Michael Joseph Jackson, the seventh born of Joe and Katherine Jackson, was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. At the age of 5 years, he started performing alongside his older brothers in a music group that was coached by their father. The group was signed by Motown Records in 1968 and called itself the Jackson 5, with Michael Jackson emerging as the lead star because of his remarkable showmanship.
In 1969, the Jackson 5 released their first album, which featured the hit song “I Want You Back.” The group became an immediate success due to its brand of pop-soul-R&B music and even starred in their own TV cartoon series, in the early 1970s.
In 1972, Michael Jackson released his first solo album titled “Got to Be There,” while he continued to sing with his siblings. Later, in 1978, Michael hit the big screens as the Scarecrow in Quincy Jones’ The Wiz. Mike prolonged his relationship with Jones, and the duo produced two albums that have withstood the test of time: Off the Wall in 1979, and Thriller in 1982.
Thriller sold 50 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling studio album. In fact, the iconic album has been acknowledged for jump-starting the era of music videos and contributing majorly to the rise of MTV, a cable TV network that was established in 1981.
In 1983, Mike, again, took the world by storm after he performed his signature Moonwalk dance while wearing a black outfit and one white glove that was reported to be covered with rhinestones. Mike had created a general feeling of excitement and heightened interest on the live Motown anniversary.
The performance was Michael Jacksons “unofficial coronation as the King of Pop. Within months, he changed the way people would hear and see pop music, unleashing an influence that rivaled that of Elvis Presley and the Beatles.” Those were the words of Los Angeles Times critic, Robert Hillburn.
Mike then proceeded to release Bad in 1987, and it was received with the same excitement as his previous albums. By the 90s, Michael Jackson was a constant figure in the tabloids and made headlines around the globe. Later, Jackson was severely censured, by critics, over his altered physical appearance. The media alleged that the pop star had a liking for plastic surgeries, in part, because of an accident he had suffered in 1984.
On June 25, 2009, Mike, who had mostly kept away from the public, was found unconscious in his Los Angeles mansion. According to his brother, Jermaine Jackson, paramedics took him to UCLA Medical Center where physicians tried resuscitating him, but he was pronounced dead at around 2:26 p.m. Pacific Time. One of the most celebrated and controversial singers has passed on at age 50. The coroner’s officer later confirmed that the star’s death was not a homicide.
Mike, who had become an addict to prescription painkillers, died after suffering from a cardiac arrest that resulted from a deadly combination of drugs given to him by his personal physician. Mike’s own doctor had been giving him the powerful sedative propofol as a sleep aid for around two weeks. It was later reported that Mike’s system had extremely high levels of propofol, as well as other drugs.