Portal:Michael Jackson

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Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, dancer, and entertainer. Referred to as the King of Pop, he is the most commercially successful and one of the most influential entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, as the eighth of ten children in Gary, Indiana, an industrial suburb of Chicago, to an African American working-class family. His mother, Katherine Esther Scruse, was a devout Jehovah's Witness, and his father, Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson, a steel mill worker who performed with an R&B band called The Falcons. Jackson had three sisters: Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet, and six brothers: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Brandon and Randy.

Alongside his brothers, he made his debut in 1964 as lead singer and youngest member of The Jackson 5, and later began a successful solo career in 1971. His 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995) also among the world's best selling albums. He is widely credited with having transformed the music video from a promotional tool into an art form with videos for his songs such as "Billie Jean", "Beat It" and "Thriller" making him the first African American artist to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound, vocal style, and choreography, is credited with stretching across and breaking down cultural, racial, economic, generational, and global barriers that has inspired countless pop, rock, R&B and hip hop artists.

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The Jackson 5 (also spelled The Jackson Five, The Jackson 5ive, or The Jack5on Five), later known as The Jacksons, is an American popular music family group from Gary, Indiana. Founding group members Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael formed the group after performing in an early incarnation called The Jackson Brothers, which originally consisted of a trio of the three older brothers. Active from 1964 to 1989, the Jacksons played from a repertoire of R&B, soul, pop and later disco. During their six and a half-year Motown tenure, The Jackson 5 were one of the biggest pop-music phenomena of the 1970s, and the band served as the launching pad for the solo careers of their lead singers Jermaine and Michael, the latter brother later transforming his early Motown solo fame into greater success as an adult artist.

The Jackson 5 were the first act in recording history to have their first four major label singles ("I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There") reach the top of the American charts. Several later singles, among them "Mama's Pearl", "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Dancing Machine", were Top 5 pop hits and number-one hits on the R&B singles chart. Most of the early hits were written and produced by a specialized songwriting team known as "The Corporation"; later Jackson 5 hits were crafted chiefly by Hal Davis, while early Jacksons hits were compiled by the team of Gamble and Huff before The Jacksons began writing and producing themselves in the late 1970s.

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From the mid-1980s it became clear that Michael Jackson's health and appearance was changing dramatically. His skin tone became lighter, his nose and facial shape changed, and he lost weight. The lighter skin tone was initially caused by vitiligo and lupus — with which Jackson was diagnosed in 1986—and his use of make-up to cover the blotched skin. Surgeons speculated he also had a rhinoplasty, a forehead lift, cheekbone surgery, and altered his lips. Those close to the singer say that, by 1990, he had undergone around ten procedures. Jackson and some of his siblings said they had been physically and emotionally abused by their father, and in 2003, his father admitted whipping Jackson as a child. Jackson rarely spoke about it, but when he did, he became very emotional and said he would vomit before meeting his father. Mental health experts said he had the mind of a regressed ten-year-old, while other physicians said he suffered from body dysmorphic disorder.

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"Billie Jean" is a dance-pop R&B song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was written by Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones for the singer's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). Originally disliked by Jones, the track was almost removed from the album after he and Jackson had numerous disagreements. The song's lyrics refer to a real-life experience, in which a mentally ill female fan claimed that Jackson had fathered one of her twins. The song is well known for its distinctive bass line and Jackson's vocal hiccups. The song was mixed 91 times by Bruce Swedien before it was finalized. Following the successful chart performance of "The Girl Is Mine", "Billie Jean" was released on January 2, 1983, as the album's second single. "Billie Jean" was a worldwide commercial and critical success; it became one of the best-selling singles of 1983, and topped both the US and UK charts simultaneously. Cited as one of the most revolutionary songs in history, "Billie Jean" was certified platinum in 1989.

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Off the Wall is the fifth studio album by the American pop musician Michael Jackson, released August 10, 1979 on Epic Records, after Jackson's critically well received film performance in The Wiz. While working on that project, Jackson and Quincy Jones had become friends, and Jones agreed to work with Jackson on his next studio album. Recording sessions took place between December 1978 and June 1979 at Allen Zentz Recording, Westlake Recording Studios, and Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, California. Jackson collaborated with a number of other writers and performers such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Rod Temperton. Jackson wrote several of the songs himself, including the lead single, "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough".

The record was a departure from Jackson's previous work for Motown. Several critics observed that Off the Wall was crafted from funk, disco-pop, soul, soft rock, jazz and pop ballads. The album was a commercial success, to date it is certified for 8× Multi-Platinum in the US and has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

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Michael Jackson's "Bad" Jacket and Belt.jpg
Hollywood Guinness World of Records museum, jacket and belt worn in the music video BAD.

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