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Singer-songwriter Michael Jackson's award-winning career as the King of Pop transformed the face of pop music and popular culture. He released the best-selling album in history, Thriller, in 1982. He died unexpectedly in 2009.
The Jackson 5 - Full Biography (45:19)
The Jackson 5 - On Tour (1:38)
The Jackson 5 - Discovery (1:30)
In 1969, five young brothers from Gary, Indiana stepped out into the spotlight and changed the music world forever. Through Berry Gordy's Motown, The Jackson 5 recorded some of the most recognizable tunes in pop music history.
Michael Jackson and his brothers lived their childhoods on the road and toured in a volkswagon bus.
From the very beginning, no young star was as talented or passionate as Michael Jackson.
Smokey Robinson recalls how Michael Jackson and his brothers were discovered by Motown.
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Dubbed the "King of Pop," singer-songwriter Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, on August 29, 1958. As a child, he performed as the lead singer of the Jackson family's popular Motown group,
the Jackson 5. Jackson went on to become one of the most internationally famous award-winning solo pop sensations to date. Jackson's 2009 death stirred controversy and was ultimately ruled a homicide. Dr. Conrad Murray, who had been caring for the pop star at the time of his death, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on November 7, 2011, later receiving a four-year prison sentence.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, to an African-American working-class family. His father, Joseph Jackson, had been a guitarist but had put aside his musical aspirations to provide for his family as a crane operator. Believing his sons had talent, he molded them into a musical group in the early 1960s. At first, the Jackson Family performers consisted of Michael's older brothers, Tito, Jermaine and Jackie. Michael joined his siblings when he was 5 years old, and emerged as the group's lead vocalist. He showed remarkable range and depth for such a young performer, impressing audiences with his ability to convey complex emotions. Older brother Marlon also became a member of the group, which evolved into the Jackson 5.
Behind the scenes, Joseph Jackson pushed his sons to succeed. He was also reportedly known to become violent with them. Michael and his brothers spent endless hours rehearsing and polishing up their act. At first, the Jackson 5 played local gigs and built a strong following. They recorded one single on their own, "Big Boy" with the b-side "You've Changed," but it failed to generate much interest.
The Jackson 5 moved on to working an opening act for such R&B artists as Gladys Knight and the Pips, James Brown, and Sam and Dave. Many of these performers were signed to the legendary Motown record label, and it has been reported that Gladys Knight may have been the one to tell Motown founder Berry Gordy about the Jackson 5. Impressed by the group, Gordy signed them to his label in 1968.
Relocating to Los Angeles, Michael and his brothers started work on their music and dancing with their father as their manager. They lived with Gordy and also with Supremes singer Diana Ross when they first arrived there. In August 1969, the Jackson 5 was introduced to the music industry at a special event, and later served as the opening act for the Supremes. Their first album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, hit the charts in December of that year. It's first single, "I Want You Back," hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1970. More chart-topping singles quickly followed, such as "ABC," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There."
At the age of 13, Jackson launched a solo career in addition to his work with the Jackson 5. He made the charts in 1971 with "Got to Be There" from the album of the same name.
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Many African-Americans made their name performing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, including Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix. The roster of talented artists who made their careers after a successful amateur night at the Apollo grew so large, that the venue earned a reputation as the place to jump-start the career of an ambitious hopeful. Other performers, like Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, came to the theater after experiencing big professional success, adding further credibility to the historic New York concert hall. Explore the biographies of some of the more notable African-Americans who stepped out onto the Apollo stage, making entertainment history.
Apollo Legends 25 people in this group
Celebrity Bookings 31 people in this group
What is it with celebrities and sex scandals? Like love and marriage, famous people and sex scandals just seem to go hand in hand. They're some of society's most powerful people, but these actors, politicians, athletes and musicians just can't seem to control their desires. These days it seems like if you open the closet of nearly any celebrity, some kind of (sexy) skeleton is sure to fall out. Here are the famous people who have had their naughty indiscretions—often plastered all over the front page of the newspaper.
Famous People Involved in Sex Scandals 105 people in this group
Learn more about the lives of African-Americans who have made extraordinary achievements in their fields, with our collection of Black History Groups.
Explore our curated collections of African-American figures, including: