By: Christopher FIsher
“Let the boy sing if he wants to sing!” said Mama Martha
“You want to sing, Michael?”
The five-year-old face of Michael lights up as Joseph turns on the music. What came next shocked everyone. He sang beautifully, worked the floor and played the mic like a pro.
This was the first time he performed. A two bedroom, one bathroom home at 2300 Jackson Street, Gary, Indiana as his stage and his nine brothers and sisters as his audience.
Today Michael Jackson is recognised as the most successful entertainer of all time. His contributions to the entertainment industry laid the very foundations upon which most of today’s artists are built. His music videos, including the likes of Billie Jean and Thriller, are credited with transforming the once dull and boring music video into a form of art as well as a promotional tool. The unprecedented popularity of his music videos helped to launch MTV, drawing in audiences from around the world.
The 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time. He is one of very few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. Some of Jacksons awards and achievements include:
- 13 Grammy Awards,
- 26 American Music awards
- 86 Billboard Awards
- 75 MTV Awards
- 38 World Music Awards
- 31 Guinness World Records
- 13 number one singles
As well as an estimated 400 million records sold worldwide making him the most awarded artist of all time. Since his death he has also been named the most downloaded artist. Jackson travelled the world, up keeping his image as a humanitarian and he is recognised by the Guinness World of Records for supporting 39 charities.
There are various aspects of Jackson’s life that helped to create the overwhelming sense of controversy surrounding his name. His personal appearance, behaviour and relationships added to this but most notably it was the accusations of sexual child abuse during the mid 1990’s. It was only in 2005 that Jackson was tried and acquitted of all charges after the jury found him not guilty on all counts.
Jackson’s constantly changing appearance and what seemed to be countless plastic surgeries also created quite the stir within the media and public. His change of skin colour has been attributed to vitiligo, a rare skin disease resulting in the loss of the skins pigmentation.
On 25 June 2009 Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication after going into cardiac arrest. Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide and his personal physician, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
His death came shortly after his announcement of a 50-concert comeback tour “This Is It”. The death of Michael Jackson resulted in a global outpouring and his memorial service was the second most viewed in history after Princess Diana with over 31 million viewers from around the world. According to billboard.com the Jackson estate has earned over $1 billion since the death of Michael.
Jackson has had an undeniable influence on everyone from Akon to Madonna.
“I can’t stop crying over the sad news. I’ve always admired Michael Jackson – the world has lost one of its greats, but his music will live on forever. – Madonna
“The incomparable Michael Jackson has made a bigger impact on music than any other artist in the history of music. He was magic. He was what we all strive to be. … I love you Michael.”- Beyonce Knowles
“Michael Jackson showed me that you can actually see the beat. He made the music come to life. He made me believe in magic. I will miss him.”- P Diddy
Through all the controversy Jackson remained dedicated to his music, his family, his philanthropy and his fans.
His legacy will live on forever, immortalised in his music.