August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana
June 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California
As a young child, Michael Jackson had cultivated stardom as a singer and performer with the Jackson Five before he reached double digits in age. In the '70s he remained a stalwart member of that group, becoming an ever more central figure in its continuing success. And although he began to step out as a solo artist during the '70s, Jackson did not truly become a full-fledged star until the '80s, the decade he personified, defined and ruled so completely.
An Off-the-Wall Transition to Solo Star:
If Thriller was Jackson's magnum opus, then 1979's Off the Wall was certainly a pretty hefty masterpiece in its own right. With this smash hit record, Jackson not only proved he was capable of sustaining his own, independent career; he showed that not even the sky was the limit. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is an absolutely exhilarating tune, employing elements of disco with great skill but succeeding much more completely through Jackson's masterful approach to various pop music styles.
Quite a Thrill & Still the Biggest-Selling Album of All Time:
At nearly 60 million albums sold worldwide, Michael Jacksons 1982 masterpiece, Thriller, retains its title as the biggest-selling record of all-time. Those numbers are evidence of the music's continuing popularity but also just how big a hit the album was upon its initial release, during which some two-thirds of these sales occurred. The music from this record was omnipresent from 1982 through 1984, and ultimately the album yielded seven Top Ten pop hits culled from its nine-track total.
With Success Comes Publicity, and then More Publicity:
As the mid-'80s arrived, Jackson had become arguably the biggest star in the world. As such, press paid close attention to his every move, of which there were many. In the wake of Thriller, Jackson ruined his friendship with Paul McCartney when he outbid the...