Born: August 29, 1958 | Died: June 25, 2009
The King of Pop, who will be forever immortalized for his world-famous, trademark dance moves and chart-topping success, was arguably one of the most popular recording artists of all time, his success peaking during the 1980s.
Jackson was born in Gary, IN on August 29, 1958. Before he became a solo artist, Jackson was the youngest member of the Jackson Five, the explosive '60s band formed by his four older brothers -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon Jackson -- put Jackson on the path to stardom.
Jackson's talent was brought to the attention of producer Quincy Jones, who cast him in the role of Scarecrow in 'The Wiz' (1978), a musical based on 'The Wizard of Oz.' The film also featured Diana Ross and Richard Pryor. The rising pop star reunited with Jones in 1982 with the mega-hit album, Thriller. The title track, along with Beat It, The Girl is Mine, and Billie Jean, would make him an indelible icon of pop culture. The album garnered seven Grammy awards. His unmatchable musical talent was coupled with an intriguing idiosyncratic image that, in later years, overshadowed the singer's own success. But the '80s marked Jackson as a contemporary legend.
Jackson's eccentric persona was perpetuated with the help of his one-gloved hand. In 1993, a mother accused Jackson of molesting her 13-year-old son during a visit. The case was eventually settled out of court for a reported $20 million. Still, America remained enamored with the pop star; a reported 62 million viewers tuned in to his 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. The later years of his career and personal life proved to be a tumultuous affair. The change was perhaps foreshadowed most significantly a year after he married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley. His album, HIStory, released in 1995, failed to become the success it was anticipated to be. His 2001 album, Invincible, which reportedly cost $30 million to produce, would suffer the same fate....
- Lush Life by Samuel L. Peapye