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1980s

Only 429 pages left on your journey to becoming a rock star!

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor.

Called the King of Pop, his contributions to music and dance, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Michael Jackson started his career with his brothers as the Jackson 5 in 1964. They were signed by Motown Records and were a highly successful act in the 1970s. At the same time Michael Jackson also began his solo career, although the band project remained more successful until the late 1970s. In mid 1979 he released his disco influenced album Off The Wall featuring the hit single Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough, which finally launched his highly successful solo career.

It was his album Thriller, released in November 1982, that finally turned him into a mega-star. The music videos for his songs, including those of Beat It, Billie Jean, and Thriller transformed the medium into an art form and a promotional tool. The popularity of those videos also helped to bring the then-relatively-new television channel MTV to fame. 

His 1987 album Bad became the first album to have five number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror, and Dirty Diana).

With his videos, he continued to innovate the medium throughout the 1990s. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the Robot and the Moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous artists of various music genres.

Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of at least 65 million copies worldwide.

His other albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world’s best-selling albums.

His other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records, 13 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Legend Award, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 26 American Music Awards – more than any other artist – including the Artist of the Century and Artist of the 1980s, 13 number-one singles in the United States during his solo career, – more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era – and estimated sales of over 400 million records worldwide.

Despite his overwhelming commercial success, he only has 2 songs and 3 albums in the Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 lists.

Albums you should know:

  • Off The Wall (1979)
  • Thriller (1982)
  • Bad (1987)

Jackson 5 songs you should know:

  • I Want You Back (as The Jackson 5 - 1970)
  • ABC (as The Jackson 5 - 1970)
  • I’ll be there (as The Jackson 5 - 1970)
  • Blame It On The Boogie (1978)

Michael Jackson songs you should know:

  • Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough (1979)
  • Billie Jean (1982)
  • Beat It (1982)
  • Thriller (1982)
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something (1982)
  • Smooth Criminal
  • Man In The Mirror (1987)
  • Bad (1987)
  • You Are Not Alone (1987)
  • The Way You Make Me Feel (1987)
  • Dirty Diana (1987)
  • I Just Can’t Stop Loving You (1987)
  • Black Or White (1991)
  • Heal The World (1991)
  • Who Is It (1991)
  • Earth Song (1995)
  • They Don’t Care About Us (1995)

Michael Jackson had a tremendous impact, but he only released three albums that were really outstanding (in 1979, 1982, and 1987). Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995) couldn’t keep up with the quality of the previous three records, Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (1997) was disappointing, while Invincible (2001) was simply irrelevant.

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Chapter 3.4   •   Page 2 of 16

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