Michael Jackson was a singer-songwriter who, apart from his exceptional talents as a singer and dancer, is also the sales record holder for a single album with "Thriller", an album which has sold over 65 million copies through the world !
Not to mention the 13 Grammy Awards and 26 American Music Awards won and the 13 titles ranked No.1 on the American Billboard Hot 100, a record in this area. The total number of records sold concerning him is estimated at around 350 million copies ! He also holds the supreme title of the first artist to have ranked at least 1 title in the Top10 American singles over 5 different decades.
The eighth child of the Jackson siblings, little Michael will live a troubled childhood, plagued by the angry excesses of a father whose harshness of education often exceeds the limits. A father who will never take into account the multiple discomforts of a child who feels lonely, rejected and particularly bad about himself.
He began his artistic career at the age of 6 by joining the group The Jackson Brothers, a group formed by his father and which already included his brothers Jackie, Tito, Germaine and Marlon. The following year he took the vocal leadership of the group along with his brother Germaine. Year 1965 which also sees the group change its name to be called Jackson 5.
In 1966, the group won a particularly renowned local tele-hook, in particular thanks to the very early dancing talents of little Michael. From 1966 to 1968, they toured mainly in the Midwest, performing in clubs as well as in strip clubs !
They recorded a first single "Big boy" in 1968 but it was especially their time in Motown from 1969 that was to propel them to the height of glory. In particular with titles like "I want you back" in 1969, "ABC", "The love you save" and "I'll be there" in 1970. But the exceptional aptitudes of little Michael are more and more visible and the Motown begins to produce him solo from the year 1972.
The album "Got to be there" was released in 1972, which produced its first global hit with "Rockin’ Robin". Followed by little "Ben", still the same year and who produced the single of the same name as the album, single that will do even stronger than its predecessor.
"Music & me", which he released in 1973, was only relatively successful. More success with "Forever, Michael" which was released in 1975, album produced a major hit with the title "We’re almost there". The artist's solo career is gaining height and global success begins to follow in an impressive fashion.
Even if the artist's solo career grew, he continued the Jacksons 5 adventure, which became The Jacksons after their rather tumultuous departure from Motown in 1975. The group produced six new albums between 1976 and 1984, including 3 titles will be written by Michael himself, namely “Shake your body (Down to the ground)” in 1979, “This place hotel” in 1980 but also, and above all, the enormous “Can you feel it” in 1980, which will become one of the biggest dance hits of the beginning of the decade.
He arrived in New York in 1978 and frequented Studio 54 on a regular basis, where he discovered with a certain interest the new Hip Hop wave, which would greatly influence him in the years to follow. It was also around this time that he broke his nose during a dance rehearsal to a particularly difficult choreography. Minor accident that will change his fate forever because the repair rhinoplasty operation is not a success and the artist will have to suffer the consequences of it until the end of his days.
It is the association with Quincy Jones and especially the release of the album "Off the wall" in 1979 that will radically change the course of events. The album sees young Michael finally become the trusted adult he has been striving to be for years.
The artist's first flagship album, which will sell nearly 20 million copies and which will produce no less than 4 mega planetary hits, the most famous of which will undoubtedly remain "Don't stop 'til you get enough", amazing single that will literally ignite every Dancefloor on the planet at the end of the decade. And to a lesser extent "Rock with you" which comes out shortly after. The singer's notoriety literally exploded globally and he became overnight one of the biggest phenomena of the moment.
Planetary phenomenon which amplified with the release 3 years later in 1982 of the album "Thriller", album of all records. First album in history to place seven singles in the Top10 of the Billboard Hot 100 including 2 legendary hits that are "Billie Jean" and "Beat it" both released in 1983. Not only the artist creates a musical event without previous but he also creates a unique audiovisual event of its kind with the clip which illustrates the title "Thriller", absolutely hallucinating clip of 14 minutes and directed by one of the greatest directors of the moment, namely John Landis. A hyper innovative clip that will radically change mentalities and ways of doing things in this area for decades to come.
Also in the same year, the singer reunites with his brothers for an exceptional show to celebrate 25 years of Motown. The show which takes place in May will be watched by 47 million viewers ! And it is precisely on this occasion that he appears for the first time wearing a black sequined jacket and a golf glove decorated with rhinestones. It was also on this occasion that he performed the Moonwalk for the first time, an incredible dance step that would become a reference in the field and that he had been taught a few years earlier by Jeffrey Daniel, ex dancer of Soul Train and now a member of the Shalamar. The whole planet is stunned by this absolutely incredible performance.
An exceptional year in all respects and which ended in apotheosis with the title "Say say say" which he performed with another music legend who is none other than Paul McCartney. Single which will finish almost N°1 of all Charts on the planet.
In 1984, during the shooting of a commercial for Pepsi in Los Angeles which simulated a concert broadcast in front of a house full of fans, the pyrotechnic special effects did not go at all as expected and set the artist's hair on fire, burning his scalp to the 2nd degree. At the same time, he was operated on for the third time following his broken nose… The only positive point of the year, the track “Somebody's watching me”, which he performed with Rockwell and his brother Germaine, a single that was to become one of the biggest Dance hits of the year.
Along with his artistic activities, he is increasingly involved in humanitarian work and in the fight against the ravages of drugs and alcohol. He also co-wrote in 1985 with Lionel Richie what will become one of the most famous songs of the end of the twentieth century, namely "We are the World", a unique title of its kind intended to raise funds for help the underprivileged, especially in Africa. The song brought together all the gratin of American singers of the time and became a real phenomenon. An exceptional formation that remains to this day one of the greatest Band Aid of all time. The title will sell more than 20 million copies and will collect no less than $ 65 million !
The following years saw the artist's skin color fade more and more and the craziest rumors began to circulate. In truth, Jackson is said to have Vitiligo, a skin disease that causes white spots to appear. But he is also said to be suffering from Lupus, an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks cells in the body. The 2 diseases made the artist ultra sensitive to the sun and the treatments received to cure these diseases are partly responsible for the bleaching in truth. Whitening aggravated by an overdose of make-up to hide the spots related to Vitiligo.
The more the years go by, the more the artist feeds the tabloids. The year 1986 gave way to all the rumors and all the gossip, to the detriment of music production. First comes the case of the Hyperbaric chamber in which he would sleep every night to curb the effects of aging. Followed by the controversy over the purchase of his chimpanzee Bubbles, a purchase that makes him think he is increasingly losing his footing in the face of reality. Then the attempted purchase of the bones of Joseph Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man.
Fortunately, the year 1987 is finally putting the artist back in the spotlight with the release of his new event album "Bad". An album that lives up to expectations and which provides a dazzling response to all the detractors of the artist as to his mental capacities. It’s once again a massive planetary hit, which still cannot be compared to Triller’s, but the album will still sell over 30 million copies.
The album will produce nine singles of which seven are going to be rated extremely high and of the seven rated, five will end up No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100, just that ! The three biggest hits will be “The way you make me feel”, “Dirty Diana” but also, and above all, “Bad” which will reach incredible sales scores. The artist is once again at the height of his form and possibilities. The nine singles extracted will be spread over 3 successive years, 1987, 1988 and 1989 and will all experience remarkable journeys in all the Charts of the planet.
The Bad World Tour that will accompany the release of the album is also mind-blowing, with insane ticket sales figures. With a record for the 7 sold-out concerts planned at Wembley Stadium in London with more than 500,000 spectators expected. In the end, the tour will have 123 concert dates for a total audience of around 4.4 million spectators !!
In 1988, he built his famous Neverland ranch near Los Olivos in California for the tidy sum of $ 17 million. A residence with the excess of his talent where the height of luxury, he built a ferris wheel, a carousel, a mini zoo and a theater. Home watched by 40 security guards !
An excess that he can largely assume given the incredible financial returns linked to the sale of his records, concert tickets and derivative products. Sales hovering around $ 125 million in 1989 alone !
It was also around this time that she was given the nickname The King of Pop, given by Elizabeth Taylor. After 3 totally euphoric years, the artist began a short media and scenic hiatus during the 90s. But it was to better prepare for the future release of his new album "Dangerous".
He will have created the event twice during the 1980s with the release of 2 legendary albums, he set out again almost on the same bases for the 1990s. His new album, which was released in 1991, in turn made an incredible planetary success, just like its predecessors. And from this album, which will also sell nearly 30 million copies, will be extracted the biggest hit of all his discography : "Black or white". Album which will produce no less than 9 ranked singles of which the best ranked will be "Remember the time", "In the closet" and of course, "Black or white". Paradoxically, in the rest of the world, the sumptuous "Heal the world" will sell the best. With 450,000 copies in particular in England alone.
The icing on the cake, the Dangerous World Tour that will follow will last from June 1992 to November 1993 with 70 dates on the clock and 3.5 million spectators registered, another record. There is the Jackson on the stage side but the Jackson on the humanitarian side is still very active in parallel. He formed the Heal The World Foundation in 1992, a foundation where he injected millions of dollars and whose goal is to help children around the world victims of war, poverty and disease.
In January 1993, he created a stir once again by appearing at halftime of the Super Bowl. And unbelievably, it’s going to attract more audiences than the game itself. Always the same year, the rewards are raining, whether on the Grammy Award or American Music Awards. He is even the first to win the "International Artist Award for Excellence" for lifetime achievement and investment in humanitarian causes.
The same year, but this time on the private side, things will start to take a turn for the worse with a first charge of child sexual abuse. Charge laid by the father of one Jordan Chandler, then 13 years old. Even though Jackson categorically refutes the accusations and even though the child's own mother says the singer did not abuse her son, the child's descriptions of the singer's private parts are particularly detailed and precise. Doubt begins to settle in the collective unconscious. The same goes for the police.
Which carried out a search at the singer's home in August and unfortunately found there books and photos of young boys almost or completely naked. In order to cover the case as quickly as possible, Jackson and his lawyers negotiated $ 22 million in damages with the Chandlers in 1994.
A particularly sordid affair that will bring him closer to Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’s daughter, to whom he is married. Who will say that she wants to help and assist her from the bottom of her heart. The Tabloids will favor an arranged marriage in order to calm public opinion. A marriage, however, that will end just 2 years after being celebrated.
The year 1995 finally saw the artist return to his true profession as a singer and thus leave the front page of the news and people sections. New smashing comeback with the album "HIStory : Past, Present and Future, Book I". A double album with a first volume which is in truth a Best of and a second which contains 13 new songs. And once again, the sales figures will make you dizzy : 20 million copies sold worldwide. But since this is a double album, total sales are estimated at 40 million, making this special album the best-selling double album of all time !
The first track extracted "Scream" is a duet with his younger sister Janet. Title settling of scores which speaks of the inhumane treatment of the media towards him during the accusations of sexual abuse. Shortly followed by "You are not alone", an enormous track written by R. Kelly and sung by Jackson, a track which will stay in history as the first single from an artist to go straight to No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 37 years of existence, just that. One more record !
The end of the year saw the artist hospitalized once again after fainting from a panic attack while rehearsing for a TV show. The single "Earth song" was also released at the end of the year, which in turn made a worldwide hit and remains Jackson's best-selling title across the Channel to this day.
New controversy that affected the artist a year later in 1996 when the single "They don’t care about us" was released. The human rights leagues are lashing out at the artist for the allegedly anti-Semitic side of the song's lyrics. Attacks that will force the artist to urgently rewrite the lyrics. This will not prevent the title from being a real hit like its predecessors.
As with the previous albums, the promotional tour that follows (from September 1996 to October 1997) will once again prove to be mind-blowing. 82 concerts for a total of 35 countries involved, 58 cities visited and 4.5 million spectators in the end. With $ 165 million in earnings, a new record for the artist !
New express wedding during the tour with a longtime friend named Deborah Rowe. From this union will be born two children, Michael ‘Prince’ Jackson and Paris Jackson. Marriage which will end, too, two years later in 1999.
In 1997, the artist released a new album of remixed tracks "Blood on the dance floor : HISTory in the mix", which contained remixes of the artist's hits plus 5 new tracks. It will sell 6 million copies, making it the best-selling remix album of all time. New record !
The end of the 90s will be exclusively devoted to 2 projects that are close to his heart : organizing concerts with other stars to raise funds for his humanitarian projects such as refugees in Kossovo, children of Guatemala, the Nelson Mandela foundation, the Red Cross and other UNESCO. And work on the production of his new album.
A following album "Invicible" which took 4 years to be produced, which was released in 2001 and which cost a trifle of $ 30 million. Album which will only sell 10 million copies and which will produce only one mega hit with the title "You rock my world". The "repeat business" affecting the artist took a considerable toll on his sympathy, and the brilliant inspiration he had so far clearly wanes. Added to this is an open conflict with his label Sony Music Entertainment, a conflict that only worsens a professional and personal situation that deteriorates year after year for the artist.
Short-term respite from the worry in 2002 with the birth of her 3rd child Prince Michael II, a child born from artificial insemination and a pregnancy ensured by a surrogate mother. Because the problems returned in 2003 with new accusations of sexual abuse. Which will end with a new dismissal in 2005.
But these new accusations have permanently tarnished the image of the artist and legal problems will follow financial problems. The year 2006 saw the closure of Neverland. At the same time, there are rumors that he has returned to the studio to prepare his new album. Album that will never see the light of day ...
We know the rest, the artist is preparing a shattering comeback in 2009 with a series of concerts announced as extraordinary. But the rehearsals exhaust the artist, who is doping himself to support the workload. A drug overdose that was fatal on June 25 of the same year, when he died of cardiac arrest at the age of just 50.
A death which will come to put an end to the exceptional career of an exceptional artist endowed with exceptional gifts and who will undoubtedly remain as one of the greatest artists of all time. But who will have been, like any genius, simply chronically unable to be happy.
To discover or rediscover.
Discography (among others ...) :
Got to be there 1971
Rockin’ Robin 1972
I wanna be where you are 1972
Ain’t no sunshine 1972
With a child’s heart 1973
We’re almost there 1975
Just a little bit of you 1975
Ease on down the road 1978
Don't stop 'til you get enough 1979
Rock with you 1979
Off the wall 1980
She’s out of my life 1980
One day in your life 1981
The girl is mine 1982
Billie Jean 1983
Beat it 1983
Wanna be startin’ something 1983
Human nature 1983
P.Y.T. (pretty young thing) 1983
Say say say 1983
Farewell my summer love 1984
Somebody’s watching me 1984
Eaten alive 1985
I just can’t stop loving you 1987
The way you make me feel 1987
Get it 1987
Man in the mirror 1988
Dirty Diana 1988
Another part of me 1988
Smooth criminal 1988
Leave me alone 1989
Liberian girl 1989
2300 Jackson Street 1989
Do the Bartman 1990
Black or white 1991
Remember the time 1992
In the closet 1992
Who is it 1992
Heal the world 1992
Give in to me 1993
Will you be there 1993
Gone too soon 1993
You are not alone 1995
Earth song 1995
They don’t care about us 1996
Stranger in Moscow 1996
Blood on the dancefloor 1997
You rock my world 2001
One more chance 2003
Related links Jackson Familly :
Adventure Jackson 5
Adventure Jermaine Jackson
Adventure Janet Jackson
1971 ... the first solo steps of a 13-year-old kid with absolutely extraordinary talents. He has already proven with his brothers what he is capable of but no one yet imagines at this stage the incredible fate that awaits him
1972 ... a luxury cover of Bobby Day's title from 1958 that has energy to spare, to say the least. A little beef with the brothers who works my faith very well...
1972 ... a BIG year 1972 with a plethora of titles and above all a plethora of global hits. A solo career that starts off with a bang !
1972 ... a most astonishing versatility considering the age of young Michael. Nice Intimist foray with this cover of Bill Withers' title from the previous year
1972 ... an aptitude for the Intimist which he confirms in a masterly way with this title. Here he signs his first solo global mega hit. The first of a very, very long series. MA-GIC !
1973 .... the pass of 3 ! He will have chained 3 sumptuous Intimist titles with an ease of the most disconcerting. This young Michael is really extraordinary, it is obvious. May no one yet imagine how much !
1973 ... and here comes the 4th. At this stage, one wonders if he is not in the process of locking himself in a register that risks, in time, isolating him. Considering what is looming on the horizon, no need to worry !
1975 ... a short break in 1974 and a return to Dance mode in 1975. The voice is clearly refined. This unique voice that will become his trademark and make him one of the greatest musical legends of all time !
1975 ... a great year 1975 with a second major title in the wake. The Dance re-orientation is obvious. Normal times change and it's time to adapt
1978 ... a short break of 3 years which allowed him to grow, mature and come back in great shape in 1978. All in a shocking duo mode, but above all charming, with the one who will become one of the most important women in his life
1979 ... then comes THIS title. There is the BEFORE this title and AFTER this title. The young Michael signs here quite simply one of the biggest dance hits of the decade, even of the end of the XXth century period. With in addition a notoriety which literally explodes. The legend is on and nothing, and no one, will be able to stop it from now on. MO-NU-MEN-TAL !
1979 ... planetary mega hits will now follow one another at a truly mind-blowing speed. The rise in power is accelerating exponentially and will produce absolutely amazing titles
1980 ... he has already crossed the 60s, then the 70s and here he is attacking the next. His talent reached heights that few artists before him had reached. A real alien !
1980 ... his musical versatility is truly astounding. So young and already so mature, on the music side of course. Exceptional singing talents, to which will quickly be added exceptional dancing talents. Almost never seen !
1981 ... after 2 totally euphoric years, the next 2 will prove to be much less prolific, and above all much less magical. But it is to better prepare for a sequel that promises to be absolutely huge !
1982 ... when 2 of the biggest names of the moment get together to push the song, we can easily imagine that the result will be up to their respective talent. Which is necessarily the case !
1983 ... he had already touched the stars in 1979 and we thought he would have trouble climbing higher as the performance was exceptional. It was very bad to know him. Here he delivers an even more incredible title, a title which will literally set fire to all the Dancefloor on the planet and make him no longer a star, but a quasi-god. MAS-TER-PIE-CE !
1983 ... and what to say about this one. In 2 titles, he literally atomized the competition and he is now light years ahead of everyone. A staggering talent that no one can match and that literally makes him walk on water. And this is only the beginning !
1983 ... planetary mega hit on planetary mega hit, the recipe is simple. Each song that comes out creates the event and literally fuses all the Dancefloor. Efficiency pushed to a level almost never seen before
1983 ... an extraordinary inspiration that produces mega hit Dance but also beautiful Intimist pieces. A complete artist as rarely humanity will have seen ...
1983 ... the album "Thriller" will produce no less than 7 mega planetary hits, a world record ! The artist is becoming the man of all records !
1983 ... since their first collaboration had worked particularly well, the 2 accomplices put the cover back. And the result is once again up to the task. An old/new generation alchemy that works perfectly !
1983 .... arrived at this stage, we said to ourselves that the genius of the artist had finally reached its limits and that he could not offer better than everything he had done until then. Once again he will succeed in scotching the planet and this time, not only on the musical aspect. Certainly, he signs here one of the biggest dance hits of all time once again. But it is especially the clip which carries the song which is a true revolution all by itself. Directed like a real film, the clip remains to this day a model of the genre and will open a new era in this field. A double feat and above all a new MAS-TER-PIE-CE !
1984 ... after an absolutely stupendous 1983, 1984 will look very pale. A stark contrast to everything that happened the previous year. On the other hand, it was obvious that he could not continue at such a pace ...
1984 ... the good surprise of the year. Of course, he only plays luxury choristers, but this title will make a real worldwide hit and show once again that as soon as young Michael appears, at least sings, everything immediately turns to gold !
1985 ... new duo of shock and charm for the Jackson-Ross pair and my faith, it all works pretty well. Until better ...