Michael Jackson began his singing career as a child member of the pop group "The Jackson Five," which was made up of himself and his brothers. The group enjoyed great success with hit after hit, including "A,B,C" and "One Bad Apple."
When he split off on his own, Jackson initially met with limited success. His first solo hit was "Off the Wall" and perhaps his greatest success came with the release of his album "Thriller," which set worldwide records for sales.
In his later , Jackson's image has been tarnished by rumors of erratic behavior. He was accused of child molestation but after extensive investigation never charged with a crime. He from an overdose of medication that he was taking under care of a doctor.
Michael Jackson wasn't merely the biggest pop star of his era, shaping the sound and style of the 1970s and '80s he was one of the defining stars of the 20th century, a musician who changed the contours of American culture. A preternaturally gifted singer and dancer, Jackson first rose to stardom in 1969 as the 11-year-old frontman for his family's band, the Jackson 5. As remarkable a run as the Jackson 5 had -- at the dawn of the '70s, each of their first four singles went to number one and they stayed near the top of the charts for the next five years -- it all served as a preamble to Jackson's solo career. Off the Wall, the dazzling 1979 album co-produced by Quincy Jones, announced Jackson as a mature talent, and the singles "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You" turned it into a blockbuster. Despite its success, Jackson believed Off the Wall was pigeonholed as an R&B record. Determined to break through this glass ceiling, he reunited with Jones to create Thriller, the 1982 album that shattered every music record on the books. Thriller was designed to appeal to every audience and its diversity was evident by its guests: he enlisted Eddie Van Halen to play guitar on the hard rock of "Beat It" while inviting Paul McCartney to duet on the chipper soft pop tune "The Girl Is Mine." Jackson also expanded the horizons of soul and dance music, producing pioneering masterpieces like "Billie Jean." This single provided Thriller with its 1983 breakthrough, thanks in part to its groundbreaking music video, which became the first clip from a Black artist to enter steady rotation on the fledgling MTV. Jackson's smashing of the network's racial barriers was only one aspect of Thriller's unprecedented crossover. Seven of its nine songs were Top Ten hits, it earned eight Grammy Awards, and topped the Billboard charts for 37 weeks, matching its American success internationally to become the biggest-selling album of all time, earning 32 platinum certifications in the U.S. and moving over 100 million albums worldwide. Such a phenomenal triumph pushed Jackson into the stratosphere and Bad -- the eagerly-anticipated 1987 sequel to Thriller, co-produced once again with Quincy Jones -- kept him there, generating five number one singles on the Billboard charts and selling 30 million copies internationally, two thirds of which were outside of the U.S. Jackson parted ways with Jones for 1991's Dangerous, another global blockbuster. HIStory, a 1995 double-disc set that paired a disc of hits with a new album, produced a couple of international number one singles. Invincible, his 2001 album, turned out to be his last. Health problems culminated in his untimely death in the summer of 2009, but at that point Jackson's legend was safe: he stood alongside Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Miles Davis, and Bob Dylan as one of the musicians that created the sound of America in the 20th century.
Such heights came from modest beginnings. Michael was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958, the fifth son of Katherine and Joe Jackson. His mother was a Jehovah's Witness and his father a former boxer turned steelworker who played guitar on the side. Harboring aspirations of musical stardom, Joe shepherded his sons into a musical act around 1962. At that point, it was just the three eldest children -- Tito, Jackie, and Jermaine -- but Michael joined them in 1964 and soon dominated the group. Stealing moves from James Brown and Jackie Wilson, Michael became the epicenter of the Jackson 5 as they earned accolades at local talent shows and went on to play soul clubs throughout the Midwest, working their way toward the East Coast in 1967 where they won an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater. Returning to Gary, the group cut a pair of singles for the local imprint Steeltown in 1968 -- "(I'm A) Big Boy," "We Don't Have to Be Over 21" -- but their big break arrived when they opened for Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers at Chicago's Regal Theater. Impressed, Taylor brought them to the attention of Berry Gordy, Jr., who signed the group to Motown in March 1969 and then sent them out to Los Angeles, where he helped mastermind their national launch.
"I Want You Back," a song written and produced by Motown's new crew the Corporation, saw release in October 1968 when Michael Jackson was just 11 years old. By January 1970, "I Want You Back" rocketed to number one on both the pop and R&B charts, and the Jackson 5 became a sensation, crossing over from R&B to AM pop radio with ease. Two more hits followed --" ABC" and "The Love You Save," both exuberant bubblegum soul -- before "I'll Be There" revealed Michael's facility with ballads. All three of these sequels went to number one and, striking while the iron was hot, Motown spun Michael off into a solo act. His first solo single, "Got to Be There," arrived at the end of 1971, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100, and then a cover of Bobby Day's chestnut "Rockin' Robin" peaked at two in early 1972. Later that year, "Ben," the title theme ballad to an exploitation movie about a killer rat, earned Jackson his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song (he would lose).
Not long afterward, the careers of both Michael and the Jackson 5 slowed, victims of shifting tastes, adolescence, and creative battles with their label. One last hit for Motown arrived in 1974 -- "Dancing Machine," a single that brought the group in line with the disco explosion -- before the group departed Motown for Epic in 1975. With the new label came a new name, along with a slight lineup change: Jermaine stayed at Motown to pursue a solo career and younger brother Randy took his place. Following a pair of albums produced by Philly soul mainstays Gamble & Huff, Michael emerged as the group's creative director on 1978's Destiny, co-writing their 1979 smash "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" with Randy. By that point, Michael had already made a considerable solo impression by starring as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, Sidney Lumet's 1978 musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. Working on the soundtrack -- a record highlighted by his duet with Diana Ross on "Ease on Down the Road" -- he met producer Quincy Jones, a titan of jazz and pop in the '50s and '60s who had yet to score a smash in the '70s. The pair hit it off and decided to work on Jackson's next solo endeavor, but first the Jackson 5 released Destiny, which raised the profile of both the band and Michael himself.
All this was preamble to Off the Wall, the 1979 album that definitively established Michael Jackson as a force of his own. Collaborating with producer Jones and songwriter Rod Temperton, Jackson consciously attempted to appeal to multiple audiences with Off the Wall, turning the album into a dazzling showcase of all his different sounds and skills. Anchored by a pair of number one hits -- the incandescent "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You" -- the record turned into a smash, peaking at four on the Billboard 200, selling millions of copies as it raked in awards, but losing the grand prize of Album of the Year at the Grammys, leaving Jackson with the lingering impression that he needed to cross over into the pop mainstream with greater force. Before he could do that, he had to complete one more Jackson 5 album: 1980's Triumph, a record with three hit singles ("Lovely One," "This Place Hotel," "Can You Feel It") whose title seemed to allude to Michael's solo success and certainly benefitted from his heightened stardom.
After Triumph, Jackson reunited with producer Jones and songwriter Temperton to create the sequel to Off the Wall, crafting a record that deliberately hit every mark in the musical mainstream. Paul McCartney was brought in to underscore Michael's soft rock leanings, Eddie Van Halen pushed Jackson into metallic hard rock, and the remainder of the album glided from disco to pop to soul in an effortless display of his range. "The Girl Is Mine," the first single from Thriller, didn't suggest its adventure -- Jackson played it safe by releasing the McCartney duet as the album's lead -- but the second single, "Billie Jean," forged ahead into new, unnameable territory. "Billie Jean" was a pop explosion, topping the charts in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada. Some of its success can no doubt be credited to its striking music video, the first to break the fledgling MTV's then-unspoken racial barrier after Jackson, the network began playing more Black acts. Some of the single's success is due to his sensational performance on Motown's 25th anniversary special (Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever) in 1983, a performance aired on May 16, 1983 where Jackson unveiled his signature moonwalk dance -- a move that made it appear as if he was gliding backward -- and announced himself to the world as a mature talent. "Beat It," accompanied by an equally cinematic video, turned into an equally huge smash on MTV and helped push Thriller into the stratosphere. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," and "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" kept Thriller at number one and its last single was an extravaganza, with Jackson letting director John Landis turn the song into a short musical horror film. By the time the album wrapped up its two-year run on the charts, it had racked up 37 weeks at number one and sold 29 million copies, becoming the biggest-selling album ever.
Even as Thriller was something of a pop perpetual motion machine, selling records of its own accord, Jackson worked hard. He once again teamed with Paul McCartney, singing "Say Say Say" for McCartney's 1983 album Pipes of Peace, and he reunited with the Jackson 5 for 1984's Victory, supporting the album with an international tour. Prior to its launch, Jackson suffered a serious accident while filming a Pepsi commercial designed to accompany the tour. During the shoot, pyrotechnics burned Jackson's head, sending him to the hospital with second-degree burns to his scalp as he recovered, he started using pain killers for the first time.
Jackson earned accolades for his philanthropic work, especially his collaboration with Lionel Richie on the 1985 charity single "We Are the World," but along with these positive notes, wild stories began to circulate in the tabloids. Some further bad press accompanied his acquisition of the Lennon and McCartney songwriting catalog in 1985, a move that severed his partnership with Paul McCartney. Jackson also flirted with becoming a movie star, working with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola on the 3D film Captain EO, shown only at Disney's IMAX theaters starting in 1986. Once this appeared, he started work on the task of following up Thriller.
Working once again with Quincy Jones, Jackson refined the Thriller template for 1987's Bad. Like Thriller, the first single was an adult contemporary number -- "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," a duet with then unknown Siedah Garrett -- before it cranked out hits: "Bad," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man in the Mirror," and "Dirty Diana" all reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1987 and 1988, with "Another Part of Me" just missing the Top Ten and "Smooth Criminal" peaking at seven. Bad didn't dominate the charts in other countries but its singles reached the Top Ten internationally with some regularity, aided in part with a globe-spanning tour -- the first solo tour of Michael Jackson's career. The Bad World Tour broke records across the globe and in its wake, he started calling himself "The King of Pop," a nickname that was something of a retort to Elvis Presley being known as "The King of Rock & Roll." Once the tour wrapped up, Jackson returned to his new home -- a Santa Ynez ranch that he purchased in March 1988 and renamed Neverland, playing up his Peter Pan fixation.
Jackson renewed his deal with Sony -- the corporation that purchased Epic/CBS -- in 1991 and then set to work on his next album. This time, he decided to part ways with Quincy Jones, choosing to work with a variety of collaborators, chief among them Teddy Riley, who helped usher Michael into the realm of new jack swing. "Black or White," the album's first video, caused some controversy, which helped generate initial press and sales and sent the single to number one. "Remember the Time" and "In the Closet" also made it into the Billboard Top Ten in early 1992, but subsequent singles "Jam" and "Heal the World" stalled in the low 20s, while "Who Is It" made it to 14. Jackson's period of massive success was starting to end and, as it did, Jackson entered a rough personal period. In 1993, a 13-year-old boy accused Jackson of molestation. Over the next two years, the case played out in public and in the justice system, eventually settling out of court for undisclosed terms in 1995 no charges were ever filed. During all this, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley in May 1994 their marriage lasted just 19 months.
Jackson rebooted his career in 1995 with HIStory: Past, Present & Future, Book 1, a double-disc set divided into an album of hits and an album of new material. Preceded by a double-A-sided single containing the ballad "Childhood" and "Scream," a duet with his sister Janet, the album underperformed compared to its predecessors but still generated big hits, highlighted by "You Are Not Alone," the first single to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The subsequent singles "They Don't Care About Us" and "Stranger in Moscow" underperformed in the U.S. but were Top Ten singles in the U.K., and HIStory also did well in other global international markets, aided in part by the lengthy accompanying global tour. In 1997, Jackson followed HIStory with Blood on the Dance Floor, an album that topped the U.K. charts but only reached 24 in the U.S.
By that point, Jackson had married his nurse, Debbie Rowe, who would soon become to the mother of two children: Prince Michael Jackson, Jr. and Paris Michael Katherine Jackson. Over the next couple of years, Jackson raised his family and performed at charitable events, starting work on a comeback planned for 2001. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act that year (the Jackson 5 had previously been inducted) and he staged two major 30th anniversary concerts in September 2001 to kick off the promo campaign for his new album, Invincible. Produced in large part by Rodney Jerkins, Invincible consciously evoked Off the Wall with its single "You Rock My World," which reached ten prior to the album's October release. Invincible entered the charts at number one in the U.S. and U.K., but it didn't have staying power and never generated another hit single.
Soon, music took a backseat to Jackson's personal life. He had a third child, Prince Michael Jackson II in 2002, but the birth was overshadowed by erratic public appearances and legal problems, including an arrest in November 2003 for child molestation in June 2005 he was acquitted on all counts. As the case played out, Sony released the first-ever single-disc collection of Jackson's peak, Number Ones, in 2003 it had a new song, "One More Chance." Over the next few years, many catalog releases materialized: the 2004 box set The Ultimate Collection, the 2006 double-disc set The Essential Michael Jackson, a collectors box called Visionary in 2006, and his catalog saw deluxe reissues in 2008.
Jackson planned a major comeback for 2009 with a major tour called This Is It featuring a long run of shows at London's O2 Arena. As he was in the midst of rehearsals in Los Angeles, he collapsed at home on the afternoon of June 25, 2009. Rushed to the UCLA Medical Center, Jackson was pronounced dead of a cardiac arrest at the age of 50. An extensive investigation later named his death a homicide due to prescription drugs Dr. Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
It didn't take long for posthumous releases to begin to hit the shelves. Motown released The Remix Suite in October of 2009, and then a film documenting the 2009 concert rehearsals was released as This Is It, along with a soundtrack. Next came a DVD set called Vision, and 2010 brought Michael, a collection of outtakes, most dating from Invincible. In 2012, the 25th anniversary of Bad brought an expanded reissue of the 1987 album. Epic released Xscape in 2014, a record where L.A. Reid and Timbaland reworked demos recorded between Thriller and Invincible. Preceded by the single "Love Never Felt So Good" -- an electronic duet with Justin Timberlake that went to the Top Ten -- Xscape earned gold certification. In 2016, Off the Wall received a deluxe reissue highlighted by an accompanying documentary directed by Spike Lee. Scream, a loosely Halloween-themed compilation, followed in 2017.
Who has Michael Jackson dated? Dating History
Michael Joseph Jackson, regarded as the King of Pop and as one of the most influential cultural figures of the 20th century, was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer, who started his career as a child star.
Born on 25 August 1958, in Gary, Indiana USA, a city 25 miles from downtown Chicago, Michael lived in a two-bedroom house on Jackson Street, where his parents raised him and his nine siblings in a very working-class household.
His mother, Katherine Esther, a devoted Jehovah’s Witness, worked part-time at Sears, and played both clarinet and piano with the hopes of becoming a country and western performer, but had to put her dreams on hold to raise her children. His father, Joseph Walter Jackson, a crane operator for US Steel and a former boxer, played the guitar and performed with a local R&B band, The Falcons, to earn extra money for the family.
They passed on their passion for music to their children, and raised them in a strict and disciplined home, often enforcing discipline by means of physical punishment. Michael once stated in an interview that his childhood was isolated and lonely, because of the emotional and physical abuse he had to endure as a child.
His siblings confirmed it, saying that because Michael was the youngest, his punishment would often be more severe. Joseph formed a band that originally only included the three oldest brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, then called The Jackson Brothers, but in 1964,
Michael and his brother Marlon joined the band and the name changed to the Jackson 5. They soon grew in popularity, and by 1975 had become a familiar name in the US and abroad, but their success came at a price. Michael’s earliest years were fouled by obscenity that would leave a mark on his adult life.
In 1979, with the release of his fifth solo album, ‘Off The Wall’, Michael established his career as a popular artist and subsequently became the legend who influenced so many artists who followed in the wake of his success.
Michael became one of the few artists to reach 350 million album sales globally, making him not only the best-selling but also the most awarded artist of all time. Jackson’s prominence in the music industry even made MTV a cultural hype, as well as promoting the fame of the moonwalk dance.
However, as much as Michael’s career might be the subject of worldwide discussion, his romantic and personal life excelled at achieving public and media attention. The controversy started at a young age and continued well into his adult career, which resulted in a couple of disputed romances, and two divorces that were the subject of discussion for decades. Regardless of his professional history, the media, and perhaps the public, never stopped questioning his sexuality.
Michael’s earliest sexual experiences began with a shade of dark that would only be revealed years later. While performing as a member of The Jackson 5, Michael’s exposure to inappropriate sexual behaviour started with performances at seedy venues and strip clubs, organised by his father, Joseph.
According to the accounts of all the brothers, their father had no problem with sexualising his children, nor introducing them to carnal knowledge. Though his mother taught him the virtues of her faith, specifically that pre-marital sex both in thought and deed is wrongful, she apparently remained oblivious to the activities to which they were exposed by their father.
At the age of nine, Michael was allowed to watch from the stage wings as the club ladies performed to a loud and cheering crowd of men. In most cases, their performances would end in full-nudity, so Michael learned early on about female objectification. At the Peppermint Lounge in Chicago, the boys even had access to a spyhole in their dressing room that provided a clear view of the ladies room.
“I’m never satisfied with anything ‘cause I do believe deeply in perfection. If you’re satisfied with everything, you’re just going to stay at one level and the world will move ahead.” – Michael Jackson pic.twitter.com/APzALgYAQS
&mdash Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) October 20, 2020
As Marlon remembers it, it was how they learned all there is to know about women. During performances of the Joe Tex song, ‘Skinny Legs and All’, Michael had to perform a routine where he would enter the audience, crawl under the tables and peek up the skirts of women.
Though Michael later admitted that he didn’t like it and found it embarrassing, he had to fake enjoyment to please both his father and the crowd. However, the lewdness never ended, as his brothers would use fame to their advantage to score with fans, groupies and call girls. Sometimes their father would organise these experiences, while himself indulging in extra-marital affairs.
During some of these instances the two younger brothers, Michael and Marlon, would be in the same room feigning sleep. One girl recalls a night she spent with Jermaine, stating that she was afraid they would wake up the boys who were only three feet away as she slipped away, she overheard Michael asking Jermaine if they could get some sleep now.
As traumatising as these events could be on a young boy, Michael’s perseverance and loyalty to his mother’s teachings was incredibly admirable. Michael never part took in any of the things his brothers did, and found their behaviour disgusting and disrespectful towards women.
During one occurrence, when an unnamed family member arranged for two ladies to deflower Michael, under instruction to work him over in a locked room, he instead read Bible verses to the two women. Naturally, the night did not go the way some may have hoped, for the ladies allegedly left ashamed and in tears.
Michael would also at times warn fans and groupies under invitation to meet with his brothers, about their intentions, often begging them not to go. One fan recalled how Michael approached her at a concert, telling her that his brothers don’t treat women right, and only use them for their selfish entertainment.
Unfortunately the girl didn’t heed his warning, and ended up heartbroken, but still recalls the autograph Michael gave her on which he wrote ‘please, don’t go’. While his gentlemanly nature would please some, the media used it as an excuse to ridicule and question Michael’s sexuality.
Since gaining prominence, Michael fought rumours that suggested he was either homosexual or asexual, continuously denting both these claims.
Michael’s first love was no other than child star and actress, Tatum O’Neal. It would also be the first recorded relationship Michael became involved in, and would be the subject of media coverage for several years. Their friendship began in the 1970s, when Michael was 17 and O’Neal was 12.
Jackson later revealed in 1982 that they were in a serious relationship, but due to their busy schedules, their romance hit a dead end, though they remained friends throughout their lives.
In a documentary of 2003 based on the King of Pop’s life – ‘Living With Michael Jackson’ – he recalled that early in their relationship Tatum attempted to seduce him. The incident took place at her home, where she unbuttoned his shirt and spoke openly about her intentions. However, Michael became scared, which eventually dissuaded Tatum from going through with her intentions.
Tatum denied Jackson’s claims, saying that with all due respect, he had a vivid imagination and that she was as shocked as everyone else about his inaccurate statements. In a later biography, published a year after the documentary, O’Neal wrote that Michael was the one who attempted to seduce her, but chickened out at the last moment.
In the context of an interview conducted with the actress by Vibe magazine in 1995, the biography’s statements appeared to be contradictory to what she said then about the relationship.
In the interview, she described Jackson as shy, and one of the most innocent people she had ever met. She added that he once came into her bedroom but wouldn’t even sit on the bed next to her.
Tatum recalls the relationship as a wonderful friendship, as they would dance and talk on the ‘phone a lot. She said that the relationship ended after he asked her out to the premiere of ‘The Wiz’, in which he played the Scarecrow, but her agent advised her against it.
Michael later spoke again about the relationship to Rabbi Shmuley, reminiscing about how sweet it was to hold her hand, saying that it was heaven to him, and better than kissing her. He also added that he loved innocence, but she grew up so fast and that she was not into innocent behaviour later into the relationship.
At the age of 15, Michael met the American model, actress, and socialite, Brooke Shields who, by many observations, is one of the most beautiful women to have graced television in the ‘70s.
Like any other warm-blooded man, Michael fell head over heels in love with her. They met at the 1981 Academy Awards Ceremony, and formed a close friendship that lasted for several years. In 2009, Shields spoke about their relationship, stating that it was a platonic friendship, and that may well have been the reason why they got on so well.
However, her statements would further fuel the media’s speculations about Michael’s asexuality, as she said that the older he became, the more asexual he turned towards her. She also said that he was curious about sex, and she often confided about her intimate experiences to him, saying he was like an inexperienced child.
However, she understood fully that his curiosity stemmed from his sheltered life. Michael reflected on the relationship, considering Shields as one of the loves of his life, though he always wished she would love him as much as he did her.
In his 1988 biography, ‘Moonwalk’, Jackson wrote that they were romantically serious for a while, until their relationship eventually drifted apart and they stopped seeing each other.
Michael would also remember how happy he was when he met her at the 53rd Academy Awards. Before he met her, he had posters of her on his walls, and the night he received her number, he was so happy he stayed up all night. Although he never formally proposed, Brooke has said that Micheal introduced and mentioned the idea of marrying on several occasions. Unfortunately, Brooke wasn’t interested, as she felt that it would divide her life too much. At his funeral, Brooke stated that their friendship was natural and easy, though the tabloids would have called them an odd couple. She also said that whenever they were together, it would be as if they were children again.
Michael met Diana Ross when he was only nine years old, and called her his mother, sister and lover all in one. However, their relationship was purely platonic, Ross later saying that nothing sexual ever happened between them. Rumour had it that Jackson dedicated several of his songs to Diana, including ‘Dirty Diana’, but these rumours turned out to be false claims. Michael decreed in his will that Diana would be the appointed guardian of his children, next in line to his mother, Katherine.
In the ‘80s, when Ross married Arne Ness, Jackson admitted that he was jealous, stating that he loved Diana and always would.
In 1974, Elvis introduced his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, to the King of Pop, who at the time was sixteen. Lisa had been a big fan of The Jackson 5, but in particular,was fascinated by Michael’s dancing.
The pair reunited again in November of 1992, at a private dinner party hosted by a mutual friend, sculptor Brett Livingstone-Strong. In the days that followed, Presley and Jackson began forming their adult friendship, even though Lisa Marie was married at the time to actor Danny Keough.
Micheal eventually proposed to Lisa Marie, who accepted, and on 26 May 1994, twenty days after her divorce, they married at a ceremony held in the Dominican Republic. They kept quiet about their relationship and the wedding for some time, before eventually letting the media and the public know.
Their relationship came under media scrutiny, with tabloids claiming that if Elvis lived, he would not have approved of their union. Lisa’s mother, Priscilla Presley, publicly stated that she supported her daughter’s choice, but in truth never liked the idea.
A Michael Jackson Timeline
Follow a chronology of the singer's life, highlighted by breathtaking commercial success, intense public scrutiny and odd lifestyle choices:
Aug. 29, 1958: Michael Joseph Jackson is born to Katherine and Joe Jackson in Gary, Ind. His older siblings are Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, LaToya and Marlon. Later, brother Randy and sister Janet join the family. Katherine Jackson raises her children as Jehovah's Witnesses.
1962: Michael, Marlon, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine combine to form a band. At first, their father does not approve, but later changes his mind and manages the band. Jackson sings lead vocal on most of the songs.
1968: Motown signs The Jackson 5.
1969: The song "I Want You Back" jumps to the number-one singles spot. "ABC (1970)," "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There" follow suit.
1971-1972: Jackson goes solo, and his singles "Got to Be There," "Rockin' Robin" and "I Wanna Be Where You Are" storm the charts — as does "Ben," a ballad about a pet rat featured in the horror movie Ben.
1978: Jackson makes his film debut as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, an urban retelling of the classic film The Wizard Of Oz. Diana Ross co-stars as Dorothy. Jackson is said to wear his makeup long after production hours.
1979: Jackson records Off The Wall, his first album as a solo artist. The singles "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock With You" both shoot to number-one hits.
1980: Jackson nabs his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance.
1982-1983: Jackson releases the album Thriller, and it tops the charts for 37 weeks. Seven singles dash into the top 10, including "Billie Jean," "Beat It," "Thriller" and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." The extended video sequence on "Thriller" has Jackson morph into a werewolf. Jackson unveils his signature dance move, the moonwalk.
1984: Questions arise about Jackson's changing appearance, and some wonder if the singer has had plastic surgery. He builds a home on 2,700 acres in Central California, complete with its own amusement park rides, and calls it Neverland.
1985: Jackson and Lionel Richie pen "We Are The World," with the proceeds from sales of the single slated for hunger relief in Africa. Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper and other prominent artists lend their voices to the song. It sells a record seven million copies.
1987: Bad, Jackson's third album, hits the shelves. He embarks on a world tour.
1988: Doubleday publishes Jackson's autobiography, Moonwalk.
1990: Thriller goes platinum for the 21st time and the Guinness Book of World Records certifies it as the best-selling album ever. To date, it has sold 65 million copies.
1992: Jackson tells Oprah Winfrey he has vitiligo, a skin disorder that destroys melanin and, in severe cases, can leave a victim devoid of skin color. He also reveals that his father emotionally abused him as a child.
1993: Jackson is accused in civil court of molesting an 11-year-old boy. Police descend on Neverland and subject Jackson to a full body search. "It was the most humiliating ordeal of my life," he says in a televised statement in December.
1994: Jackson settles the molestation case out of court. The boy is paid more than $15 million, to be held in trust until he is an adult. The parents of the boy receive $1.5 million each.
May 26, 1994: Jackson and Lisa-Marie Presley tie the knot. The marriage will last less than two years.
1995: Sony releases HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book I. Janet Jackson performs a duet with her older brother on "Scream."
1996: Jarvis Cocker of the British band Pulp accosts Jackson in mid-act at the BRIT Awards. Jackson was surrounded by children and a rabbi performing "Earth Song." Cocker claims Jackson had attempted to imitate Christ.
1997: Jackson marries Debbie Rowe, a nurse. Rowe gives birth to a son, Prince Michael. Jackson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1998: Rowe bears a girl, Paris Michael Katherine.
1999: Jackson and Rowe split.
2000: "Billie Jean," "Rock With You," "I Want You Back" and "Beat It" make Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest songs of all time.
2001: Sony releases Invincible, which is panned by critics and does not sell well. Jackson battles a $21-million civil suit by a German concert promoter who says the singer backed out of two concerts and pocketed an advance.
2002: Jackson lifts his newborn son, Prince Michael, over a hotel room terrace so fans can glimpse — and is roundly criticized for endangering his child. The identity of the child's mother is never revealed. Jackson says the child is the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his own sperm cells.
2003: Jackson is charged with seven counts of child sexual abuse and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. All charges were made by the same boy, Gavin Arvizo, who was under 14 at the time of the alleged crime.
2005: Jackson is acquitted on all counts in the Arvizo case in the the People v. Jackson trial in Santa Maria, Calif.
2006: Financial troubles force closure on the main house on the Neverland Ranch. Jackson agrees to a Sony-backed refinancing deal. Jackson makes his first public appearance since the Arvizo trial to accept eight records from the Guinness World Records in London, including "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time." In late 2006, Jackson agrees to share joint custody of his first two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe.
2007: Jackson and Sony buy Famous Music LLC from Viacom, which gives him rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira, Beck and others.
2008: Jackson issues Thriller 25, celebrating 25 years of the iconic album. The reissue hits number one in eight countries and reached number two in the U.S. Sony releases King of Pop, a fan-curated compilation.
June 25, 2009: Jackson dies in Los Angeles at 50 after going into cardiac arrest.
- "Gates of Kiev" Video Intro
- "HIStory Medley": "Scream" / "They Don't Care About Us" featuring snippet of "HIStory" / "In the Closet" featuring snippet of "She Drives Me Wild"
- "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
- "Stranger in Moscow"
- "Smooth Criminal"
- "The Wind" Video Interlude
- "You Are Not Alone"
- "The Way You Make Me Feel" performed on select dates
- "The Jackson 5 Medley": "I Want You Back" / "The Love You Save" /"I'll Be There"
- "Off the Wall Medley" performed on select 1996 and 1997 dates / "Rock With You" / "Off the Wall" / "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"
- "Remember the Time" Video Montage Interlude
- "Billie Jean"
- "Beat It"
- "Come Together"/"D.S." performed on select 1996 dates / "Blood on the Dance Floor" (performed from Bremen to Oslo in the second leg, omitted on July 2)
- "Black Panther" Video Interlude (sometimes replaced with "Brace Yourself" video)
- "Dangerous" (withdrawn from Tokyo concert on Dec. 20 and from Manila concert on Dec. 8 samples an extract from "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes, Ennio Morricone's "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" theme, "Smooth Criminal", Janet Jackson's "You Want This" and "Let's Dance," Judy Garland's "Get Happy", Monty Norman's "James Bond Theme", and a guitar intro from Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill")
- "Black or White"
- "Earth Song"
- "We Are the World" Video Interlude
- "Heal the World"
- "HIStory" (with instrumental of "They Don't Care About Us" as a curtain call)
- September 7, 1996 - Prague, Czech Republic
- September 10, 1996 - Budapest, Hungary
- September 14, 1996 - Bucharest, Romania
- September 17, 1996 - Moscow, Russia
- September 20, 1996 - Warsaw, Poland
- September 24, 1996 - Zaragoza, Spain
- September 28 and 30, October 2, 1996 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
- October 11 and 13, 1996 - Seoul, South Korea
- October 18, 1996 - Taipei, Taiwan
- October 20 ,1996 - Kaohsiung, Taiwan
- October 22, 1996 - Taipei, Taiwan
- October 25, 1996 - Singapore, Singapore
- October 27 and 29, 1996 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- November 1, 1996 - Mumbai, India
- November 5, 1996 - Bangkok, Thailand
- November 9 and 11, 1996 - Auckland, New Zealand
- November 14 and 16, 1996 - Sydney, Australia
- November 19, 1996 - Brisbane, Australia
- November 22 and 24, 1996 - Melbourne, Australia
- November 26, 1996 - Adelaide, Australia
- November 30, December 2 and 4, 1996 - Perth, Australia
First leg (Asia) Part 2
- December 8 and 10, 1996 - Manila, Philippines
- December 13, 15, 17, and 20, 1996 - Tokyo, Japan
- December 26 and 28, 1996 - Fukuoka, Japan
- December 31, 1996 - Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
First leg (North America)
- May 31, 1997 - Bremen, Germany
- June 3, 1997 - Cologne, Germany
- June 6, 1997 - Bremen, Germany
- June 8 and 10, 1997 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
- June 13, 1997 - Kiel, Germany
- June 15, 1997 - Gelsenkirchen, Germany
- June 18, 1997 - Milan, Italy
- June 20, 1997 - Lausanne, Switzerland
- June 22, 1997 - Bettembourg, Luxembourg
- June 25, 1997 - Lyon, France
- June 27 and 29, 1997 - Paris, France
- July 2, 1997 - Vienna, Austria
- July 4 and 6, 1997 - Munich, Germany
- July 9, 1997 - Sheffield, United Kingdom
- July 12, 15, and 17, 1997 - London, United Kingdom
- July 19, 1997 - Dublin, Ireland
- July 25, 1997 - Basel, Switzerland
- July 27, 1997 - Nice, France
- August 1, 1997 - Berlin, Germany
- August 3, 1997 - Leipzig, Germany
- August 10, 1997 - Hockenheim, Germany
- August 14, 1997 - Copenhagen, Denmark
- August 16, 1997 - Gothenburg, Sweden
- August 19, 1997 - Oslo, Norway
- August 22, 1997 - Tallinn, Estonia
- August 24 and 26, 1997 - Helsinki, Finland
- August 29, 1997 - Copenhagen, Denmark
- September 3, 1997 - Ostend, Belgium
- September 6, 1997 - Valladolid, Spain
- October 4 and 6, 1997 - Cape Town, South Africa
- October 10 and 12, 1997 - Johannesburg, South Africa
- October 15, 1997 - Durban, South Africa
1958-1974: Early life and the Jackson 5
Jackson as a child in the early 60's
Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958, becoming the 8th of 10 children in an African-American working-class family who lived in a small 3-room house in Gary, Indiana. His father Joe Jackson was a steel mill worker who performed with an R&B band called the Falcons and his mother Katherine Jackson was a devout Jehovah's Witness. Jackson had 6 brothers: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Randy, and Brandon (the brother that died shortly after birth) and 3 sisters: Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet.
It has been rumored various times that Jackson's birth name is Michael Joe Jackson. This sparked controversy as in most certificates and some of his passports the name 'Joe' is used. But Jackson himself confirmed that he was born Michael Joseph Jackson.
In 1964, Michael and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers, a band formed by their father, that also included Jermaine, Tito, and Jackie, as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine. The group soon changed their name to the Jackson 5 and in 1966, they won a major local talent show with renditions of Motown hits and James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)", led by Michael. They began touring nationally and won a weekly amateur night concert at the Apollo Theater. In 1968, the Jackson 5 began recording songs under Steeltown Records, a local label, which included Big Boy and We Don't Have to Be Over 21 (To Fall in Love). Ώ] In 1969, The Jackson 5 left Steeltown Records and went on to Motown records, with Bobby Tailor and Gladys Knight discovering the group. Diana Ross introduced them to television and public concerts. Afterwards, the Jackson 5 released an album based on that called Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. ΐ]
The Jackson 5 released their first four singles, "I Want You Back", "ABC", Stop The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There", which all went to number one on the Billboard chart, a record at the time. They also released their 2nd album called ABC. Α] Along with that, they released Third Album, which was their 3rd album. Β] During Christmas time, they released Jackson 5 Christmas Album, which was their 4th album. Γ] The Jackson 5 made a couple more albums called Maybe Tomorrow and Goin' Back to Indiana. They had their first cartoon series titled Jackson 5ive. They also had their first compilation album called Greatest Hits. Δ] Ε] Ζ] Η] Jackson began his solo career at Motown, releasing his debut album, "Got to be there", in 1971. In 1972, he released his second album with Motown, "Ben", which included the title track, which became his first number one single. Jackson would go on to release two more solo albums with Motown before he and the Jacksons left it in 1975 over creative control disputes.
1975-1981: The Jacksons and Off the Wall
In 1975, the Jackson 5 signed with Epic Records and renamed themselves The Jackson's. They would go on to release six more albums, with Jackson writing the majority of hit singles. Jackson made his film debut in 1978, starring as The Scarecrow in "The Wiz". The film's composer, Quincy Jones, agreed to produce Jackson's next studio album. That album, 1979's "Off the Wall", was a critical and commercial success that established Jackson as a solo artist. The album was the first to contain four top ten singles on the Billboard chart. The album won Jackson three American Music Awards and one Grammy. However, it did not have the impact Jackson wanted, and he was determined to exceed expectations with his next release.
1982-1985: Thriller, Motown 25, Pepsi, We Are the World, and business career
In 1982, Jackson released "Thriller", a groundbreaking album that generated seven top ten singles, won Jackson eight Grammy's, and spent 37 weeks at number one on the Billboard chart. The album would go on to sell 66 million copies worldwide. In 1983, Jackson debuted his famous Moonwalk while performing "Billie Jean", on the NBC television special, "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever". He also began an endorsement deal with Pepsi, which included the famous "New Generation" jingle, and associated commercials. While shooting one of those commercial's in 1984, Jackson's hair caught on fire after an accident with the pyrotechnics. He was rushed to the hospital and treated for second degree burns on his scalp. Jackson began his pioneering humanitarian work, co writing "We Are the World", with Lionel Richie. The song was written as a charitable effort to help aid famine relief in Africa. The song, recorded by an ensemble of artists including Jackson and Richie, was recorded and released in 1985. The song became one of the best selling singles of all time and raised over 63 million dollars for humanitarian aid. Jackson ventured into business when he purchased ATV music publishing, which included the rights to most of The Beatles songs. Jackson would later merge ATV with Warner to create Warner/ATV music publishing.
Michael was afraid of his verbally, and sometimes physically, abusive father
If one of his children stepped out of line, Joe was quick to discipline them. Michael once revealed to Oprah Winfrey that he was so afraid of his father that it would cause him to vomit when he saw him. Physical beatings were not uncommon. “I just remember my hearing my mother scream, ‘Joe, you’re gonna kill him, you’re gonna kill him, stop it,’” Michael said during a 2003 TV interview. “I was so fast he couldn’t catch me half the time, but when he would catch me, oh my God, it was bad. It was really bad.”
Michael recalled his father sitting in a chair with a belt in his hand watching his sons rehearse, ready to punish them for any mistakes. Michael also recalled verbal abuse, in particular, his father repeatedly telling him he had a t nose.”
“Michael was never beat as they call it. And… everyone spanked their kids when they did wrong, but not beat,” Joe said to ABC News in 2009. “Katherine spanked Michael more than I did, use I was workin’ two jobs and she was at home with him the most.” In a 2013 CNN interview, Joe said he was glad he was tough use look what I came out with. I came out with some kids that everybody loved all over the world. And they treated everybody right.”
Photo: Frank Barratt/Getty Images
“The Jackson Statues” 1995
Cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘HIStory’ CD using photo of studio-built Jackson statue (see later below) used by Sony Music for the album’s promotion in June 1995. Click for CD at Amazon.
Part of the plan for promoting this album came from Jackson himself. Reportedly, when record executives asked him what he thought might be done, Jackson told the Sony executives “build a statue of me.”
Not only did Sony build one statue of Jackson — they built nine of them, each about 32 feet tall, constructed with steel and fiberglass. These Jackson statues — with Michael cast in military garb, bandolier across his chest, fists clenched at his side, gazing off into the distance — were placed strategically in European cities in June 1995. They became center pieces in an elaborate $30 million campaign to promote Jackson and his new album during 1995 and 1996.
On June 15th, 1995, one of the giant Jacksons was floated on a barge through London, England down the Thames River. London’s Tower Bridge was raised to let the giant Jackson pass through. The statue was then moored near the Tower of London for a week before “touring the country.” About a week after the giant Jackson statue floated on the Thames another of the Jackson statues was put into its promotional position in Berlin, Germany, on June 29th, 1995, lowered there by a giant construction crane at the Alexanderplatz public square.
One of Michael Jackson’s 9 giant statues used to promote his 1995 ‘HIStory’ album, this one floated on the Thames River at London, June 15th, 1995, then moored near the Tower of London for a week.
During the HIStory promotional campaign, other Jackson statues would appear at various locations, among them: the Champs-Élysées in Paris, France the Gallerie di Piazza Scala in Milan, Italy Prague, Czechoslovakia the Netherlands Los Angeles, California and elsewhere. Smaller versions of the Jackson statue were also positioned in theater venues, and photos of the statue were also used variously on the covers of concert tickets, CDs, and DVDs serving as an image theme throughout the HIStory campaign .
Statues & Icons
This story is one in an occasional series that will explore how America, and other countries, honor their icons — from famous politicians and military leaders, to movie stars, TV celebrities, and sports heros. Societies have been erecting statues or otherwise commemorating their famous and beloved figures for thousands of years. But in modern times, even fictional characters, their ranks swelled by cinema and television, are now joining those up on the pedestal, some for purely commercial reasons. As statues and busts, the famous personages are typically cast in outsized proportions, some placed in parks or other public spaces. Still others are found on postage stamps, murals, buildings, near sports arenas, or in this case, used in a special promotion. Not all of those so honored, however, meet with public approval, though some have broad and continuing support. The stories offered in this series will include short sketches on some of these figures — past and present — providing a bit of the history and context on each and how the proposed honor came about.
HIStory was Michael Jackson’s ninth studio album. It was a double disc set, a combination of past hits and new material. Recording started in September 1994 and continued through early spring 1995. Some of the songs Jackson wrote attacked the press and tabloids for their criticism of him.
By this time in his career, Jackson had begun facing criticism and there had been one 1993 charge of sexual abuse charges from a 13 year old boy — a case that was later settled out of court.
Still, Jackson had a huge global following and he became personally invested in the success of his HIStory album and its related activities. He was heavily involved in the production of the album and its promotion.
Among the items in the campaign was an extravagant “teaser” video that Jackson made to promote the album — a video that would run on MTV, in movie theaters and elsewhere. In the video, Jackson is shown in full military garb, striding amid hundreds of Eastern Bloc-type soldiers past delirious fans. He shot the video in Hungary and hired Hungarian soldiers to march in it. The video cost some $4 million to make.
“When they were shooting this thing in Hungary,” recounted Dan Beck, a senior marketing executive who worked on the video, “the production company would call me in the middle of the night and say, ‘Michael wants more troops’.”
Beck, relaying this tale to the New York Times years later, added of Jackson: “He dreamed the big dream. It was P. T. Barnum.”
One of the Jackson statues being positioned by crane in Berlin.
On the show Jackson and Lisa Marie revealed some details of their marriage and Jackson discussed his music and career.The Prime Time Live TV program was seen by some 60 million viewers and was one of the most watched programs that year.
The following day in London (Friday, June 16, 1995), Sony floated the huge Michael Jackson statue down the River Thames to publicize the next day’s release of the HIStory album. This statue, and eight others, were each 32-feet tall, weighed about 4,625- pounds, built with a steel truss frame and fiberglass surface. According to one report, it took a team of at least 30 people to build the statues over a three-month period, and additional expense and manpower to put them into position.
Model & Scale Up
The prep work for the giant Jackson statues appears to have begun in the New York studios of photographer Timothy White around May 1994. That’s where Jackson was photographed in his military outfit from several perspectives. These photos were then used by American sculptor and computer graphics artist Diana Walczak and her firm to build the first clay model statue of Jackson. Walczak, working from the photos arrayed around her, completed the clay model with the help of two assistants in about a week’s time.
Sculptor Diana Walczak at work on the model clay figure of Michael Jackson later digitized for the ‘HIStory’ album cover art and the other larger promo statues . Walczak worked from an array of large Jackson photos.
After a plaster cast model was prepared from the model, its dimensions and all proportions were then carefully calibrated by Walszak and her assistants in a grid-like overlay for digitization by computer so that scaling up to larger statues could be accomplished with precision (see YouTube.com video). In addition to the giant Jackson statues that were built from these designs, other smaller versions were made as well, including some 6-foot cardboard renditions also used in the HISstory promotional campaign.
Giant Michael Jackson statue used in Prague, Czechoslovakia during 1996 "HIStory" album tour.
The HIStory album, meanwhile, was released for worldwide sale on June 18th, 1995. The two-disc album was a compilation of old and new material. The first disc featured 15 Jackson hits from 1979-1991 period. The second featured 15 new tracks, some collaborations, including those with rappers Shaquille O’Neill and Notorious B.I.G, singers Boyz II Men, and guitarist Slash. A few of Jackson’s songs struck some reviewers as angry and defensive, as Jackson used some of his song lyrics to fight back against the bad press he was then getting. The album/CD also came with a 52-page color booklet with photos, lyrics, and artwork, featuring Jackson as a popular and beloved figure with endorsements from Stephen Spielberg and Elizabeth Taylor. The booklet also listed Jackson’s various music awards and showed him in photographs with U.S. Presidents and surrounded by adoring children.
“From its packaging to its songs,” wrote the New York Times’ Jon Pareles in June 1995, “HIStory is a psychobiographer’s playground. Everything is on a gargantuan scale…” Pareles especially noted the military and statue-related scenes in Jackson’s video teaser released to promote the album. Chris Willman of the Los Angeles Times, also reviewing the album and its video promo, noted the “King of Pop” placards placed among the admiring throngs in the video, and also a well-placed child calling out, “I love you, Michael!” Willman concluded: “The clip doesn’t just stop at representing previously known levels of Michael mania, it goes well beyond the bounds of self-congratulation to become perhaps the most baldly vainglorious self-deification a pop singer has yet deigned to share with his public, at least with a straight face.”
HIStory broke sales records in its first week on the charts. In the U.K. it sold 100,000 copies in just two days and in Australia the advance order of 130,000 copies was the largest initial shipment in Sony Australia’s history. Similar sales figures were witnessed all over Europe. In the U.S. and 18 other countries, the album went to No. 1. In the U.S. and 18 other countries, the album went to No. 1. It eventually sold more than 15 million copies. Sony reported in August 1995, that sales at its two music subsidiaries in Japan and the U.S. rose 2.2 percent largely because of Jackson’s HIStory album. Sony added in its report that the album had sold six million copies worldwide. Sales would eventually surpass 15 million copies. In addition, five singles from the album were also released. “You Are Not Alone,” for example, broke a world record becoming the first-ever single to debut at No.1 on the Billboard music charts. In the year following the album’s release, a HIStory World Tour began on September 7, 1996. Jackson performed 82 concerts in 58 cities covering 35 countries on five continents. More than 4.5 million fans saw the show, and the tour became one of Jackson’s most successful in terms of total audience. The tour ended on October 15, 1997 it grossed a total of $163.5 million.
Jackson by this time appears to have needed every bit of money he could make from the sale of the HIStory album and his HIStory World Tour. By November 1995, for example, Jackson had sold a 50 percent stake in the Beatles song catalog he owned for more than $100 million, which one adviser at the time said would help shore up Jackson’s wobbling accounts.
Another view of one of the Michael Jackson statues built to promote his ‘HIStory’ album, displayed at Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
In the photo at left, for example, this Michael Jackson statue from the 1995 promotion is found in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, according to Wikipedia, and may be a permanent installation there. It is quite possible that the remaining Jackson statues have also been placed in other locations following their use in the promotion. Others may have been destroyed, acquired by collectors, or perhaps are stored in a Sony Music warehouse somewhere.
It is known, however, that at the time of their use in 1995, there was a fair amount of criticism of Jackson and Sony for the initiative, some calling it “excessive,” “over the top,” and worse. But hey, Michael Jackson was a showman this is what he did in life, all the world was his stage. He was also a businessman and an entertainment marketer.
In any case, many of Jackson’s fans in 1995, despite his critics, were excited by, and enthusiastic supporters of, his HIStory promotion gig, however overblown it may have seemed to others.
See also at this website, “Michael & McCartney, 1980s-2009,” a story profiling some of the collaborative and feuding history between Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney Jackson’s acquisition of a major Beatles’ song catalog and Jackson’s financial difficulties in his later years. For additional stories on the history of popular music, artist profiles, and selected song analysis, see the “Annals of Music” category page. Thanks for visiting — and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. — Jack Doyle
Date Posted: 30 June 2009
Last Update: 31 March 2019
Comments to: [email protected]
Jack Doyle, “The Jackson Statues, 1995,”
PopHistoryDig.com, June 30, 2009.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
Photo of one of the Jackson statues as used to illustrate DVD box cover.
James Hurley, MSN Music Editor, Photo Slide Show, “Jacko Floats A 30-Foot Statue Of Himself Down The Thames – 1995,” Page viewed, June 27, 2009.
Chris Willman, Pop Music Reviews, “Michael’s Back, and He’s Big…REALLY BIG Jackson’s Self-Aggrandizing Video Promotes a Lot of Audience Hisses Along With His Upcoming Album, ‘HIStory’,” Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1995, p. F-1.
Richard Harrington, ” Is He History? The King of Pop’s Crown Looks Wobbly As He Releases His First Album in 4 Years,” Washington Post, June 18, 1995, p. G-1.
“Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Makeover, The Singer, in His ‘HIStory’ CDs, Is Working Hard to Prove That He’s Been the Victim of Evil Schemes,”Philadelphia Inquirer, June 18, 1995.
Richard Harrington, “‘HIStory’: Jackson’s Past-iche,” Washington Post, June 18, 1995, p. G-11.
Chris Riemenschneider, “Jackson’s Fans Turn Out to Get Their Own Piece of ‘HIStory’,”Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1995.
Richard Harrington, “Michael Jackson Changes His Tune on Lyrics,” Washington Post, June 23, 1995, p F-1.
“Sony’s Group Profit Rises 91 Percent,” New York Times, Friday, August 11, 1995.
Another of the Jackson statues that appears to be in a park. Note young boy near base. Location unknown.
Timothy L. O’Brien, “What Happened to the Fortune Michael Jackson Made?,” New York Times, May 14, 2006.
Photo Slide Show of Michael Jackson, CharlotteObserver.com.
“Michael Jackson Kicks Off `History’ Tour In Prague,” Chicago Tribune, September 3, 1996.
Neil Strauss, “Michael Jackson’s ‘HIStory’ Shows the Growing Stature of Global Marketing,”New York Times, Monday, November 25, 1996.
Reuters, “Jackson Statues,” Video Clip.
Chris Cadman and Craig Halstead, Michael Jackson: For The Record, Authors OnLine Ltd, February 2007, 412 pp.
Iris Nippers, Forever My Thriller: A Collection Of Michael Jackson Poetry And Short Stories, CreateSpace, December 2008, 46 pp.
Bob Jones and Stacy Brown, Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask, New York: Select Books, June 2005, 163 pp.
J.Randy Taraborrelli, Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, Pan Books, June 2004, 400 pp.
Michael Jackson, Thriller 25th Anniversary: The Book, Celebrating the Biggest Selling Album of All Time, ML Publishing Group Ltd., October 2008, 141 pp.
Aphrodite Jones and Tom Mesereau, Michael Jackson Conspiracy, iUniverse, June 2007, 296 pp.
Carrie P. Huang, “HIStory – The Making of The Album COVER,” MJblog, October 16, 2010.
1958-1975: Early life and The Jackson 5 Edit
Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, at St Mary's Mercy Hospital in Gary, Indiana to a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. He was the eighth of Katherine and Joe Jackson's ten children.  Jackson's father Joseph was a steel mill worker.
On January 1, 1964, Jackson and his brother Marlon joined their older brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine's band, The Jackson Brothers, in the band's first public performance. Jackson was six years old. 
When Jackson was 8, he started being the band's main singer with Jermaine. The group's name then changed to The Jackson 5. The group won an important talent show in 1966. In 1968 they were signed to a famous record label called Motown Records. Their first Motown single "I Want You Back" was No.1 in the US.
In 1971, Jackson released his first song singing on his own, "Got to Be There" from his album "Got to Be There". It reached No.4 in the Billboard 100. Three more singles were released from the album.
On August 4, 1972, his second album Ben was released. The single "Ben" was his first solo No.1.
In 1974, Jackson hosted the first American Music Awards with Donny Osmond, Rodney Allen Rippy, and Ricky Segall.
In 1975, The Jackson 5 left Motown. They were signed to CBS Records in June 1975. On CBS Records they changed their name to The Jacksons.
1976-1981: Move to Epic and Off the Wall Edit
In 1976, The Jacksons got their own TV show on CBS. The show was cancelled in March 1977.
On October 24, 1978 a movie called The Wiz was released. The movie was a remake of The Wizard of Oz with all black actors. Jackson acted as Scarecrow.
On December 17, 1978, The Jacksons' twelfth album was released. It was the first album they had produced. Jackson wrote the album's second single "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" with Randy Jackson. It reached No.7 in the US Hot 100.
In December 1978, Jackson started making his first solo album on Epic Records, Off the Wall with Quincy Jones. It was released on August 10, 1979. The album got good reviews and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
The Jacksons' thirteenth album Triumph was released in 1980.
1982-1983: Thriller, and the Grammy Awards Edit
 In 1982 Jackson made "Somewhere in the Dark" for the E.T. soundtrack. It won a Grammy for Best Recording for Children in 1984. That year Jackson won seven other Grammys for his album Thriller.
On October 18, 1982, the first single from Thriller, "The Girl Is Mine", was released. It was sung with Paul McCartney. Some people thought that the album wasn't going to be very good because of the song.
Jackson's sixth solo album Thriller was released on November 30, 1982. Jackson didn't do a tour for the album. This album went on to become the best-selling album of all time.
In 1983 Jackson made three songs with Freddie Mercury. 
1984-1985: Pepsi, "We Are the World", and business career Edit
"Somebody's Watching Me", a single by Rockwell with Jackson singing on the chorus, was released January 14, 1984. It reached number one in Spain and France. 
On January 27, 1984, Michael and other members of the Jacksons filmed a Pepsi Cola commercial. Michael's hair caught on fire and he was rushed to hospital.  Pepsi gave Jackson $1.5 million. He gave it to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California. In May 1984 "Farewell My Summer Love", a song that Jackson made it 1973, was released as a single. It reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart.
The Jacksons' album Victory was released on July 2, 1984. Between July and December 1984 Jackson toured with his brothers. He won eight awards at the 1984 American Music Awards, the most anyone has ever won at once. He also won Best International Solo Artist and Best International Album at the BRIT Awards.
Jermaine Jackson released his tenth album, Jermaine Jackson. Michael sang on a song from the album, "Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming' (Too Good to Be True)". It was nominated for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 1985 Grammy Awards.
In August 1985, Jackson bought music publisher ATV Music for $47.5 million.  They owned the rights to The Beatles.
Jackson wrote "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie in 1985. The song was recorded by USA for Africa. It was released as a single around the world to make money to give to starving people in Africa. It sold over 20 million copies. It also won four Grammy Awards.
1986-1990: Bad, films and autobiography Edit
In August 1987, Bad was released. Jackson wanted it to sell 100 million copies. It has sold over 45 million copies.  Five of the album's seven singles were No.1 in the US. They were "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana". Until Katy Perry's success with her 2010 album Teenage Dream, Jackson was the only musician to ever have had that many singles from one album be No.1. From September 1987 to January 1989, Jackson did the Bad World Tour. This was the first tour that he did on his own. In 1988 Moonwalk, a book that Jackson wrote about his life, was published. It took Jackson four years to write. The book sold 200,000 copies.  Jackson then released Moonwalker, a movie he made. In 1989 some video games about the movie were released by U.S. Gold.
In 1986, Disneyland and EPCOT started showing a short film called Captain EO that had Jackson in it. Jackson sang "You Were There" at Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th birthday. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for it.
The Jacksons released their last album 2300 Jackson Street in 1989. Michael sung on the album's second single 2300 Jackson Street with his brothers and two of their sisters, Janet and Rebbie. Michael was also in the music video for the song.
Jackson won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1989 for "Leave Me Alone". 
1991-1993: Dangerous, Heal the World Foundation, and Super Bowl XXVII Edit
Jackson's eighth studio album Dangerous was released November 26 1991. It was produced with Teddy Riley. It is a new jack swing album. It was Jackson's first album to have a rapper on it. Nine singles were released from the album. On June 27, 1992 Jackson started the Dangerous World Tour. All of the money Jackson made from the tour was given to charities such as the Heal the World Foundation, having grossed $100 million, Jackson performed to 3.5 million people in 70 concerts. The tour was supposed to last until Christmas 1992. However, Jackson ended the tour on November 11, 1993 because he was ill and needed to go to hospital. Jackson performed at the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII in January 1993.
1994-1996: HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I Edit
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, Jackson's ninth studio album, was released July 16 1995. The album has two discs. The first disc is a collection of some of his greatest hits. The second disc is fifteen songs recorded in late 1994 and early 1995. Thirteen of the songs are new. Two of them are cover versions. In August 1995 the album's single "You Are Not Alone" became the first single ever to go straight to No.1 in the US.  HIStory won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The video for the single "Scream" went in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most expensive short film ever made. In 1996, he started his HIStory World Tour and ended in 1997. Jackson performed 82 concerts in five continents, 35 countries and 58 cities to over 4.5 million fans, and grossed a total of $165 million, becoming Jackson's most successful tour in terms of audience figures. Jackson released a short film called Ghosts in 1997. He wrote it with Stephen King.
1997-1999: Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix Edit
In 1997, Blood on the Dance Floor was released. It is the best-selling remix album ever made.  There were five new songs on the album. The album's first single was a new song called "Blood on the Dancefloor". The album and its first single were No.1 in the UK.
2000-2003: Label dispute and Invincible Edit
Jackson won Artist of the 1980s at the American Music Awards in 2000.
On October 30, 2001 Invincible, Jackson's last studio album, was released. The album got good and bad reviews. It was No.1 in 12 countries and sold 13 million copies around the world. But compared to Jackson's earlier albums, it was unsuccessful. The album's first single "You Rock My World" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
Jackson won his 22nd American Music Award for Artist of the Century in 2002. 
On November 17, 2003 an album called Number Ones was released. It is a collection of Jackson's hits. There is also a new song on the album called "One More Chance". It was released as a single. It reached number one in three countries. The album was released as a DVD too.
2004-2009: Final years and This Is It Edit
In 2006, Sony released twenty of Jackson's popular singles.
In March 2009, Jackson told the press that he was going to do a tour called This Is It. He said that he might stop making music after this. Jackson practiced his singing and dancing for the tour in Los Angeles with Kenny Ortega. Jackson died of an overdose of Propofol on June 25, 2009 after having a cardiac arrest, and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
During an Interview on YouTube during the BBC UK Show featuring ""Michael Jackson's This Is It" Michael talked about the future of his career and that he "may" be retiring after his "This is It" Tour, but he wasn't sure if he would or not. However, due to his death in 2009, the show was cancelled. Some show-goers who paid for tickets wanted refunds but the Jackson Estate did not provide any.
Jackson's voice changed from boy soprano to spinto tenor between 1971 and 1975. He sang 'come on' wrongly on purpose so that it sounded like 'shamone'. Jackson had a three-octave vocal range.  He is the most well-known musician to use the 'vocal hiccup'. He first used it in 1973 on "It's Too Late to Change the Time" on The Jackson 5's G.I.T.: Get It Together album.
Jackson lived a well-publicized personal life even though he tried to stay private. He was often in celebrity and tabloid magazines. Later in his life he was in magazines because of his personal life more than for his music.
1993 child sexual abuse allegations Edit
In 1993, he was accused of child molestation, but there was no trial the case was settled out of court.
2003 child sexual abuse allegations Edit
In 2003, he was accused a second time of child molestation. This happened after a documentary called Living with Michael Jackson was shown on TV. In the documentary Jackson held hands with a 12-year-old boy called Gavin Arvizo and said that he shared his bed with children.  His accuser was Gavin Arvizo. He was 13 years old when he made the allegations. This time Jackson went to court and was found not guilty of fourteen charges in 2005.
2013 child molestation allegations Edit
In May 2013, a dancer called Wade Robson appeared on the Today show. He alleged that Jackson sexually abused him for 7 years. Prior to this, Robson had vehemently defended Jackson. Including twice under oath. 
Marriages and children Edit
He was married to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley in 1994, before divorcing her in 1995 and marrying nurse Debbie Rowe in 1996. Three months after Rowe and Jackson's marriage she gave birth to a son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. The next year she gave birth to a daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. The couple divorced on October 8, 1999.  Prince Michael II was born on February 21, 2002. Jackson never said who the mother was. He is better known as Blanket. When Blanket was 8 months old Jackson held him over a balcony. Blanket has a towel over his head. At the time, people did not know that he was called Blanket. Jackson made a public apology after people were upset.  After Jackson died, his mother Katherine was made the guardian of his children. In August 2012, Jackson's cousin TJ was made the children's co-guardian. 
Bubbles (born 1983) is a common chimpanzee, known for being the one-time pet of American recording artist Michael Jackson. Jackson bought the animal from a Texas research facility in the 1980s. The animal was a frequent travel companion to the singer, whose attachment to the animal led to media mockery and, among other factors, to a public perception of Jackson as an eccentric. The chimp, for example, was permitted to use Jackson's personal toilet.  Their human-animal bond, as well as the entertainer's other alleged eccentricities, contributed to the media epithet "Wacko Jacko", a nickname Jackson would eventually come to despise.  The media often focused on Bubbles, rather than on Jackson's music, and published many false stories regarding the animal. One such story was an allegation that Bubbles was not a single ape, but one of several.  
Appearance and health Edit
Over the years, his changing facial appearance and lightening skin color attracted much attention. From childhood Jackson had afro hair. His hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial in 1983. Jackson got second-degree burns to his scalp. Jackson started taking painkillers for the very bad pain caused by the burns. Jackson always wore a wig in his later years. His autopsy found that his scalp was tattooed black so that it blended in with his wigs.
He claimed to have had only a little plastic surgery to his face. He said that puberty, weight loss, and his vegetarian diet had changed his face.  People said that Jackson bleached his skin to make it lighter. In a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993 he said he had a rare skin condition called vitiligo. When Jackson died, the autopsy found that he did have vitiligo. This disease made many white spots on Jackson's skin. Jackson used makeup and medication to even out his skin color to treat his vitiligo. This made Jackson appear to have a lightening skin tone. Jackson also had an immune condition called discoid lupus. Dr. Richard Strick said that this "had destroyed part of the skin of his nose".  Jackson's nose was the body part that people talked about most.
Jackson was addicted to prescription drugs. In 2009 he died from an overdose of an anesthetic called Propofol. He was given Propofol for his insomnia. The insomnia was a side effect of Jackson's addiction to Demerol.  Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray said that Jackson took the overdose himself.
In his autopsy, it was found that he had an enlarged prostate and osteoarthritis. His lips were tattooed pink.  He used a skin-bleaching cream called Benoquin to treat his Vitiligo.
Jackson was physically abused by his father when he was a child. He would also call Jackson "big-nose". As a teenager Jackson had acne. In Living With Michael Jackson, Jackson told Martin Bashir how he went home and cried after a woman called him ugly because of his acne. Some medical professionals have said that they think Jackson had body dysmorphic disorder. The disorder is often triggered by appearance-related bullying. Some people think that Jackson had anorexia nervosa. In 1984, Jackson weighed 105 pounds. He was 5"9 tall. This would have made his BMI 15.5, which is very underweight.  He weighed 136 lbs. when he died. This is in the healthy range. 
A biographer called Ian Halperin wrote that Jackson had a rare genetic disease called Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.  By the time of his death, it had damaged his lungs so he could not sing. He also wrote that Jackson's genetic disease had caused him to lose 95% of the vision in his left eye. 
Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray said that he thought Jackson was "legally blind" and had phlebitis.  
Jackson was announced dead at age 50 on June 25, 2009 at 2:25 pm at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.  It is thought that he went into cardiac arrest, which means his heart stopped.  At 4:36 pm local time, the Los Angeles coroner confirmed Jackson's death.  However, he was unresponsive by 12:15, even though he was not proclaimed dead at the time of hospital arrival, he already passed on by 1pm. Jackson died just two months before his 51st birthday. Rumors and news of Jackson's death broke web records causing a cyberspace traffic jam. The circumstances of his death and the outpouring of grief which was experienced around the world were on record scales never seen before.  His death gave Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo the most page views they had ever encountered.   Jackson arrived at the hospital not showing any signs of life.
Memorial service Edit
A memorial service was held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on July 7, 2009. It began with a reading of a letter by Smokey Robinson of comments by Nelson Mandela, Diana Ross and other close friends of Michael Jackson who could not be at the memorial.  Mariah Carey sang I'll Be There at the memorial service, followed by a speech given by Queen Latifah. Lionel Richie performed "Jesus is Love". Berry Gordy, Motown founder, spoke next, offering condolences. Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson also spoke, with Magic describing the event as a "celebration of Jackson's life and works" rather than a funeral. Jennifer Hudson sung Will You Be There accompanied by a music video. Reverend Al Sharpton then gave a speech about how Jackson kept rising and "never stopped". John Mayer played the guitar as he did in Michael Jackson's song Human Nature. This was followed by Brooke Shields speaking. Jermaine Jackson, Jackson's older brother, then performed Smile, Michael's favorite song written by comic drama legend Charlie Chaplin. This was proceeded by speeches by Martin Luther King III and Bernice King. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was the next person who spoke at the memorial service, claiming "people are innocent until proven guilty," (reminding those who accused Jackson of unproven child molestations) saying that Jackson's humanitarian efforts need to be praised. Usher then sang "Gone Too Soon," followed by a montage of old videos of Jackson himself. Shamim sang next, with Kenny Ortega introducing him afterwards. Kenny Ortega explained that Michael Jackson saw the Staples Center as his home, a reason for the funeral service to be held there. This was followed by Kenny Ortega doing a tribute to him, including We Are the World and Heal the World. The service ended with speeches by members of his family, including Jermaine, Marlon and daughter Paris who broke into tears and said that "Daddy was the best father anyone could have" and also that "I will miss him" then she left the microphone and turned into Janet Jackson's arms. The memorial lasted over 2 hours.
At first, Michael Jackson's custom made quarter million dollar golden casket, nicknamed "The Promethean" was not expected to appear at the memorial service, however, due to a change in the family's plans the casket was taken to the memorial service. 
Viewing parties were held all over the world for the broadcast, including at several movie theaters, in Times Square, the Apollo Theater, Raleigh, and Berlin.  The broadcast was replayed a few times the next day. An estimated 1 billion people tuned into the farewell concert.
Over 3,000 police officers were assigned to the event, the largest amount assigned to a single event since the 1984 Summer Olympics.  It cost the City of Los Angeles 1.4 million dollars.  His funeral took place in Glendale California on September 3, 2009, 9 weeks after he died. He was laid to rest at 9:45pm in the mausoleum, above the ground. Mother Katherine decided on burial details but some family members and friends wanted him buried below ground in the mausoleum. Jermaine Jackson wanted him buried on Neverland ranch. 
Although he died in 2009, Jackson is still often in the news. His music is also still popular.
2009-2010: Michael Jackson's This Is It and Michael Jackson: The Experience Edit
Jackson won Entertainer of the Year at the 2009 Soul Train Awards. That year he also won five American Music Awards. 
On October 26, 2009 a two-disc album called Michael Jackson's This Is It was released. The album's only single "This Is It" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2011. On October 28, 2009 Michael Jackson's This Is It was released. It was a documentary movie. The movie showed recordings of Jackson's rehearsals for his This Is It tour. Jackson died before he could do the tour. It made $72,091,016 in the United States. It has made $261,183,588 around the world. It got good reviews from movie critics. On 26 January 2010 the movie was released on DVD. It sold over 1.5million copies in the US in the first week it was released. This was more than any other music DVD had sold in its first week. 
Jackson won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. His children, Prince and Paris collected the award for Jackson.
A video game called Michael Jackson: The Experience was released in November 2010 for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and Wii.
2011-2012: California v. Murray and Bad 25 Edit
In April 2011 Mohamed Al-Fayed, who was friends with Jackson when he was alive, showed the public a 7 ft 6in statue of Jackson outside Craven Cottage football stadium. A lot of people did not like the statue. In July 2013 Fayed sold his football club to Shahid Khan. In September 2013 Khan chose to have the statue was removed. It was given back to Fayed.  Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson, a book written by Joseph Vogel about Jackson's life, was published in 2011.
Jackson was voted as the Greatest Singer of All Time by people who did a poll on NME.com. 
In 2011 there was a criminal trial for Jackson's doctor Conrad Murray. Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter of Jackson. He was sentenced to four years in prison. On October 28, 2013 Murray was released from prison. He was interviewed by 60 Minutes. He said that he did not think that Jackson's death was his fault in any way. The journalist Liz Hayes asked Murray if he thought that Jackson was a pedophile. Murray stared at her for 13 seconds and would not give an opinion. He said that he would not answer because he did not want to make anything up. 
An extinct species of hermit crab was called Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni after Jackson in January 2012. 
Bad 25, a documentary movie about Jackson's album Bad, was released in August 2012.
In 2012 he sold almost 819,000 albums in the United States. He is thought to have sold 2.7 million albums around the world in 2012. His estate makes $145 million a year. 
2013-2014: Xscape Edit
Jackson made more money than any other dead celebrity in 2013. 
In May 2013 Wade Robson said that Jackson sexually abused him from the age of 7 to 14. In 2005 he had been a defense witness for Jackson's child molestation trial.  In June 2014 there will be a hearing where it is decided whether Robson can sue Jackson's estate over the abuse. 
In November 2013 Billboard magazine's issue 44 did a cover with Michael on it. It said 'Life After Death'. Inside the magazine there was an article about the success of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. 
In January 2014 a judge ruled that Jackson's family could not have another trial against AEG Live.  Xscape was released on May 9, 2014. 
Recent releases Edit
Jackson recorded several songs before his death. He had recently released a compilation album called "Michael" featuring remixed songs and new songs such as "Hold My Hand" a duet between him and popular singer Akon, and "Monster", a strong song with lots of attitude and a hint of dislike for the paparazzi. Also "(I Like) The Way You Love Me", "Keep Your Head Up", and "Much Too Soon".
HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
Michael Jackson's double-disc HIStory: Past, Present, and Future, Book I is a monumental achievement of ego. Titled "HIStory Begins," the first disc is a collection of his post-Motown hits, featuring some of the greatest music in pop history, including "Billie Jean," "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Beat It," and "Rock with You." It leaves some hits out -- including the number ones "Say Say Say" and "Dirty Diana" -- yet it's filled with enough prime material to be thoroughly intoxicating. That can't be said for the second disc, called "HIStory Continues" and consisting entirely of new material -- which also happens to be the first material he released since being accused of child molestation. "HIStory Continues" is easily the most personal album Jackson has recorded. References to the scandal permeate almost every song, creating a thick atmosphere of paranoia. If Jackson's music had been the equal of Thriller or Bad, the nervous, vindictive lyrics wouldn't have been quite as overbearing. However, "HIStory Continues" reiterates musical ideas Jackson had been exploring since Bad. Jackson certainly tries to stay contemporary, yet he has a tendency to smooth out all of his rougher musical edges with show-biz schmaltz. Occasionally, Jackson produces some well-crafted pop that ranks with his best material: R. Kelly's "You Are Not Alone" is seductive, "Scream" improves on the slamming beats of his earlier single "Jam," and "Stranger in Moscow" is one of his most haunting ballads. Nevertheless, "HIStory Continues" stands as his weakest album since the mid-'70s.