Jackson, Michael (Joseph)

Jackson, Michael (Joseph)

biographical name

(born Aug. 29, 1958, Gary, Ind., U.S.—died June 25, 2009, Los Angeles, Calif.) U.S. singer and songwriter. The nine-year-old Jackson became the lead singer of the Jackson 5, a family group formed by his father. Their hits on the Motown label included “I Want You Back” and “ABC.” Though Michael remained a member of the group until 1984, he began recording under his own name in 1971. His album Off the Wall (1979) sold millions; his next solo album, Thriller (1982), sold more than 40 million copies, becoming the best-selling album in history. The emerging format of the music video was an important aspect of Jackson's work; his videos for “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” (both 1983) featured his highly influential dancing style (notably his trademark “moonwalk”). He later released the albums Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995). Despite his many efforts to speak out on social issues, Jackson's eccentric, secluded lifestyle stirred controversy in the early 1990s. His reputation was seriously damaged in 1993 when he was accused of child molestation by a 13-year-old boy; a civil suit was settled out of court. In 2003 Jackson was arrested on charges of child molestation; he was acquitted in 2005. In 2009 he was preparing for a series of high-profile concerts when he died from a lethal combination of sedatives and propofol, an anesthetic. His numerous honours included induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Jackson 5 (1997) and as a solo performer (2001). Several of his siblings, notably his sister Janet, also enjoyed solo success.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Jackson, Michael (Joseph), visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Jackson, Michael (Joseph)? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.