Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, dancer, singer-songwriter, musician and philanthropist. Referred to as the King of Pop, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music, dance and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. The eighth child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in the mid-1960s, and began his solo career in 1971.
In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs including "Beat It,” "Billie Jean" and "Thriller,” were credited with transforming the medium into an art form and a promotional tool, and the popularity of these videos helped to bring the relatively new television channel MTV to fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" made him a staple on MTV in the 1990s.
Through stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style have influenced numerous hip hop, pop, contemporary R&B and rock artists.
“Off the Wall',' released in 1979, is certified 8× platinum in the U.S. and has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Hit singles released from the album include "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough,” "Rock with You" “Off the Wall'' and "She's out of My Life,” making it the first album by a solo artist to generate four Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits.
Jackson's 1982 album “Thriller” is the best-selling album of all time. Seven of the album's nine songs were released as singles, among them the title track, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "The Girl Is Mine" with Paul McCartney, “Beat It,” and "Billie Jean" all of which reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards at the 1984 Grammys.
“Bad” was released in 1987 nearly five years after “Thriller,” and reached #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. It spawned seven hit singles in the U.S., five of which, “I Just Can't Stop Loving You,” "Bad,” "The Way You Make Me Feel,” "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana" reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This was a record for most #1 Hot 100 singles from any one album. To date, the album had sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
“Dangerous” released in 1991 continued Jackson’s commercial success and has sold over 32 million copies worldwide. It became his second to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, where it spent the next four consecutive weeks. In the U.S., the album's first single "Black or White" was its biggest hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining there for seven weeks, with similar chart performances worldwide. The album's second single "Remember the Time" spent eight weeks in the Top 5 in the U.S., peaking at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. At the end of 1992, “Dangerous” was awarded 1992's best-selling album worldwide and "Black or White" was awarded 1992's best-selling single worldwide at the Billboard Music Awards.
He then released the double album “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I” in 1995. The first disc, “HIStory Begins,” was a 15-track greatest hits album, and was later reissued as “Greatest Hits: HIStory, Volume I” in 2001, while the second disc, “HIStory Continues,” contained 15 new songs. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and has been certified for 7x platinum the U.S. It is the best-selling multiple-disc album of all-time, with 20 million copies sold worldwide. “HIStory” received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. The first single released from the album was "Scream" a duet performed with Jackson's youngest sister Janet. The single had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at #5, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.” "You Are Not Alone," the second single holds the Guinness World Record for the first song ever to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was seen as a major artistic and commercial success, receiving a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance. In 1996, Jackson won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form for "Scream."
Throughout 2000 and 2001, Jackson worked in the studio with Teddy Riley and Rodney Jerkins, as well as other collaborators. These sessions would result in the album “Invincible,” released in October 2001. Invincible was Jackson's first full-length album in six years, and it would be the last album of new material he released while still alive. The album peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and featured three singles, "Cry," "You Rock My World" and "Butterflies." "You Rock My World" and "Butterflies" charted within the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and they peaked at #1 and within the Top 10 in several markets worldwide.
While preparing for his concert series “This Is It,” on June 25, 2009, Jackson died while at home in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles. After his death, Jackson became the best-selling artist of 2009 in the U.S. selling over 8.2 million albums and sold 35 million albums worldwide in the 12 months that followed his death. In March 2010, Sony Music Entertainment signed a U.S. $250 million deal with Jackson's estate to retain distribution rights to his recordings until 2017, and to release seven posthumous albums over the decade following his death.
Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first (and currently only) dancer from the world of pop and rock 'n' roll. Some of his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards (as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award), 26 American Music Awards (more than any other artist, including the "Artist of the Century"), 13 #1 singles in the United States in his solo career (more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era) and the estimated sale of over 750 million records worldwide. Jackson won hundreds of awards, which have made him one of the most-awarded recording artists in the history of music. He was also a notable humanitarian and philanthropist, donating and raising hundreds of millions of dollars for beneficial causes and supporting more than 39 charities.