His last evening was spent on stage. There were no fans, but there was music and there was dancing. Michael Jackson was rehearsing for his upcoming 50 concerts in London, set to begin on July 13, 2009, in the Staples Center on the Wednesday night before his death and had mentioned on several occasions that this tour really was it for him.
Born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Illinois, Jackson was the seventh of nine children. He showed musical talent at an early age, performing as early as five in school recitals. There have been multiple accounts of an abusive childhood, from father â€œJoeâ€ Jackson, as Jackson and his brothers grew up. By age eight, Jackson and his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon had formed the musical group the Jackson Brothers, soon to be renamed the Jackson 5 when Jermaine and Jackson took on lead vocals. Under the strict scrutiny of Joe, the group toured the Midwest before landing a record deal with Steeltown in 1967, quickly followed by their signing with Motown the following year.
Jackson, along with his brothers, had their first number one hits with the initial four singles from their record â€“ â€œI Want You Back,â€ â€œABC,â€ â€œThe Love You Save,â€ and â€œIâ€™ll Be There.â€ Motown claimed at the time that Jackson was only nine years old in order to stir additional public attention to the group. Due to the lack of creative input allowed by the record company, in 1975, the Jackson 5 left Motown.
With their new contract with CBS/Epic Records, Jackson took on the majority of the songwriting for the groupâ€™s six albums released through 1984. After Jacksonâ€™s starring role in The Wiz, he developed an artistic relationship with Quincy Jones that would later benefit his career. Jones produced Off The Wall for Jackson, the first album with ten number one hits.
Off the Wall was followed up by Thriller. The title music video is said to be one of the most influential music videos of all time (here). Seven of singles were in the Billboard top 10, including â€œBillie Jeanâ€ and â€œBeat It.â€ 1983 also saw Jacksonâ€™s premiere of the moonwalk in the â€œBillie Jeanâ€ music video.
In May of 1984, Ronald Reagan invited Jackson to the White House to receive an award for his philanthropic work after he donated his $5 million dollar share from his tour in support of Thriller to charities that help people overcome alcohol and drug abuse. Jacksonâ€™s charity work continued throughout the rest of the career, followed immediately by the single, â€œWe Are the World,â€ co-written by Lionel Richie, to aid the poor in Africa and the U.S.
Jackson also developed a relationship with Paul McCartney after working with him on the singles, â€œThe Girl Is Mineâ€ and â€œSay Say Say,â€ where he learned about the lucrative nature of owning music catalogues. Soon after he purchased the Beatles catalogue from 1963-1973.
Jackson starred in the 3-D film Captain EO in 1986, which was shown in the Epcot and Disneyland until 1994 and 1997, respectively. He also had pet chimpanzee, named Bubbles. In the mid-1980s, Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo and lupus, the second was in remission. The result of the diseases, specifically the vitiligo, caused Jacksonâ€™s skin pigment to lighten from medium-brown to much paler throughout the remainder of his life.
Bad was the 1987 follow up to Thriller, and although it did not reach the same commercial success, but still had seven hit singles. In 1989, he was dubbed the â€œKing of Popâ€ by Elizabeth Taylor and received the White Houseâ€™s â€œArtist of the Decadeâ€ from President George H. W. Bush. â€œBlack or Whiteâ€ and â€œRemember the Timeâ€ topped the charts from Jacksonâ€™s 1991 album Dangerous and all the tour profits went to the â€œHeal the World Foundationâ€. Jacksonâ€™s memorable performance at the 27th Super Bowl is one of the most acclaimed of all time and was awarded the Grammyâ€™s â€œLiving Legend Awardâ€ the same year.
HIStory was the only other album Jackson released during the 90â€™s, followed by 2001â€™s Invincible.
In 1994, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, but they divorced less than two years later. His second marriage was to Deborah Rowe, with whom he had two children â€“ Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (â€œPrinceâ€) and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. After their divorce in 1999, Jackson received full custody of both children. In 2002, Jackson celebrated the birth of his third child, Prince Michael Jackson II (â€œBlanketâ€), through an unidentified surrogate. Jackson experienced financial troubles during his remaining years, in addition to multiple court appearances based on various allegations, in the new century and had recently announced a 50-date concert stint in London, entitled â€œThis Is It.â€ On June 25, 2009, at the age of 50, Jackson collapsed in his mansion in Los Angeles. His personal physician attempted to resuscitate him at his home, and efforts continued during his transfer to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and for about an hour after he arrived at the hospital. Jackson was pronounced dead at about 2:25pm PST. Internet traffic was brought almost to standstill worldwide as people rushed to their computers for the latest news.
Michael Jackson was an American and global musical icon and the influence of his works are yet to be determined, but will definitely rank among Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Despite any personal drama or accusations, Jackson deserves to be remembered for his contribution to the world of music and his charitable work. He worked tirelessly to help others less fortunate than himself and is one of the top selling artists of all time. He was the King of Pop and â€œThis Is It.â€http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4612963.stm, http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-jackson-obit26-2009jun26,0,1970798.story, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/arts/music/26jackson.html?_r=1