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If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.
~ Michael Jackson

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he was one of the most popular entertainers in the world and one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

History

Birth & Early Life

Before you judge me, ask me about my childhood. And I will ask you about yours.
~ Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958, the fifth of Joe and Katherine Jackson's nine children. The house was always filled with music. Jackson's mother taught the children folk and religious songs, to which they sang along. Jackson's father, who worked at a steel mill, had always dreamed of becoming a successful musician. When this failed to happen, he decided to do whatever it took to make successes of his children. He tried to control his children's talents even after they were adults. The struggle for the control of the musical fortunes of the Jackson family was a constant source of abuse and conflict.

Career

The Jackson 5

The Jackson boys soon formed a family band that became a success at talent contests throughout the Midwest. From the age of five Michael's talented dancing and singing made him the focus of the group. The Jacksons' fame and popularity soon began to spread. While performing at the Apollo Theater in New York City's Harlem neighborhood in 1968, Motown recording artist Gladys Knight and pianist Billy Taylor discovered them. Later that year, singer Diana Ross became associated with the boys during a "Soul Weekend" in Gary. With Ross' support, the Jacksons signed a contract with Motown Records. Berry Gordy, the famous head of Motown, took control of the Jacksons' careers.

By 1970 the group, known as the Jackson Five, was topping the charts and riding a wave of popularity with such hits as "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There," and "I Want You Back" each of which sold over one million copies. The group also appeared on talk shows, and a Jackson Five cartoon series was created. Gordy quickly recognized Michael's appeal and released albums featuring him alone. These solo albums sold as well as those of the Jackson Five. The group managed to survive Michael's voice change and a bitter break with Motown Records in 1976, but as the Jackson family they continued to fight with each other and with their own father.

In 1978 Michael Jackson appeared in The Wiz, an African American version of The Wizard of Oz. He sang the only hit from the film's soundtrack album "Ease On Down the Road" in a duet with the star, Diana Ross. His success as the Scarecrow was a preview of what was to come in his music videos, for Jackson seemed to care.

Media

While working on The Wiz, Jackson met producer Quincy Jones. They worked together on Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall, which sold ten million copies and earned critical praise. In 1982 Jackson and Jones again joined forces on the Thriller album. Thriller fully established Jackson as a solo performer, and his hit songs from the album "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Thriller" made him the major pop star of the early 1980s. The success of Thriller (with forty million copies sold, it remains one of the best-selling albums of all time) and the videos of its songs also helped Jackson break the color barrier imposed by radio stations and the powerful music video channel MTV. By 1983 Jackson was the single most popular entertainer in America.

Pepsi Commercial incident

On January 27, 1984, Michael Jackson's hair catches fire during rehearsal for a Pepsi commercial. Jackson suffered serious burns when pyrotechnics ignited his hair, leaving him reliant on painkillers.

Aftermath

In 1985 Jackson reunited with Quincy Jones for USA for Africa's "We Are the World," which raised funds for the poor in Africa. Jackson's next two albums, Bad (1987) and Dangerous (1991), were not as hugely successful as Thriller, but Jackson remained in the spotlight throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s. In 1992 he founded "Heal the World" to aid children and the environment. In 1993 he was presented with the "Living Legend Award" at the Grammy Awards ceremony and with the Humanitarian (one who promotes human welfare) of the Year trophy at the Soul Train awards.

Neverland Ranch

Michael bought Sycamore Valley Ranch and renamed it Neverland Ranch where he can be a child forever. He named it after his favorite Disney movie Peter Pan. Its 3000 acres contain sacred Native American sites, and once had whimsical signs, statues, fountains, vintage vehicles, a train, and flower gardens.Jackson generously shared Neverland's magical setting with underprivileged and seriously ill children, who were invited with their families by the busload to enjoy the amusement park even when he was away.

For years, thousands passed through the gates to experience joy. That all ended when one family of known grifters tried to cash in by accusing Jackson of child molestation. A corrupt local prosecutor couldn't convince a jury that Jackson was guilty of anything other than too much generosity and faith in people. The media circus was like a lynch mob after ratings, not Truth. Despite his complete exoneration during the famous trial in 2005, Jackson abandoned Neverland. Since Jackson's death in 2009, the rides have long since been removed from the property, which is for sale.

Child molestation allegations

In mid-1993, Evan Chandler accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing his 13-year-old son, Jordan "Jordy" Chandler. The relationship between Jackson and Jordan had begun in May 1992; Chandler initially encouraged the friendship. The friendship became well known as the tabloid media reported that Jackson had become a member of the Chandler family. In 1993, Chandler confronted his ex-wife June, who had custody of Jordan, with suspicions that their son had been in an inappropriate relationship with Jackson, but June dismissed his worries. Chandler threatened to go public with the evidence he claimed to have.

Jackson asked his lawyer Bert Fields to intervene. On July 15, Abrams, a psychologist, sent Chandler's attorney Barry Rothman a letter stating there was "reasonable suspicion" of sexual abuse. He wrote that if it had been a real case, he would be required by law to contact the Los Angeles County Department of Children's Services. On August 4, Chandler and Jordan met with Jackson and Anthony Pellicano, Jackson's private investigator, and Chandler read out Abrams' letter. He then opened negotiations to resolve the issue with a financial settlement. Chandler and Rothman had rejected a $350,000 offer from Jackson. On August 16, June's attorney notified Rothman that he would file papers to force Chandler to return Jordan to allow him to go on Jackson's Dangerous World Tour.

On the day Jackson began the third leg of his tour, news of the allegations broke to the public and received worldwide media attention. Jackson cancelled the remainder of the tour due to health problems arising from the scandal. In January 1994, Jackson reached a financial settlement for $23,000,000 with the Chandlers and in September a criminal investigation was closed. In 2005, Michael was acquitted of all charges.

Raising children

In February 1997, Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe had Michael Joseph "Prince" Jackson Jr.. Then on April 1998, they had Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. In February 2002, Michael had Prince Michael Jackson II a.k.a Blanket Jackson from an unknown surrogate mother.

Death

In 2009, while preparing for his comeback concert series, This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine overdose, after suffering from cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and incarcerated in 2011. Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief, and a live broadcast of his public memorial service was viewed around the world.

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