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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 (45:17)
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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Jackson's Grammy victories showcased the diverse nature of his work. For his songwriting talents, he earned a Grammy Award (best rhythm and blues song) for "Billie Jean." He also won Grammys for the singles "Thriller" (best pop vocal performance, male) and "Beat It" (best rock vocal performance, male). With co-producer Quincy Jones,
Jackson shared a Grammy for album of the year.
Jackson also broke numerous records as an artist. He earned several Guinness World Records titles, including achieving the longest span of U.S. Top 40 singles—from November 6, 1971, to January 1, 2011. He won a total of 13 Grammy Awards—eight of them in one night in 1984—and was the first artist to have five singles reach No. 1 from the same album (1987's Bad). He was also a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, for both his work with the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist.
At the top of his game creatively and commercially, Michael Jackson signed a $5 million endorsement deal with Pepsi-Cola around this time. He, however, was badly injured while filming a commercial for the soda giant in 1984, suffering burns to his face and scalp. Jackson had surgery to repair his injuries, and is believed to have begun experimenting with plastic surgery around this time. His face, especially his nose, would become dramatically altered in the coming years.
That same year, Jackson embarked on his final tour with the Jacksons to the support the album Victory. The one major hit from the recording was Michael Jackson's duet with Mick Jagger, "State of Shock." In 1985, Jackson showed his altruistic side, co-writing and singing on "We Are the World," a charity single for USA for Africa. A veritable who's who of music stars participated in the project including Lionel Ritchie, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen and Tina Turner.
Releasing his follow-up to Thriller in 1987, Jackson reached the top of the charts with Bad. It featured five No. 1 hits, including "Man in the Mirror," "The Way You Make Me Feel" and the title track, which was supported by a video directed by Martin Scorsese. Jackson spent more than a year on the road, playing concerts to promote the album. While successful, Bad was unable to duplicate the phenomenal sales of Thriller.
Raised as a Jehovah's Witness, Jackson was a shy and quiet person off-stage. He was never truly comfortable with the media attention he received and rarely gave interviews. By the late 1980s, Jackson had created his own fantasy retreat—a California ranch called Neverland. There he kept exotic pets, such as a chimpanzee named Bubbles, and had his own amusement rides. To some, it seemed that Jackson perhaps was exploring a second childhood. He sometimes opened up the ranch for children's events. Rumors swirled around him, including that he was lightening the color of his skin to appear more white and slept in a special chamber to increase his life span.
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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: