b. Michael Joseph Jackson, 29th August 1958, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.
d. 25th June 2009, Ronald Reagan Medical Centre, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Michael Jackson has had an unquestionable impact upon the soul and rock scene over the previous four decades.
Michael has spent almost his entire life on the public stage in one way or another.
He has moved from child star to controversial multi-millionaire, still holding on to his childhood.
Michael was a founder-member of the Jackson Five at the age of four, fast becoming the group's lead vocalist.
His dance moves and vocal stylings were, initially, based upon those of James Brown.
Some critics question the soulfullness of the singer, however, his vocal stylings showed a maturity beyond his years.
When MGM Records launched the Osmonds as rivals to the Jackson Five in 1970, and singled out their lead singer, 13-year-old Donny Osmond, for a solo career, Motown responded accordingly.
Michael Jackson's first release as a solo performer was the ballad 'Got To Be There', a hit both sides of the Atlantic.
Michael covered Bobby Day's song 'Rockin' Robin' and reached the top of the US charts in 1972.
The following year he reached the top ten with the song 'Ben' taken from a movie and highlighted as possibly Michael's most soulful moment.
Motown capitalized on his popularity with a series of albums that covered various area's of soul music and Motown's own catalogue.
During the Eighties, several of the recordings from this time were re-released to fill in between a lengthening gap between the newer product.
As the decade progressed, Michael concentrated on recording with his brothers, to keep the momentum moving.
The group moved to Philadelpia International and released several excellent albums as the Jacksons.
Michael took a solo career turn with a starring role in the film musical 'The Wiz', collaborating on the soundtrack album with Quincy Jones.
Their partnership was renewed in 1979 when Jones produced 'Off The Wall', an album accepted by his fans and soul purists as the boy became a young man.
'Off The Wall' went on to sell in it's millions and it heralded the start of his road to becoming a multi millionaire, a road that was to have several twists and turns.
The album topped the charts in the UK and USA, and contained two number 1 singles, 'Don't Stop Till You Get Enough' (for which Jackson won a Grammy award) and 'Rock With You'.
Meanwhile, Motown capitalized on his commercial status by reissuing a recording from the mid 70's, 'One Day In Your Life', which duly topped the UK charts.
Michael continued to tour and record with the Jacksons after this solo success, while media speculation grew regarding his private life.
This media attention would haunt him in the coming years.
Michael was increasingly reported as a figure trapped in an eternal childhood.
The media had him surrounded by toys and pet animals, and living somewhere away from reality.
These speculations were utilised when he was chosen to narrate an album based on the 1982 fantasy film ET - The Extra Terrestrial.
The record was quickly withdrawn because of legal complications, but still won Jackson another Grammy award.
In 1982, 'Thriller', Jackson's second album with Quincy Jones, was released, and went on to become one of the most commercially successful albums of all time.
It also produced a run of successful hit singles, each accompanied by a promotional video that widened the scope of the project.
'The Girl Is Mine', a duet with Paul McCartney became a friendly collaboration, however, there would be future animosities between the pair regarding rights for the old Beatles tunes, many soon to be owned by Michael.
The song reached number 1 in the U.S.A. and the U.K., however, when the track 'Billie Jean' was released, it opened the floodgates of possibilities for the artist.
The song became an ernormous international hit.
The accompanying video was a spectacular affair.
The follow-up, 'Beat It', with its guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen, was one of the first black records to receive regular airplay on the MTV video station.
Its promo film involved Jackson at the centre of a choreographed street battle, with it's hints of the musical 'West Side Story'.
The next single, 'Thriller' became another huge international hit, with the video running for nearly 20 minutes.
It showed Michael as a figure living outside reality, changing into a werewolf.
The track included dialogue from the horror movie actor Vincent Price.
This promo clip led to a follow-up, 'The Making Of Thriller', which in turn sold more copies than any other home video to date.
The 'Thriller' album and singles won Jackson a further seven Grammies; amidst this run of hits, Jackson slotted in 'Say Say Say', a second chart-topping duet with Paul McCartney.
He accepted the largest individual sponsorship deal in history from Pepsi-Cola in 1983.
The following year, his involvement in the Jacksons' 'Victory Tour' sparked the greatest demand for concert tickets in the history of popular music.
Michael had by now become more than just a superstar, leading to further media speculation regarding his private life.
It was claimed that he had undergone extensive plastic surgery to alter his appearance and photographs were published that suggested he slept in a special chamber to prevent himself ageing.
Michael moved into 1985, co-writing and performing on the U.S.A. For Africa benefit single 'We Are The World', another international number 1.
He then spent 47.5 million dollars in purchasing the ATV Music company, who controlled the songs of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, thus effectively ending his favourable relationship his old friend.
Later that year, he took part in 'Captain Eo', a short film that was only shown at the Disneyworld amusement park and Michael also announced plans to write his autobiography.
The book was delayed while he recorded 'Bad', another collaboration with Quincy Jones that finally appeared in 1987.
The album produced seven Top 10 singles with the tile track turning into another 'Thriller' style video.
'Bad' was not as successful as his previous two albums losing the soul side soundings in favour of a more rock orientated vibe.
Michael's work continued on a grander and grander scale.
He undertook a lengthy world concert tour to promote 'Bad', utilizing stunning visual effects to capture the atmosphere of his videos.
At the same time, he published his autobiography, 'Moonwalker', which was moderately successful in comparison to his previous efforts.
'Dangerous' followed at the end of 1991 and was seen to be a modest return to form.
The album featured Teddy Riley contributing on a number of tracks.
Michaels new product from this point onwards was anticipated eagerly.
Until 1992, his refusal to undergo interviews had allowed the media to show the singer in any light they wished.
In 1992, he agreed to a carefully rehearsed interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
The televised programme was shown all over world, during which viewers saw his personal funfair in the back garden, and watched as Jackson spoke of his domineering father.
However, things took a downturn in 1993, just as the singer thought he had addressed all of the controversial issues.
Allegations of sexual abuse were made by one of Jackson's young friends.
The media went to town.
His home was raided by police while he was on tour in the Far East and the artist, clearly disturbed, cancelled a number of performances, alledgedly, due to dehydration.
No charges were made, and the dust settled until November 1993, when Michael left the U.S.A. and went into hiding.
Additionally, he confessed to being addicted to painkillers and was seeking treatment.
After this admission, Jackson's long-time sponsors Pepsi-Cola decided to pull out of their contract an event that tarnished his efforts to show the World he is just an ordinary guy.
The media were handed more fodder when he, married Lisa Marie Presley on 26th May 1994, perhaps in an attempt to rebuild his image.
The marriage collapsed nineteen months later, giving further rise to allegations that it was merely a set-up to improve his tarnished image.
He did, however, regain some of his popularity with 'HIStory Past, Present And Future, Book 1'.
One half of the double set chronicled his past hits, but there was the equivalent of a new album forming the second half.
Lyrically this album gave Michael a soapbox in order that he could respond to his critics.
The downside of this return was an appearance at the 1996 BRIT Awards.
Controversy surrounded Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp), who invaded the stage in protest while Jackson, dressed in Messiah-white, was surrounded by, among others, worshipping children and a rabbi.
'Blood On The Dancefloor HIStory In The Mix' was a collection of remixes and new material that spawned further hit singles.
In 2001 a new Michael Jackson CD was completed and featured the single 'You Rock My World'.
It was titled 'Invincible' featured several producers, including Teddy Riley as the main producer.
Guests on the album included Carlos Santana, Destiny's Child, R.Kelly along with a few others.
It appeared that, despite the allegations of child abuse and the constant media attacks, particularly surrounding his unexpected second marriage and the, birth of his child, Jackson's fans remained loyal to the 'King of Pop'.
In 2002, an interview with Martin Bashir, broadcast all over the World, showed a middle aged man trapped in a child's mindset.
Michael told the interviewer that he slept with chldren in his room, causing more media outrage.
To this date, the singers private life was a constant source of media interest, sadly making the interest in Michael's musical output of a secondary nature.
This was proven by further child molestation charges in June 2005, from which Michael was cleared on all charges (also losing around 40lbs in weight), however, the fears at the time were that his recording career had been brought to an end.
On the 25th of June 2009, Michael Joseph Jackson passed away. He was 50.
Paramedics had been called to the singer's Beverly Hills home at about midday on Thursday the 25th of June, after he had stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead two hours later at the Ronald Reagan UCLA medical centre. Michael's brother, Jermaine, said he was believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest.
Recent health problems had been well documented, however, Michael had been due to stage a series of comeback concerts in the UK on the 13th July. Jermaine said doctors had tried to resuscitate the star for more than an hour without success.
Got To Be There (Motown 1971)
Ben (Motown 1972)
Music And Me (Motown 1973)
Forever, Michael (Motown 1975)
Off The Wall (Epic 1979)
One Day In Your Life (Motown 1981)
Thriller (Epic 1982)
ET - The Extra Terrestrial (MCA 1983)
Farewell My Summer Love (1973 recording (Motown 1984)
Looking Back To Yesterday (Motown 1986)
Bad (Epic 1987)
Dangerous (Epic 1991)
HIStory Past, Present & Future, Book 1 (Epic 1995)
Blood On The Dance Moor HIStory In The Mix (Epic 1997)
Invincible (Epic 2001)