Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's story is truly incomparable. For some, the King of Pop's accomplishments were exceptional. His career started when he was 6 years old and lasted over four decades. He produced 10 albums, one of which remains the best-selling album of all time, and four others rank among the world's best-selling albums. He was a pioneer as a performer, being credited with popularizing a number of dance moves, like the Moonwalk and the Robot. His arena tours pushed the boundaries of live performances. His music videos made him the first artist of color to be featured on MTV. His business purchases included the publishing rights to most of the Beatles' catalog. Conversely, he donated to a number of charities and worked extensively to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And then there are his numbers: 12 music halls of fame, 15 Grammy Awards, 17 No. 1 singles in the U.S., and an estimated 780 million-plus records sold worldwide.

For others, the King of Pop's life represented the destructive aspects of celebrity. As a child performer with his brothers in the Jackson Five, he came of age trying to balance the spotlight and the abuse of his father. Even in the early throes of his success as a solo artist, his changing physical appearance attracted gossip. His development of Neverland Ranch was viewed by some as the artist's distancing from reality. Throughout the '90s his reputation took more blows when he was charged with child sexual abuse, got married then divorced, and was accused by the Anti-Defamation League for anti-Semitic lyrics. In the '00s Jackson made a less-than-amicable departure from his label Sony, which resulted in a scrapped marketing push for what would be his last album of original material. His decades-long addiction to pain-killers and increasing financial problems also continued. And he was charged again with sexually abusing a child. The close of the decade promised a return-to-form as he announced ten shows in London, which was quickly expanded to 50 shows to meet the overwhelming demand. However, less than a month before the first show, Jackson died of cardiac arrest in a rented mansion in Los Angeles.

However, for most, the details of the Kind of Pop's actions pale in comparison to the highlights of his career. Jackson set artistic and professional standards for countless popular music and stars and artists. And for that his story will continue to be heralded for years to come. ~Dan Nishimoto


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