Michael Jackson

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For other people with the same name, see Michael Jackson (disambiguation)

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Michael Joseph Jackson (born August 29 1958 [1] in Gary, Indiana), is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, choreographer, actor, and philanthropist, who is known by his fans as the "King of Pop", or by media as "Wacko Jacko".

He began his career at the age of 11 as lead singer of the Motown produced act The Jackson 5 (later "The Jacksons") in the 1960s, and made his first solo recordings in 1971 as part of the Jackson 5 franchise. Jackson began a full-fledged solo career in 1979 and formally parted with his siblings in 1987. He has since become the biggest selling solo artist of all-time, with worldwide sales of over 300 million.[2],[3],[4]

His 1982 album Thriller, holds the title of the best-selling album in history, having sold over 60 million copies worldwide. [5]. Jackson has had thirteen number-one Billboard Hot 100 solo hits, including "Ben", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", "Rock With You", "Billie Jean", "Beat It", "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Black or White", as well as an additional four with The Jackson 5. He has been awarded numerous honors including the Artist of The Century/Millenium Award for his incomparable career[6],[7],[8] . His distinctive voice, dance moves, world spectacle music videos, and pop appeal have inspired and influenced many of today's singers, such as Usher, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake,Omarion, and Ginuwine among others.

Michael Jackson has worked as a record producer and song-writer for other popular groups and artists including Blackstreet, 3T, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Tresvant, Diana Ross, Greg Phillinganes, Jennifer Holliday, Johnny Mathis, Carole Bayer Sager, and Jermaine, LaToya and Rebbie Jackson.

In 2003, Jackson was dogged by the mass media over allegations of child sexual abuse, resulting in a trial and acquittal in 2005.


Early years

Childhood: 1958-1961

Jackson was born the seventh of nine children in Gary, Indiana to Joseph and Katherine Jackson. The entire family, including older siblings Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, LaToya, and Marlon (whose twin brother Brandon died shortly after birth), and younger siblings Randy and Janet, lived together in a small two-bedroom house, while Joseph worked in a steel mill. At the behest of their mother, but against Joseph's wishes, the Jackson children were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses and practiced door-to-door evangelism Template:Fact.

According to the J. Randy Taraborrelli book, "Michael Jackson, The Magic and The Madness", The Jackson siblings also have a half-sister named Joh Vonnie (b. 30th August 1974). Template:Fact

In accordance with Joseph Jackson's strict rules, the children were kept locked in their house while he worked the night shift. However, the children would regularly sneak out of the house, venturing to their neighbors' homes, where they practiced singing and playing music. The older Jackson brothers would sometimes play Joseph's prized guitar without his permission while he was at work. Eventually, Tito broke a string. Joseph found out, and after a severe punishment was given to Tito, Joseph ordered him to play the guitar for him. He did, and Michael's older brothers sang and danced, and thus, Joseph discovered their musical abilities and decided to capitalize upon it in order to leave Gary for California. Template:Fact

Beginnings: 1962-1966

The Jackson 5 in concert.

Template:Mainarticle Joseph organized Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and two unrelated neighborhood youths, Milford Hite (on drums) and Reynaud Jones (on keyboards) as an act called The Jackson Brothers in 1962. Within two years, Michael and his older brother Marlon began playing congas and tambourine, respectively, with The Jackson Brothers, before the group's name was changed to The Jackson Five (later the Jackson 5) in 1966 and by the next year, eight-year-old Michael was appointed lead singer. Template:Fact

The Jackson 5: 1967-1974

With Michael on lead vocals, the Jackson 5 built up a following by playing at clubs and bars. The Jackson 5 signed their first recording contract with the local Steeltown label in 1967. Template:Fact

The Jackson 5 were discovered by Gladys Knight and Bobby Taylor, who brought them to Motown Records in 1968. Label head Berry Gordy bought out the Jackson 5's Steeltown contract and signed the group to Motown in March 1969. Gordy then moved the Jackson family to Los Angeles, California, and proceeded to turn them into international stars. In the fall of 1969, The Jackson 5 were presented to the public by Diana Ross, and were officially launched as the next big Motown act.

The cover to Michael Jackson's first solo LP, 1971's Got to Be There.

The group's first four singles, "I Want You Back" from 1969, and "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There" from 1970, all became number-one hits in the United States. Later hits included "Mama's Pearl " and " Never Can Say Goodbye" 1971, "Looking Through the Windows" 1972, "Get It Together" 1973 and "Dancing Machine" 1974. The Jackson 5 recorded fourteen albums for Motown, and Michael, Jermaine, and Jackie all recorded solo albums. Michael released four solo albums while at Motown, spawning the hits "Got to Be There", "Rockin' Robin", "I Wanna Be Where You Are", and the number-one hit "Ben", among others. Most of the Jackson 5 hits were produced by either The Corporation™ – a collective of songwriters and record producers including Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonzo Mizell, and Deke Richards – or by Motown songwriter/producer Hal Davis.

The Jacksons: 1975-1990

In 1975, the Jackson brothers signed a new contract with CBS Records, first joining the Philadelphia International division and later moving over to Epic Records. The new deal with CBS provided larger royalties and creative freedom that the Jackson 5 were not allowed at Motown. Upon learning that the Jackson 5 had signed a contract with another label, Motown sued the group for breach of contract; as a result, they lost the rights to use the "Jackson 5" name and logo. Additionally Jermaine, who had married Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel, opted to remain at Motown for a full-time solo career. Now known as "The Jacksons", and featuring youngest Jackson brother Randy in Jermaine's place, the brothers continued their successful career, touring internationally and releasing six albums between 1976 and 1984. Hits during this period included "Enjoy Yourself" and "Show You The Way To Go" in 1976, "Blame It On The Boogie" in 1977, "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" in 1978, and "Can You Feel It" and "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1980. The Jacksons would continue to record together well into the 1980s, even bringing Jermaine back into the fold for their 1984 Victory album and tour. By the end of the decade, Michael and Marlon were no longer members of The Jacksons, and the group disbanded in 1990.

Solo career

The original album cover to 1979's Off the Wall. A later cover features a shot of Jackson's legs.

Off The Wall: 1978-1980

In 1978, Michael appeared in The Wiz as the Scarecrow, with former labelmate Diana Ross as Dorothy. The musical film's songs were arranged and produced by famed producer Quincy Jones, who found a rapport with Jackson. After Jackson signed a solo contract with Epic in 1978, he began work on his first of several albums with Jones.

Michael Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall was a worldwide hit, and spawned the number-one hit singles and music videos "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock With You". The ballad "She's Out of My Life" and the album's title track also reached the top ten in 1980. With that accomplishment, Jackson became the first solo artist to have four Top Ten hit singles in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart from a single album. The album went on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide, establishing Jackson as a musical force without his brothers.

Thriller: 1982-1985

In the 1980s, Jackson released a progression of solo albums of slickly-produced synthesizer-heavy pop. In what was perhaps the "Golden Age" of the music video, some of Jackson's videos were virtually short films with detailed plots, special effects, and featuring Jackson's distinctive dance style.

The original album cover to 1982's Thriller. The special edition cover features Jackson holding a tiger cub.

Michael Jackson's 1982 album Thriller produced seven top-ten hit singles, broke sales records, and became the best-selling album in music history. The "Billie Jean" music video, released to promote Thriller, became the first video by a black artist to gain regular airplay on MTV. The fourteen-minute "Thriller" music video became the world's best-selling home video at the time (packaged with the featurette The Making of Michael Jackson's "Thriller"). The album's third major single, "Beat It", was another #1 pop hit in the U.S., accompanied by a popular West Side Story-inspired music video. The videos for "Billie Jean", "Thriller" and "Beat It" frequently place highly on MTV and VH1 countdowns of notable classic videos, and receive airplay on MTV2 to this day.

While performing "Billie Jean" during the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever special on television on May 16, 1983, Jackson publicly performed his moonwalk dance for the first time. In January 1984, at the American Music Awards, Jackson was nominated for nine awards, and won a record eight. At the Grammy Awards in February, Jackson was nominated for twelve awards, and won a record-breaking eight: seven for Thriller and one for his narrative on The E.T. Storybook. In May, Thriller was certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the best selling popular music album of all time. The same year, he was also awarded the H. Claude Hodson Medal of Freedom at the NAACP Image Awards, honored at the White House by President Ronald Reagan with the Presidential Special Achievement Award, and was awarded a star in November on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. By 2005, Thriller had been certified twenty-seven times platinum in the U.S.

Jackson became a spokesman for Pepsi at the height of Thriller's popularity. On January 27, 1984, while singing "Billie Jean" during a Pepsi commercial shoot in Los Angeles, Jackson's hair caught on fire when a fireworks display erupted behind him, showering him in sparks. He received hospital treatment for second-degree burns to his scalp. Template:Fact

After Paul McCartney appeared in the song "The Girl is Mine" on 1982's Thriller, McCartney's solo album Pipes of Peace featured two McCartney/Jackson duets, "Say Say Say" (US #1, UK #2) and "The Man". Any hopes of further collaboration were seemingly ended by their subsequent estrangement stemming from Jackson's purchase of Northern Songs/ATV Music and The Beatles' publishing catalogue (See 'Finances' section).

Inspired by the musical charity group Band Aid, Michael Jackson was instrumental in organizing the recording of the single "We Are the World", which he co-wrote with former Motown labelmate, Lionel Richie. The single was released in 1985 to raise money for USA for Africa, a charity working to raise awareness about and give aid to impoverished families in Africa. "We Are the World" featured forty-four different vocalists, including Jackson, Ritchie, Harry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) and Stevie Wonder, and sold eight million copies in the United States, becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Bad: 1986-1990

In his prime, Michael Jackson was regarded as a master live performer.

In 1986, Jackson starred in the George Lucas/Francis Ford Coppola 3-D film Captain Eo, which was shown in Disney theme parks until 1998. Minute for minute, it was the most expensive film ever produced at the time, with an estimated total production cost of US$17 million. The film contained the songs "We Are Here to Change the World" and "Another Part of Me".

In 1987, Jackson released the album Bad, which sold over 30 million copies and became the second-best-selling album of all time (behind Thriller). Its first five singles ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror", and "Dirty Diana") provided Jackson with another string of hits, and made him the first artist to generate five number-one singles off of one album. The other three singles, "Another Part Of Me", "Smooth Criminal", and "Leave Me Alone" kept Jackson on the charts throughout 1988 and the beginning of 1989 as he embarked on his first solo world tour.

The Bad World Tour spanned the globe with stops in 15 countries on 4 continents, and included 123 concerts to about 4.4 million fans. This tour became the highest grossing concert tour ever, grossing over USD 125 million. Jackson would later beat this record with the Dangerous World Tour, and again with the HIStory World Tour.

In 1989, the ninth and final single from Bad was released, "Liberian Girl". After enjoying the success of Bad and the Bad World Tour, Jackson wrote an autobiography titled Moon Walk, about his life and career up to that point. He also made a feature film/music video titled Moonwalker, and Sega released a video game with the same title.

The following year, The Simpsons released an album called "The Simpsons Sing the Blues". Jackson wrote and produced the song "Do the Bartman" (under the pseudonym John Jay Smith), which was featured on the album.

Dangerous: 1991-1993

Jackson was awarded a new record-breaking US$890 million contract by Sony in March, 1991, and released his first album under the new contract, Dangerous, that November. Beginning with this album, Jackson ended his association with Quincy Jones, and enlisted new producers such as new jack swing inventor Teddy Riley for his records. While in the U.S., sales for the album reached seven million, internationally Dangerous eclipsed Bad as the second best-selling album of Jackson's career, selling over 32 million albums. The major hits included "Black or White", "Remember the Time", "Heal the World", and "Will You Be There".

File:Michael jackson-dangerous a.jpg
The cover to the 1991 album Dangerous

As was becoming the standard for Jackson, the album's music videos were among the most costly and innovative of their time. "Give in to Me" featured Slash from Guns n' Roses in its video. The video was shot a few days before the Dangerous Tour started, in Munich in 1992. The directors were the Austrian duo Rossacher and Dolezal who shot many, if not all, of the videos and specials for Freddie Mercury and Queen. The video for "Heal the World" featured children and adults from throughout the world, in order to correspond to Jackson's charity of the same name. "Will You Be There"'s video showed Jackson singing in front of scenes from Free Willy, for which "Will You Be There" served as the theme song. Several of the other videos had complex storylines and dance sequences, and featured cameo appearances by celebrities. The video for "Jam", directed by David Kellogg, showed Jackson and Michael Jordan playing basketball and dancing together, while "Remember the Time" was set in an ancient Egyptian palace, and starred Eddie Murphy and Iman as the pharaoh and his queen. Also, it featured a cameo by basketball legend Magic Johnson. "In the Closet" featured Jackson and model Naomi Campbell as lovers. The director of the video was photographer Herb Ritts, who also photographed Jackson in a series of promotional shots for the release of the Dangerous album.

"Black or White" probably remains Dangerous's most aired and most remembered video today. Originally over ten minutes long, the world première of the video clip took place on November 14, 1991, and was broadcast simultaneously in 27 countries with an estimated audience of 500 million people. It was the largest audience ever to view a music video![[9]].The video is technically noteworthy for featuring one of the earliest examples of computer-generated morphing. The last four minutes of the video also induced much controversy, as it depicted a crotch-grabbing Jackson smashing store windows and destroying a car with a crowbar. MTV and the other music video networks decided to excise the last four minutes of the "Black or White" video for all subsequent airings, and Jackson issued a statement apologizing to anyone who had been offended, and explaining that he tried to imitate a panther's wild instincts. The video featured Macaulay Culkin and was directed by John Landis, the director of the "Thriller" short film.

On November 20, 1991, a group of armed men stole 30,000 copies of Dangerous from a terminal at Los Angeles Airport. Template:Fact

HIStory / Blood On The Dance Floor: 1995-1999

The cover of the HIStory compilation.

In 1995, Epic released Jackson's HIStory: Past, Present And Future - Book 1, a double-disc album. The first disc, HIStory Begins, was a fifteen-track greatest hits album, while the second, HIStory Continues, contained fifteen new songs. The newer songs found help from producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, sister Janet, Dallas Austin, Bill Bottrell, R. Kelly and Jackson himself. The double disc album has sold over 20 million copies to date and still remains the biggest selling multiple-disc album of all-time.

HIStory was the first album where Jackson showcased his instrumental abilities, playing keyboard and synthesizer, guitar, drums and percussion on the album. HIStory produced two major hit singles and videos in America. "Scream", a duet with Jackson's pop star sister Janet, was supported by a futuristic music video which remains, at a cost of $7 million, the most expensive music video ever filmed. Thanks to a change in Billboard's chart policy, the R. Kelly-produced "You Are Not Alone" became the first song to ever debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album's third single, "They Don't Care About Us", peaked at #30 on the Hot 100 and #10 on the Billboard R&B charts. The original video for "They Don't Care About Us" was banned in some countries due to its offensive content. It is also known as the Prison Version. A second video was filmed in its place in Brazil. Other songs such as "Stranger in Moscow" found better success in Europe. "Earth Song" beat The Beatles' "Free As A Bird" to the UK christmas #1 spot in 1995, and is Jackson's highest selling solo single to date.

In 2001, HIStory Greatest Hits - Disc 1 was re-released on its own as a greatest hits album. By December 2005 it had confirmed 500,000 sales in the United States.

In 1997, the members of The Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Michael Jackson would be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a solo performer in 2001.

The same year, Jackson released an album of remixes of hit singles from the "HIStory" album titled Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix. Jackson also recorded five original songs which were put on the album ("Blood On The Dancefloor", "Is It Scary?", "Ghosts", "Superfly Sister" and "Morphine"). Of the new songs, three were released globally, including the title track which peaked at #42 in the US but reached #1 in the UK; the album was largely ignored on the \US charts. "Ghosts", a song later based on the mini-movie Jackson starred in that year; and "Is It Scary?". The album went on to sell over seven million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling remix album of all time.

Michael Jackson's HIStory Tour became the highest grossing concert tour ever, about 4.5 million people were present to it.[10]

Michael Jackson was announced the 'Most Famous Person in the World' in 1997 after a world wide survey calculated that 99% of the planet knew who he was and/or something about him. He was followed by Pope John Paul II and then Elvis Presley.

In 1999, it was announced that Jackson was working on a new album. This album later became Invincible.

Invincible: 2001-2003

The cover of the Michael Jackson's Invincible album. Five variant covers, each with the same design but sporting different colors, were released.

On October 30, 2001 after two years in production, Jackson's Invincible album was released. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, and went on to sell over two million copies in America (11 million worldwide). The singles released from the album include "You Rock My World" (US #10; R&B #13; UK #2), "Cry" (UK #25), "Butterflies" (US #14; R&B #2) and "Heaven Can Wait" (R&B #72). The album included guests such as Carlos Santana, Brandy (who performed background vocals on the album's first track, "Unbreakable"), and a posthumous appearance by The Notorious B.I.G..

On Invincible, Jackson expanded his instrumental involvement on the album, playing most of the instruments and much of the programming in collaboration with producers Rodney Jerkins, Teddy Riley, and Dr. Freeze.

For complicated reasons, just before release of Invincible, Jackson informed Sony Music Entertainment head, Tommy Mottola, that he was not going to renew his contract, signed in 1991, which was about to expire in terms of supplying the label with albums of full-new material for release through ER/SME.

Following this, in 2002 Mottola cancelled all the singles releases, video shootings and promotions, concerning the Invincible album. Due to this, Jackson made allegations about Sony not supporting its African-American artists. Jackson referred to Sony Entertainment head, Tommy Mottola, as a "devil" and a "racist" who used black artists for his own personal gain. Jackson also insisted that Mottola called Irv Gotti "fat nigger" . Sony issued a statement stating that they found the allegations strange, since Motolla was once married to half-Black R&B star Mariah Carey [11].

There were seven singles and videos that Jackson wanted to release from Invincible. Initially, Jackson wanted to released "Unbreakable" as the debut single from the album, partnered with a 20-minute music video. However, Sony wanted Jackson to release "You Rock My World" instead of "Unbreakable" due to shorter production time of the video accompanying the single. "You Rock My World" was the only worldwide single release from Invincible. Jackson had also planned to release "Break of Dawn", "Butterflies", "Speechless", "Cry" and "Whatever Happens" (with Carlos Santana). These singles were never released because of cancellation by Mr. Mottola [12].

On October 21, 2001, Michael Jackson performed the song "What More Can I Give" at the United We Stand: What More Can I Give charity concert for the September 11 terrorist attacks, in Washington, D.C. Twenty-seven other artists joined Jackson onstage during the song, including Mariah Carey, Céline Dion, the Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé Knowles, Usher, Anastacia, Mya, Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias and Tom Petty. After the event raised USD 3 million, Jackson planned to release it as a single.

The single release of "What More Can I Give" was cancelled by Mottola after he also cancelled all single releases, video shoots and promotion of Jackson's Invincible album, following an announcment that Jackson would not be renewing his contract with Sony which would expire in 2003. The song was made available for paid download on the Internet, and had a video shot for it, but the single was never commercially released as intended. Later a catalog featuring the song, called "What More Can I Give: Michael Jackson and Friends", was released instead.

One More Chance: 2003-2005

In early 2003, rumors spread through-out the Internet that Michael Jackson was working on a new album. There were two rumored titles for the album, "Resurrection" and "Force". Tracks that were reported to be on the album included "Another Day" (with Lenny Kravitz), "Prayer for Peace" (with Barry Gibb), "Crush", "Trust in My Heart", "The One Truth", "The Pain", "Pressure", "Seduction" and "Xscape". The public has yet to hear any of these songs except for "Xscape" which was leaked to the Internet in early 2003. Michael Jackson released a statement on January 18, 2003 regarding the leak and ordered his production company, MJJ Productions, to take "all measures necessary in order to ensure that the illegal distribution of Xscape is ceased." In mid 2003, a second song titled "Get Out of My Mind" surfaced on the internet, but it was later confirmed that the song was not by Michael Jackson, but by a French impersonator. Not long after the second leak, work on the album was put on hold and plans went underway for a greatest-hits album to be released instead.

The cover of the 2003 "One More Chance" single.

On November 20 2003, Jackson released a new song, "One More Chance", written by R. Kelly. It was the only new track included on his Number Ones greatest hits album, released the same year. Number Ones was the first of 4 consecutive "Greatest Hits" collections to be released by Michael Jackson. As of 2005, the album has sold over six million copies worldwide. "One More Chance" went on to become the number-one track on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart for three straight weeks. An original video for "One More Chance" was filmed but never released. By December 2005, Number Ones had sold 1,000,000 copies in the United States.

In November 2004, Jackson released his first box set, Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection, a five disc collection which included many of his hits, unreleased material from the past 25 years, demo recordings of some of his biggest hits, four new songs, and a bonus DVD that featured a concert from the Dangerous world tour, originally aired on HBO in 1992. As of September 2005, The Dangerous World Tour DVD is available on its own. Six months later, Epic released a two-disc compilation, The Essential Michael Jackson, which focused only on the hit records. The Ultimate Collection has solo 250, 000 copies, and The Essential Michael Jackson (which sold 8,000 copies in the first week in the U.S., and 45,000 in the first week in the U.K.) has sold 2 million copies to date.

Visionary: 2005-present

After being acquitted of charges of child sexual abuse on June 13 2005, Jackson moved to Bahrain where he spent his time writing new music, including a charity single dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.[13]

In September 2005, Jackson's publicist, Raymone Bain, announced that Jackson was busy working with various recording artists to produce a single dedicated to victims of Hurricane Katrina in order to raise funds for relief.[14] Hoping to rekindle the success of "We Are the World", which raised millions for aid to Africa, Jackson has enlisted the involvement of other recording superstars to help him record the single. From his new location in the Middle East, Jackson has been working through global satellite and phone connections with the 12 recording artists who are participating. So far, not all of the 12 recording artists have been confirmed.

Jackson is the executive writer and producer of the single. The Katrina single will be released through 2 Seas Records, owned by Prince Abdulla Osama Hamad Alkhalifa Hussein of Bahrain. All proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Despite all the rumours about the details of the new single, the title of the charity single is rumoured to be "I Have A Dream"; however both the title and date of the release for this single are still unknown.

On 8th November 2005, Gloria Haydock (founder of MJ News International) accounced that she received a phonecall from Michael Jackson, telling her of upcoming releases and plans for the future [15]. Jackson told Haydock about a new song which he had written during the 2005 trial of Michael Jackson and which he wanted the fans to know about. "I can't wait to record it. I wrote it during the trial. You could let them know...", Jackson said over the phone. The song Jackson was inspired to write for the fans during the trial is titled "You Are So Beautiful".

In 2006 Sony BMG will release a singles box-set titled Visionary - The Video Singles.

Each week over a five-month-period starting in 2006, Sony BMG will release twenty of Michael Jackson’s biggest hit singles. Each single will be issued as a DualDisc allowing not only his most popular singles to be collected but also their accompanying music videos. Michael Jackson worked on the project as executive producer, giving final approval on the music, video editing and packaging design.

The first CD single from the box set to be released is "Thriller", which will be released with the collector's box on February 20th 2006. All the singles from the box will be eligible to chart, as they will be released individually as regular singles.

Personal life

File:Neverland Valley Ranch Map.jpg
A map of Jackson's Neverland Ranch in California, USA.

Michael Jackson continued to engage in door-to-door evangelizing as a Jehovah's Witness after becoming famous, but in disguise. His career and flamboyant lifestyle led to friction with congregation elders. At one point, his sister LaToya was shunned by Jehovah's Witnesses, and in 1987, he formally left the religion.

Jackson's most famous home is his 2,600 acre (11 km²) Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez, California, which he purchased in 1988. It is named after the magical kingdom of Neverland from the children's story "Peter Pan". Jackson, a huge Disney fan, built an amusement park on the ranch, and frequently welcomes sick and poor children there to visit and sponsors charity drives for children. Jackson's relationships with children, both his own and others, have been controversial: his sleepover parties at Neverland have received widespread critical media coverage, especially after he revealed that he sometimes slept in the same bed with several unrelated children. Template:Fact

He states that he likes to be surrounded by children because of their sense of innocence, which he feels he lost too soon. His song "Childhood" included the lyric, "It's been my fate to compensate/for the childhood I've never known". Jackson collects animals: he owns a private zoo at Neverland, and was often seen with a chimpanzee named Bubbles and a snake called Muscles in the 1980s. There were claims at his 2005 trial that he encouraged children to throw stones and generally abuse a lion in his menagerie Template:Fact. Jackson claims that Neverland has inspired much of his work, having once told an interviewer that he liked climbing trees to write songs like "Will You Be There" and "Heal the World".

Jackson is noted for his humanitarian efforts, and has often used his music, including the all-star single "We Are the World" (1985) , "Man in the Mirror" (1987), "Heal the World" (1991), "Earth Song" (1995) , "Cry" (2001), "What More Can I Give" (2003) and "From the Bottom of My Heart" (2005) to support and promote various causes. The "Heal the World" foundation was created by Jackson in 1992, with assistance from former President Jimmy Carter. Jackson was considering a tour of Africa in May or June 2004 to raise money to fight AIDS; Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Senegal were among the countries he had planned to visit. The Heal the World Foundation no longer exists, however. Template:Fact

Over the years, Michael Jackson maintained a number of high-profile celebrity friendships with entertainers such as Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Macaulay Culkin, Emmanuel Lewis, Chris Tucker, and others. Jackson is also the godfather of Lionel Richie's adopted daughter, Nicole Richie and of Barry Gibb's son Michael Gibb.

After the trial ended Jackson relocated to the Gulf island of Bahrain, where he went to stay with family friend Shaikh Abdullah Ben Hamed Al Khalifa, the Governor of Bahrain's Southern Governorate and owner of Two Seas Records. In November 2005, a Middle Eastern newspaper reported that Jackson had bought real estate on an artificial island in the Kingdom and intends to make it his permanent home; the report was given credence when in October 2005, Jackson was called for jury duty as a resident of Santa Barbara County, but he notified officials that he would not be able to serve because he is no longer a permanent resident of California.

The report also stated that Jackson has decided to convert to Islam, as the singer reportedly believes the Muslim faith to be most compatible with his personal beliefs, and there is speculation that he may mark his conversion by building a mosque and school in Bahrain.

Since moving to Bahrain, Jackson has visited Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, which he toured with UAE champion rally driver Mohammad Ben Sulayem.


Michael Jackson with Brooke Shields at the 1984 Grammy Awards, where Jackson won 8 Grammy awards.

Michael Jackson has often stated in interviews and his autobiography that actress Tatum O'Neal was his first girlfriend. The two were often seen together in the late 1970s. O'Neal claimed in her autobiography years later that Jackson dedicated the song "She's Out of My Life" to her, although the song was not written by Jackson, and his then-producer Quincy Jones stated that Jackson possibly hadn't experienced what the song described.

Jackson and actress/model Brooke Shields were first seen together publically attending the Academy Awards in 1980. The two were last spotted together in 1993 at the Grammy Awards. Shields has said she considered her relationship with Michael to be a friendship and nothing more.

Jackson attended the 1991 Academy Awards ceremony with Madonna. It was apparently a date orchestrated by Madonna to garner publicity and nothing more. The press, true to form, had a field day with it.

During the "Bad" world tour in 1988, he was linked romantically in the press with Sheryl Crow and Tatiana Thumbtzen. Crow, one of Jackson's backing singers, has long denied the stories. Thumbtzen is a model who appeared in Jackson's music video for "The Way You Make Me Feel". Thumbtzen has recently written a book about Jackson titled The Way He Made Me Feel. In the book she hints at an intimate relationship between Jackson and herself. Jackson, for his part, has never commented on either relationship.

Jackson's marriages and children

In 1994, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley; the marriage was severely criticized by the media and lasted less than two years. Despite some comments questioning the validity of this union, Presley has always maintained that they both shared a normal couple's life during their time together. The separation date on divorce papers was indicated with Sunday, 10 December 1995 - a day when Jackson was still hospitalized after suffering dehydration during rehearsals for his "One Night Only" special at New York's Beacon Theater.

Jackson married his dermatologist's nurse Deborah Jeanne Rowe in 1996, with whom he claims to have fathered a son, Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr. (who publicly goes by the name "Prince"), and a daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson (the actual parentage is unproven). Jackson and Rowe were divorced in 1999. Rowe later said that she wanted Jackson to have the children as a "gift", which she had offered even while Jackson was married to Presley. She resultantly gave up her parental rights to the children, but as of 2005, a family court case is under way regarding visitation. The godparents of the two children are Macaulay Culkin and Elizabeth Taylor.

Around February 2002, Jackson had another son, Michael Joseph Jackson III, called both "Prince Michael II" and "Blanket", apparently with a surrogate mother whose identity has not been disclosed. In late 2002, Jackson stirred up controversy while staying at the Adlon hotel in Berlin, by briefly suspending him over the edge of a balcony. Jackson defended his actions, saying that he held the child very tightly though he had issued an apology in a public statement made a few days afterwards saying he was "caught in the moment (of fans cheering)". Jackson's children are veiled or masked when they appear in public with him, which he describes as a security measure. Rowe said it was her idea from the beginning as they had been sent many death threats in the past; however, in a recent interview, Mr. Jackson had said that he would love to take his children onstage one day so his fans can see his children's faces.

After the children were seen in Martin Bashir's Living with Michael Jackson documetary special, many in the press and the public questioned whether Prince and Paris were actually Jackson's biological children, as they had no noticeable African features about them. Jackson explained that his own father is African-American, but has blue eyes, and that some of the Jackson family ancestors are Caucasian, and even Indian. However, during the interviews for the same special, Jackson revealed that Blanket's mother is black. Template:Fact

There have been rumors that Jackson was having children by various women Template:Fact. One false claim was made by a woman stating that she was pregnant with quadruplets fathered by Jackson Template:Fact. Jackson had suffered the same problem two decades earlier with a woman claiming Michael was a father of one of her fraternal twins, a story from which his memorable hit "Billie Jean" was derived. Template:Fact

In December 2005, Debbie Rowe allegedly claimed that Michael Jackson had abducted her children and that she was filing a law suit to try and get them back. This case is still in progress.


Skin color

Although Jackson's skin color was a medium-brown color for the entire duration of his youth, his skin has lightened gradually since 1982, and is today a pale cream color. Jackson has attributed his changing skin color to vitiligo, a skin disease in which the body develops antibodies against its own melanin, a body pigment, resulting in light patches and an eventual loss of all pigment. The public finally became aware of Jackson's condition when he first revealed it in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993. Jackson's family members support his claim, with Joseph Jackson stating that Michael's grandfather had also suffered from vitiligo Template:Fact. During court depositions in 1994, both Jackson's dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein and his nurse (Deborah Rowe, who Jackson later married) revealed that following a biopsy of his scalp in 1983, Jackson was diagnosed with lupus and vitiligo. As a result of this disorder, Jackson is said to "even out" his skin tone with bleaching creams Template:Fact. He has also been told by his dermatologist to avoid any exposure to the sun. Ever since then, Jackson has regularly worn long-sleeved shirts and pants under an umbrella while in public to hide from the sun.

Plastic surgery

Jackson has had multiple plastic surgery procedures to modify his appearance. He claims to have had three operations: two rhinoplastic surgeries – the first of which was to repair a broken nose resulting from a dancing accident in mid 1979, and the second to correct imperfections in the first surgery – (it should be noted that neither of those two reasonings were named by Jackson himself) Template:Fact; and the surgical creation of a cleft in his chin. When listing his cosmetic surgery, Jackson often omits mentioning the cleft; however, he confirmed this surgery in his 1988 autobiography, Moon Walk.

In the 2003 documentary Living with Michael Jackson, Jackson stated that he had only ever had two operations to his nose. He justified these operations by stating that they were to "help [me] breathe better and to hit higher notes". Jackson also agreed with Martin Bashir, interviewer for the documentary, that the reason for the surgery was mainly that the singer was called "ugly" and either way mocked and ridiculed by his relatives for having such a big nose.

Jackson's use of plastic surgery has caused increased concerns of a possible cartilage and nose collapse.


Michael Jackson purchased ownership in ATV Music Publishing in 1985, which owns the publishing rights to songs written by The Beatles and many other acts. In 1995, Jackson and Sony Music Publishing merged their two Catalogues to create, Sony-ATV. Jackson's 50% interest in the company (Sony Music Entertainment owns the other half) is estimated to be worth USD 500 million. Jackson also owns his own music catalogue called MiJac Publishing, which contains all of his songs and songs from Sly and the Family Stone.

Over the past 10 years, Jackson has secured two loans for USD 200 Million and USD 70 Million. The USD 200 Million loan was secured by using Jackson's share of the Sony-ATV Catalogue as collateral. He later secured the USD 70 Million loan by using his MiJac Catalogue as collateral. However, because of his declining sales, his MiJac Catalogue's value declined to under USD 100 Million, therefore he was forced to use his Neverland Ranch and Hayvenhurst as added collateral to keep the loan. Template:Fact

In April 2005, Bank Of America sold the loan to Fortress Investments. Jackson continued to miss payments on the loan, and on December 20, 2005, Fortress has the right to foreclose on the loan, allowing Sony Music the first right to buy Jackson's share of the loan. However, Fortress may extend the loan, allowing Jackson time to get money together. Template:Fact

Alleged child sexual abuse

Main articles: Allegations of child sexual abuse by Michael Jackson in the early 1990s & 2005 trial of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson has also been accused of child sexual abuse on three occasions. In 1993, Jordan Chandler, the son of former Beverly Hills dentist Evan Chandler, represented by civil lawyer Larry Feldman, accused Jackson of sexual molestation. A law enforcement investigation ensued which resulted in a search warrant being served upon Jackson by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department (California) and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office, headed by District Attorney Tom Sneddon. The search warrant authorized law enforcement officers to view Jackson's body. Jackson later complained in a December 22, 1993 broadcasted statement that the officers violated his privacy, by photographing his body in order to look for marks on his genitals allegedly described by the young accuser. Jackson settled out of court with the accuser for at least USD 23 million [16]. The victim's parents were criticised for not filing criminal charges against Jackson, making it appear that they were simply attempting to extract money from him. Others debated whether Jackson chose to settle or was forced to by his insurance provider, the fact that was ascertained through court motion that the singer's lawyers filed, under oath. When interviewed by Bashir, Michael Jackson confirmed that he willfully agreed with the idea of the 1993/1994 settlement. However, when the trial began, Jordan Chandler was in fact asked to testify, but he ignored the request [17]. In Novermber, 2005, talking to Harvard's Law School students, Jackson's lawyer Thomas Mesereau confirmed that if Jordan Chandler would agree to testify in court (in case of 2005), then the defence would call a witness which would testify that, personally knowing Jordan, the accuser had said to him that he was not molested, and that he is very angry at his parents for forcing him to make those allegations. Mesereau said this is the reason why the accuser ceased all releationship with his mother and father and did not talk to them for eleven years. Template:Fact

Michael Jackson standing on a car before a pre-trial hearing in 2004.

In 2003, Jackson was accused of sexual molestation by Gavin Arvizo, who appeared with Jackson on the Living with Michael Jackson television documentary. Like Chandler, Arvizo was represented by civil lawyer Larry Feldman, and an investigation was once again launched by Sneddon. Jackson was served a search warrant for Neverland, and the singer was arrested in November 2003. In the prelude to the trial, Jackson allowed a high-profile visit of children to Neverland in December 2004. Michael Jackson's spokesperson provided the press with a list of non-profit children's organizations which had sent the children. According to Court TV, most of these organizations turned out to be either non-existent or were upset that they were falsely associated with the visit. [18] Jackson's publicist Raymone Bain in back claimed that the investigator Dimond has been very prejudiced since the beginning of her coverage of Jackson's legal troubles in 1993, and questioned the idea of checking the list of charity organizations.

The criminal case was tried in Santa Maria, California during the spring of 2005. On June 13, Jackson was acquitted of all ten charges, including four additional lesser ones. CNN later reported that two of the jurors, Ray Hultman and Eleanor Cook, believed he had committed child sex crimes in the past but there was not enough evidence to prove it, and announced impending books on their experiences in the trial [19]. It has been reported that one of the jurors is taking legal action against the publisher of his book, claiming he was tricked into it.[20][21] Others, during after verdict press-conference, indicated that they did not see evidence of any recent or older crime whatsoever, even though all the previous cases of alleged molestation were considered.

A civil suit filed by Joseph Bartucci over allegations of abduction and sexual assault is currently pending in Louisiana [22]. Jackson did not appear for the August 17, 2005 court date, and was fined USD 10,000 as a result. [23] The next court hearing was scheduled for September 7, 2005 but was cancelled as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

In his first interview since the acquittal, Michael Jackson told the Associated Press that the trial was "the hardest thing I've ever done in my life". He also spoke briefly about the charity single and added that he and his children were still in Bahrain "resting and recovering" from the ordeal.

Alleged anti-Semitism

Michael Jackson waving a flag of Israel a fan gave him during his visit to Washington's Capitol Hill in 2004, after the alleged "anti-semitic" conversation took place

In 2005 Mark Schaffel, a former-associate of Jackson's, leaked part of a recorded telephone conversation to ABC in which Jackson allegedly called Jews "leeches". Even though the authenticity of the clip could not be verified, according to ABC, The Anti-Defamation League demanded that Jackson apologize for his comments. Abraham Foxman, director of the ADL, said, "Michael Jackson has an anti-Semitic streak. It seems every time he has a problem in his life, he blames it on Jews[24]."

Raymone Bain, the singer's publicist, said in a press release on November 23, 2005, "Michael Jackson does not have a racist bone in his body. Never would he say anything, or do anything, that would be offensive to any ethnic group, or hurtful to any ethnic group. It is not in his character, or his being. He has spent his entire life reaching out to people throughout the world by spreading love through his music, and his philanthropic efforts. It is unfortunate that these tapes are being disseminated throughout the airways without any due deligence with regards to the authenticity. However, Mr. Mesereau is representing Mr. Jackson in this matter and the truth will be revealed. Because this is an on-going legal matter, we are not issuing any statements at this time" [25].

Also speaking on the matter was Jackson family attorney Brain Oxman. He told the New York Daily News, "I have been with the Jackson family for 15 years, and I'm Jewish. I have never once seen anything anti-Semitic from him [Michael] or from his family." Additionally, Jackson was seen showing support for the Jewish community during his visit to Washington in 2004, and hired two Jewish lawyers (Ben Branfman and Brian Oxman) to defend him in his latest trial on child molestation allegations. All of these events happened after the date of the alleged conversation, which was dated prior to December 2003. In that month the singer cut all ties with several of his business managers, including the one with whom the recorded conversation allegedly occurred. Template:Fact

According to the New York Daily News, Jackson's attorney, Brent Ayscough, confirmed that he is pressing charges of fraud against Marc Schaffel [26].

Jackson has been accused of being anti-Semitic more than once. His 1995 hit single, "They Don't Care About Us" contained the lyrics "Jew me, sue me" and "kick me, kike me". Jackson later changed the lyrics to "chew me, sue me" and "kick me, hike me" and re-released the HIStory album which contained that song in its track list. At the same time, Jackson maintained firmly that the original text was not anti-Semitic, and, in full context, actually represents his position against labelling and attacking on the basis of nationality and race. Template:Fact

Alleged drug abuse

Five months after Jackson was acquitted of child abuse, rumours started to surface about police investigations regarding cocaine that was found in Neverland when police raided Jackson's house in November, 2003. In response to the rumours, Jackson's attorney Brent Ayscough said, "Mr Jackson uses an amount of prescription drugs, but does not take anything illegal or obtain anything in an illegal manner." Shortly after the rumours surfaced Tom Sneddon, District Attorney of Santa Barbara, denied any investigations against Jackson since June 13, 2005 [27].


Main articles: Michael Jackson album discography & Michael Jackson singles discography

Regular studio albums

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Motown releases


Epic releases



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Video games


See also

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about:



  • ^  Michael Jackson Biography
  • ^  Deutsch, Linda. "In First Interview Since Trial, Michael Jackson Says He's 'Moving Full Speed Ahead' on Katrina Song". Associated Press, September 17, 2005.
  • ^  "Michael Jackson close to wrapping relief song, spokeswoman says". Associated Press, Los Angeles. November 3, 2005.
  • ^  "Michael Jackson plans song to benefit Katrina victims". Associated Press, New York. September 6, 2005.
  • ^  Schou, Solvej. "Michael Jackson announces performers for Katrina benefit song". Associated Press, Los Angeles. September 15, 2005

External links

Official Michael Jackson sites


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