The King of Pop is no more. He was pronounced dead after arriving at a Los Angeles hospital in full cardiac arrest. He was 50. He remains the greatest entertainer of recent times. Entering popular music charts in early 1980s, he was the first African-American artist to gain constant airplay on MTV when Billie Jean, the music video in which the common people saw the Moonwalk for the first time, topped the charts. Before going solo he used to perform in The Jackson Five which was one of the biggest pop-music phenomena of the 1970s. Under the production of Quincy Jones he released his first solo album Off The Wall in 1979.
Off The Wall reached number three on the Billboard 200 and has since been certified for 7 million shipments in the US and eventually sold over 20 million copies worldwide. In 1980, Jackson secured the highest royalty rate in the music industry: 37% of wholesale album profit. In 1982 he came up with Thriller which is cited as having sold between 47 and 109 million copies worldwide. It won a record breaking seven Grammy awards in 1984. During this era The New York Times wrote: In the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else.
Bad was released on August 31, 1987 by Epic/CBS Records. It was highly anticipated and was a substantial commercial success despite having lower sales than Thriller. The album release was followed by the Bad World Tour which lasted for one and a half years. Jackson broke a Guinness World Record when 504,000 people attended seven sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium. In 1988, Jackson released his first autobiography, Moon Walk, which reached the top position in The New York Times best sellers’ list. These were the years when his success led to his being dubbed the “King of Pop”. President Senior Bush presented the singer with The White House’s special “Artist of the Decade” award in recognition of Jackson’s musical influence in the 1980s.
Jackson co-produced and released Dangerous in 1991. It became his second to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, where it spent the next four consecutive weeks. The album’s music videos were among the most costly and innovative of their time. Several of the music videos taken from the Dangerous album had complex storylines and dance sequences, and featured cameo appearances by celebrities. The music video of Black or White was originally over ten minutes long, premiering simultaneously on November 14, 1991 on MTV, VH1, BET, and FOX.
The video featured one of the earliest examples of computer-generated morphing. The last four minutes of the video also induced much controversy, as it depicted Jackson smashing store windows and destroying a car with a crowbar. The year 1993 saw him being accused of child abuse by Evan Chandler. On January 25, 1994 Jackson settled a civil suit out of court. The accusation together with many other controversies had a negative effect on his commercial appeal in the following years.
He released the double album series HIStory in 1995 which won a Grammy. His final studio album, Invincible, was released in October 2001, six years after the release of HIStory. The sales for Invincible were notably low compared to his previous releases, due in part to a diminishing pop music industry, the lack of promotion, no supporting world tour and the label dispute. In 2003, Jackson was charged with seven counts of child sexual abuse and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent in order to commit that felony.
The episode received much media attention and marked one of the most vulnerable phases of his life. On June 13, 2005, the People Vs Jackson jury found Jackson not guilty on all charges. During a publicity press conference given in March 2009, Jackson made suggestions of possible retirement. His shocking death has caused an outpour of grief among fans not seen since the deaths of Elvis Presley and John Lennon. His absence will be genuinely felt for years to come.