Fame and fortune definitely can’t buy happiness, and it rings quite true for celebrities. Despite all the wealth amassed from making movies, and all the fame from sponsorship deals and big-time endorsements, they will still fall like ordinary folk.
Today marks the 56th birthday of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop; one of the world’s most successful performers! It’s a shame that he died in such an unglorified manner. That he left before he could make his comeback tour. And lost the chance to redeem himself for all the headlines he made in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Did you know…
… that Michael Jackson’s obsession with his skin condition was influenced by a serious injury sustained while filming for a Pepsi-Cola commercial in 1984? He suffered burns to his face and scalp, and had surgeries to fix his injuries. As a result, his interest in experimenting with plastic surgery led to his dramatic alterations to his face, especially his nose, in the coming years.
Michael Jackson in his prime as a successful solo artiste. Photo by Billboard.
- Date and Place of Birth: August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana.
- Date and Place of Passing: June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, California.
Michael Jackson (MJ) was born in an African-American working-class family, with a guitarist father who put aside his musical aspirations to provide for his family as a crane operator. His father knew his sons had talent, and molded them into a musical group in the early 1960s. The group initially consisted of the older Jackson brothers: Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie. MJ only joined the group when he turned five, eventually emerging as the group’s lead vocalist. Another older brother, Marlon, became a member of the group and they were known as the Jackson 5.
An Early Successful Career
At age 13, MJ launched his own solo career and became one of the most internationally famous award-winning solo pop sensations to date! His song “Got to Be There” from the album of the same name topped the charts in 1971, and with his album “Ben” (which featured an eponymous ballad about a rat) in 1972. That song became Jackson’s first solo No. 1 single. MJ continued to wow the music world with his next solo album, “Off the Wall” (1979), an infectious blend of pop and funk, with tracks like the Grammy-award winning “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough“, “Rock With You“, and “She’s Out of My Life“. In 1982, he collaborated with Paul McCartney in “The Girl Is Mine“, which appeared on his next solo album, “Thriller” that same year. The album generated seven TOP 10 hits, became the best-selling album in history, and received 12 Grammy Award nominations, out of which he won 8. MJ’s performance “Billie Jean” also became a No.1 hit, and his famous dance move, “The Moonwalk” debuted in it. By then, he was already a veteran performer, and he choreographed the dance move for the video of another No.1 hit, “Beat It“. Other hits included “Man in the Mirror” (1987), “Black or White” (1991 – with child star Macaulay Culkin), “You Are Not Alone” (1995), and “Scream” (1995 – a duet with his sister Janet).
MJ was on a roll to become the best of the best. He broke numerous records as an artiste. He earned several Guinness World Records titles, including the achievement for the longest span of U.S. Top 40 singles, 13 Grammy Awards (8 in a night in 1984), a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the first artiste to have 5 No.1 singles from the same album (1987’s “Bad“).
A Downhill Slide
He had more fame and fortune than he knew what to do with it, and made decisions with his wealth that if he was alive today, he’d regret his actions. MJ built a fantasy ranch retreat Neverland in California and kept exotic pets like a chimpanzee called Bubbles. He invited children for sleepovers at his ranch, leading to child molestation allegations pressed by parents of the children whom he had invited. Rumours surfaced, including one where he was believed to be lightening his skin colour to appear more white and slept in a special chamber to increase his life span! In 1994, he wed Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley in what critics believed to be a publicity ploy in response to the child molest allegations. The couple divorced in 1996, and he married nurse Debbie Rowe, with whom he had two children through artificial insemination: Michael Joseph “Prince” Jackson Jr. (1997) and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson (1998). MJ may be a successful chart-topping singer but where marriages were concerned, his was not a happy ending. He divorced Rowe in 1999, with MJ receiving full custody of their children, and later on, having a third child with an unknown surrogate: another son, Prince Michael “Blanket” Jackson II.
Things became worse for MJ, more recognized then as a quirky eccentric. His odd behaviour overshadowed his success, and often appeared in public with a surgical mask and his children’s faces hidden under veils. He made headlines when he looked confused and disoriented at an MTV Awards Show in 2002. He was criticized for dangling his son, Prince Michael II, over a balcony while greeting fans in Berlin, which led to demands that Child Protective Services take his children from him. MJ faced more legal issues in 2004 when he was arrested on child molestation charges with a 13-year-old boy in 2003 for lewd conduct with a minor, attempted lewd conduct, administering alcohol to facilitate molestation, and conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment, and extortion.
A Superstar’s Tragic Death
In 2009, MJ suffered cardiac arrest in his L.A. home. He was rushed to hospital after his heart stopped but CPR attempts failed, and he died, at 50 years old, later that morning. He never got to experience the anticipated success of his comeback tour (all tickets for the show sold out in just 4 days). He may have lived out his final days as a nutcase to many, but he was still the most successful performer of all time, and his death resulted in worldwide grief and sympathy, and memorials for him were erected around the world.
Can’t get enough of the King of Pop even after his tragic death? Then celebrate his posthumous awesomeness and get your Michael Jackson posters from our official Posterific Facebook page, while stocks last!