|Happy Birthday Michael Jackson!|
|By MICHAEL ROTHMAN (@TheRealRothman)||Aug 29, 2013, 2:00 AM|
Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Ind., on Aug. 29, 1958. If he were still alive today, the "King of Pop" would be celebrating his 55th birthday. Knowing Michael, he would be throwing some lavish party a la Neverland Ranch or having a gathering of his A-list friends, including Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake or even Cher. In honor of the big 5-5, ABC News has compiled Jackson's top 10 career moments. Take a look at a music career, which includes 13 Grammy Awards, two inductions into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and sales upwards of 400 million records.
The Jackson 5's first four singles -- "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There" -- reached the top of the charts. Jackson is just short of 10 years old at the time. The group -- Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael -- was formed in 1964, and it's been estimated that they sold nearly 100 million records worldwide.
Jackson gets to work with lifelong friend Diana Ross filming 1978's "The Wiz," an urban take on "The Wizard of Oz." In the film, Jackson takes on the role of the Scarecrow as Dorothy tries to get back to her life as a Harlem schoolteacher. On set, he meets Quincy Jones, who produces Jackson's first adult solo album "Off The Wall." It sold almost 20 million copies with hits like "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough." A year later, Jackson won his first Grammy for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance.
"Thriller" was released on Nov. 30, 1982. Seven singles from the album reach the Billboard top 10. "Billie Jean," "Beat It" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin" all help to keep the album at the top of the chart for 37 weeks. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the record at 20th on the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. The album reportedly has worldwide sales of almost 100 million and has won eight Grammy Awards. The next year, a 13-minute video for the single "Thriller" debuted, merging video and music in such a way that propelled MTV to commercial stardom.
Michael first used his iconic dance move during a performance of "Billie Jean" on a TV special "Motown 25" in March 1983. Jackson spun around, posed, then all of a sudden began gliding backward. The next day, children across the country were trying to copy Jackson's new move. He initially was against performing at the show because organizers wanted him to perform classic hits with his brothers. He eventually agreed only if he could perform "Billie Jean" solo.
In efforts to help the hunger relief effort in Africa, Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote "We Are The World," and sang it alongside Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen. The effort, including merchandise and promotion, raises more than $60 million in aid. The song sells 7 million copies.
His follow-up to "Thriller" was released on August 31, 1987 and "Bad" topped the charts for eight weeks. It has five top singles like "Man in the Mirror," "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Smooth Criminal." The album sold almost 30 million copies worldwide and won two Grammy Awards.
Within three weeks of being released, "Black or White" hit No. 1 in December 1991. At the time, Jackson was the first artist to have top hits from the 70's, 80's and 90's. But the music video was the big draw. It was broadcast on MTV, BET, VH1 and Fox. It had an audience of 500 million and featured child star Macaulay Culkin. At the end of the video, different people of different races morph into one another. The video also had parts censored, including a scene at the end in which Jackson is seen smashing a car.
In 1997, Jackson marries Debbie Rowe, after having been previously married to Lisa Marie Presley (1994-1996). The couple have a son, Prince, and a daughter, Paris. Jackson would have one more child in 2002 with a surrogate, Prince Michael II, aka "Blanket."
In 2001, Jackson is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. His bio on the Hall's website says, "As a solo performer, he enjoyed a level of superstardom previously known only to Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Frank Sinatra." In his acceptance speech, Jackson said, "For me, the gift of music has been a blessing from God," he said. "To my mother Katherine and to my father Joseph Jackson, I love you both. To my brothers and my sisters, thank you, you're so wonderful."
Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009, from cardiac arrest. A public memorial service was held on July 7, 2009, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Brooke Shields, Queen Latifah, Usher and Al Sharpton were just a few of the celebrity guests in attendance. For the service, more than 31 million people tuned in and watched the broadcast.