speaks of loneliness and the media persona he has been turned into; the track Earth Song is a dramatic plea to save the planet from destruction. Other tracks include the ballads Childhood, about lost childhood; Little Susie, about the death of a little girl caused by loneliness; and Smile, a cover song in homage to Michael's idol Charlie Chaplin. Music critic Joe Vogel describes the title track History as epic and grandiose, where all the injustices and tragedies of life are amended and redeemed by the power of music.

In the remix album Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, a collection containing five previously unreleased tracks and eight remixes, the pieces range from themes of revenge, as in the title track, to drug addiction in Morphine and again to the distortion of Jackson's image by the media, a theme also addressed in the video accompanying Ghosts, a short film with which Jackson challenges the society that had labeled him as a freak and eccentric. In the film, children are able to overcome appearances and labels much more quickly than adults who judge without knowing the truth.

L'album Invincible contiene brani soul come Cry e The Lost Children, dance come You Rock My World, ballate come Speechless, Whatever Happens, Break of Dawn e Butterflies e brani R&B come Unbreakable, 2000 Watts, Threatened, Heartbreaker e Invincible, dove si mescolano hip hop, pop e rap.

Michael Jackson has been an inspiration and influence for numerous other international artists, Beyoncé, George Michael, Rita Ora, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Anastacia, Usher, Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, Jason Derulo, Omarion, Zac Efron, Ciara, Jaden Smith, BTS

Ballet dancers such as Michail Barysnikov and Roberto Bolle repeatedly praised Jackson and called him "inimitable" and "a benchmark for ballet as well," while Fred Astaire repeatedly praised Jackson for his dance moves and called him "the greatest dancer of all time" and pointed to him as his "moral heir."

Videos of several of his songs, including Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller, turned music videos into a form of short film and a promotional tool. Their popularity also brought success to the music network MTV.

In 1984 Time music critic Jay Cocks wrote:

In the same year, New York Times music critic Jon Pareles also praised Jackson, writing:

On July 13, 2009, in an interview with Corriere della Sera, Jon Pareles himself said:

According to BET, Jackson:

Steve Huey of AllMusic described Jackson as:

In 2003 Tom Utley, music critic for the Daily Telegraph described him as "extremely important" and a "genius."

In 2009, the Baltimore Sun published an article titled "7 Ways Michael Jackson Changed the World." Author Jill Rosen wrote that:

On July 7, 2009, during Jackson's funeral, Motown founder Berry Gordy proclaimed him "the greatest entertainer who ever lived," while actress Queen Latifah called him "the greatest star on Earth." Danyel Smith, editor of Vibe, also called Jackson "The Greatest Star."

On June 25, 2009, the day of Jackson's death, paleontologists discovered in Navarre the fossil of an unknown species of lobster, named "Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni" in honor of the singer. In July, the Lunar Republic Society, which promotes exploration on the moon, named a crater "Michael Jackson."

In May 2010, two U.S. librarians discovered that Jackson's influence extended to university studies, with references to him in studies concerning music, popular culture, chemistry, medicine, law, psychology and engineering.

On Dec. 19, 2014, the British Council of Cultural Relations called Jackson's life "one of the 80 most important cultural moments of the 20th century."

Throughout his career, Michael Jackson was influenced by several artists, including Little Richard, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bob Fosse, Charlie Chaplin, Smokey Robinson, Judi Garland, Vincente Minnelli, and Stevie Wonder.

As reiterated many times, however, his greatest inspiration and idol was James Brown (who, in turn, considered Michael his heir). In 2003, during the BET Awards ceremony, Jackson had the opportunity to present Brown with the prestigious BET Lifetime Archievement Award, a special recognition given to personalities who have changed the way people think about music, thus speaking of his idol:

Michael Jackson had an absolute ear. He could sing bass, baritone, and tenor, but he wanted to sing tenor; he could go down to a low C with a vibrato, and then go up to G above high C. His range was at least 3 1/2 octaves. Jackson was also a beatboxer, as demonstrated in several tracks on the albums Dangerous, HIStory, Blood on the Dance Floor, Invincible, and Michael, during some interviews (including those with Oprah Winfrey in 1993, in which he performed beatboxes for the song Who Is It, and Diane Saywer in 1995, in which he performed beatboxes for Tabloid Junkie) and in Billie Jean's live performances of the HIStory World Tour.

Another thing that made Michael Jackson famous was his own dance style, which has spawned numerous imitators, parodies and flash mobs. Some steps invented by Jackson date back to the early 1970s, when he was still performing with the Jackson 5, and later perfected, such as the robot dance devised at the age of 15 in 1974 for the song Dancing Machine, while other moves, which he later improved, were invented for him by James Brown. In the early 1980s, he perfected a technique that enabled him to perform quick heel pirouettes through the use of the centrifugal force feat by his arms, with which he was able to perform three to eight pirouettes. This dance step was employed in numerous live performances, especially during performances of Billie Jean, Smooth Criminal, Man in the Mirror, Dirty Diana and Scream.

In 1983, during a performance on the television program Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, he launched his iconic toe step that later became his logo (the toe stand), and the dance move that would make him world famous: the moonwalk (Italian: "moonwalk") presented to the tune of Billie Jean. Many consider the artist to be the inventor of the move, although, as Jackson himself has said, it takes its cue from a technique used by black street boys in the ghettos; it was also brought to the stage in the 1930s by Cab Calloway. Over the years he has perfected the moonwalk more and more, eventually improving it on his tours. The last time Jackson performed this step was in 2001, during the two concerts of the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special.

Also in 1983 he choreographed Thriller, making famous the step that mimics the movement of zombies. He then invented the sidewalk, which is a side step based on the same principle as the moonwalk reworked. Jackson would perform the sidewalk together with the moonwalk in several of his choreographies as early as the 1984 Victory Tour, where he had also presented a fusion of the two, creating a circular movement based on the same moonwalk.

In 1988 he gave another proof of his skills as a choreographer and dancer with the Antigravity Lean, or anti-gravity movement in the Smooth Criminal video, in which the singer leaned forward 45º. In the video he used ropes, while to do the whole thing in live performances he used modified shoes, for which he held a patent, that allowed a hook sticking out from under the stage to engage the heel of his moccasins. As with the moonwalk, Jackson was not the inventor of the step, which can in fact be seen as early as a 1927 Buster Keaton film called Yours Forever, and in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, but it was he who improved it and made it famous.

Studio album

** (only the most popular media are reported, leaving out less popular ones such as Laserdisc and VCD)


(*) In the episode in question (Crazy to Bind) Jackson does not appear, but in the original version he dubs Leon Kompowsky, who introduces himself to Homer Simpson under the name of the famous artist, revealing his true identity only at the end. In the credits he is credited under the pseudonym John Jay Smith.

In the Italian versions of his films, Michael Jackson was voiced by:

As a voice actor he is replaced by:

A partial list of the artist's most famous television performances as a solo artist. A more detailed list can be found under Videography of Michael Jackson.

With the Jackson 5

A number of Michael Jackson-inspired video games have been produced, the first three in particular being based on the movie Moonwalker:

Jackson also makes a cameo near the end of the game Space Channel 5 (1999) as Space Michael and appears as an unlockable protagonist in its sequel Space Channel 5: Part 2 (2002). In addition to lending his voice to the character, he also wrote a song with his own danceable beatboxes in the game.

In 2000, he appeared as an unlockable character in Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2. Jackson, as revealed by Emmanuel Valdez, one of the game's developers, worked assiduously together with the developers on the rendering of his virtual counterpart while also lending the moves to the character through the motion capture technique.

Unfinished projects

In 1993 Jackson appeared as the main character in a rare film for a SEGA flight simulator called Advanced Star Fighter Training that was supposed to be released the same year for the Sega Mega Drive console but was eventually canceled when the first allegations came in.

According to conflicting sources, Jackson supposedly composed part of the soundtrack for the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 game for Mega Drive; in fact, many of the tracks in the game are similar to some of his songs: the one in the IceCap Zone level is very similar to Smooth Criminal and Who Is It, the one in Carnival Night Zone to Jam, and the final track to Stranger in Moscow. His name, however, does not appear in the credits. Roger Hector, director of SEGA's development division, stated that Jackson actually composed part of the soundtrack, but the company decided to cancel the project in progress because of pedophilia allegations the artist received at the time. Instead, keyboardist Brad Buxer, who collaborated with Jackson on writing the musical backing tracks for the game, stated that it was Jackson himself who allegedly asked not to be included in the credits because he was dissatisfied with the sound the console produced: "Back in the day, console games did not allow for optimal sound reproduction, and Michael found this frustrating. He did not want to be associated with a product that devalued his music."

Michael Jackson has won hundreds of awards, making him the most awarded musical artist in history. These include 39 certifications in the Guinness Book of Records, including that of "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time," 15 Grammy Awards (including two Lifetime Achievement Grammys) out of 38 nominations, 40 Billboard Awards, 26 American Music Awards, 15 MTV Video Music Awards, 12 Soul Train Music Awards, 6 BRIT Awards He has also been honored as artist "of the Decade," "of the Century"

Considered the most commercially successful music artist of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records, the estimated sales of all his albums and singles are around 1 billion copies worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists in music history. During his solo career Jackson had 14 number one singles in the United States, more than any other male artist on the Hot 100 Era, as well as being the first artist in history to enter the Billboard Hot 100 straight to number one.

As the lead member of the Jackson 5, Jackson became the youngest singer to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as being one of only three artists in the world, along with Paul McCartney and Phil Collins, to have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide both as a solo artist and as a band member. In 1997 a popular poll declared him the "most famous man on the planet," while in 2006 the Guinness Book of World Records voted him "undoubtedly the most famous living human being." In 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records credited him with supporting 39 different charities, more than any other entertainer.

Jackson also boasts several posthumous records: in 2010, he became the most downloaded Internet artist of all time; in 2014, the only artist in history to enter the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades; and in 2016, he became the highest-earning artist, living or deceased, in history, for earning more than $825 million in a single year. Since his death, Jackson has dominated Forbes' ranking of the world's richest missing celebrities for eleven years, the last eight of them consecutively, with earnings in excess of $2.5 billion. In 2021, he became the first artist in history to have singles in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100 in seven consecutive decades.


  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Michael Jackson
  3. ^ a b Michael Jackson: 7 anni fa moriva il re del pop, su news.mtv.it. URL consultato il 24 maggio 2017 (archiviato dall'url originale l'8 settembre 2017).
  4. Prononciation en anglais américain retranscrite selon la norme API.
  5. Le chiffre de 750 millions apparaît parfois dans les médias mais selon plusieurs journaux comme The Wall Street Journal, il s'agit d'un chiffre gonflé (s'il se réfère à des albums, au lieu d'unités), inventé par le manager du chanteur, Raymone Bain, à des fins promotionnelles en 2006.
  6. Le frère jumeau de Marlon, Brandon, est mort quelques heures après sa naissance, le 12 mars 1957.
  7. Gordy envisage de créer de nouveaux bureaux pour Motown à L.A. ; il y transférera le siège de la compagnie en 1972, quittant définitivement Detroit.
  8. C'est également le seul clip des années 1980 à avoir atteint cent millions de vues sur YouTube.
  9. ^ "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror", and "Dirty Diana".
  10. ^ In 2006, Raymone Bain, Jackson's publicist at that time, claimed that Michael Jackson had sold over 750 million units.[1][2] Since 2006, several sources such as Billboard or Reuters claimed that Michael Jackson had sold around 750 million records;[3][4] while others such as MTV or CBS News claimed that his sales were over 750 million albums.[5][6] In 2009, The Wall Street Journal disputed the 750 million figure (if it referred to albums, instead of units).[2] Later, in 2015, the RIAA stated that Michael Jackson has sold 1 billion records worldwide.[7][8]
  11. ^ In 2018, its US sales record was overtaken by the Eagles' album Greatest Hits 1971–75, with 38× platinum.[343]
  12. a b En 2006, Raymone Bain, publicista del cantante en ese momento, afirmó, sin ninguna prueba fáctica y probablemente en un intento de promoción musical, que Michael Jackson había vendido más de 750 millones de álbumes.[9]​[10]​ Desde 2006 diversos medios como Billboard o Reuters afirmaron que Jackson había vendido más de 750 millones de unidades musicales en todo el mundo;[11]​[12]​ mientras que otros medios como MTV o CBS News indicaron que sus ventas globales eran de más de 750 millones de álbumes.[7]​[13]​ En 2009, The Wall Street Journal calificó como exagerada la cifra de 750 millones (si se refería a álbumes, en lugar de unidades).[14]​[15]​ Más tarde, en 2015, Billboard, Rolling Stone y la RIAA afirmaron que Jackson ha vendido más de 1000 millones de unidades en todo el mundo.[16]​[17]​[18]​

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