Michael Jackson – A Life of Stardom


Michael (Joseph) Jackson was born on August 29th, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He was the 7th of nine children; brothers Sigmund ‘Jackie,’ Toriano ‘Tito,’ Jermaine, Marlon, Steven ‘Randy,’ and sisters Rebbie, La-Toya , and Janet Jackson. His brother Brandon, twin of Marlon, passed on at birth.

Michael began his musical career at the age of 5 as the percussionist, and later lead singer of the Jackson 5 who formed in 1964 as ‘The Ripples and the Waves’ under the design of his father Joe Jackson. He has publicly praised his mother Katherine Jackson as ‘perfection,’ and his father as a ‘genius’ who made him the star he was.

The Jackson 5 signed to Motown and moved to California from the Midwest. Their first 4 singles, ‘I Want You Back,’ ‘ABC,’ ‘The Love You Save,’ and ‘I'll Be There,’ all made U.S. number one hits. The Jackson 5 recorded fourteen albums and Michael recorded four solo albums with Motown.

The Jackson 5 stayed with Motown until 1976. Wanting more artistic freedom they felt they had to move on and signed with Epic. The group name Jackson 5 had to be changed as it was owned by Motown, so they reverted to The Jacksons. Brother Jermaine married Berry Gordy's daughter and stayed with Motown. Youngest brother Randy joined in his place. The Jacksons had a number of hit records and in total made six albums between the years of 1976 and 1984.

In 1977, Michael made his first film debut when he starred in the musical 'The Wiz' playing the Scarecrow with Diana Ross in the lead role of Dorothy. It was at this time Michael met Quincy Jones who was doing the score for the film. Just prior to this, Michael called up a musician whose work he admired, David Williams, and asked to work with him. Mr. Williams quit his solo work, and went on to play guitar with the Jacksons as well as Michael.

Michael teamed up with Quincy Jones as his producer for his first solo album with Epic Records. The album, titled ‘Off The Wall’ was a massive success around the world and the first ever album to release a record breaking four number one singles in the US. Quincy wanted to replace Williams, as they had differences, but Michael would not have it. Williams stayed, and joined Michael on tour.

In 1982 Michael Jackson released the world's largest selling album of all time, 'Thriller,’ again with Williams. This album produced 7 hit singles, breaking yet again more records, and went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide. 'The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller' became the world's largest selling home video combined with soaring album sales. In 1983 Michael performed the now legendary moonwalk for the first time on the 'Motown 25 years' anniversary show. ‘Beat It’ and ‘Billy Jean’ were the hottest songs in the world. In 1984 Michael won a record breaking 8 Grammy awards in one night. The awards were for his work on the 'Thriller' album and his work on the narrative for the 'ET Storybook.’

On December 9th 1984 at the last concert of the Jackson's Victory Tour, Michael announced he was splitting from the group and going solo. In 1987 Michael released his much awaited third solo album, titled 'Bad', and launched his record breaking first solo world tour. 1988, Michael wrote his first autobiography, Moonwalk, talking for the first time on his childhood and his career.

Continued on next page
© 2009, The Hollywood Sentinel.