The “King of Pop” Michael Jackson doesn’t need any introduction. The American musician, also known for his dance techniques, died tragically in June 2009 but his legacy has remained for eternity. The 13-time Grammy winner Jackson faced several ups and downs varying from major success in the world music industry to several controversies including child sexual abuse. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold over 350 million records worldwide.
Jackson started his music career as a member of Jackson 5 with his elder brothers in 1964. He later pursued a solo career in 1971. He went on to release 10 solo studio albums, 1 live album, 34 compilation albums, and 7 remix albums. He holds several world records and has received more awards than any other artist in the history of popular music. He died at the age of 50 in June 2009 from an overdose of sedatives administered by his personal physician, Conrad Murray.
10 Things You May Not Have Known About King of Pop
1. Michael Jackson started his professional career at the age of 6
Michael Jackson started his musical journey at an early age. He was only 6 years old when he joined the Jackson 5 with his older siblings. The group released 16 studio albums. The group is currently known as The Jacksons. Michael Jackson pursued his solo career in 1971.
2. His sixth studio album, Thriller is the best-selling album of all time in the world
Michael Jackson released his sixth studio album, Thriller in 1982. The album includes hit singles “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”. The album went on to become the best-selling album of all time in the US, as well as best-selling worldwide. His album sold over 66 million copies worldwide.
3. Michael Jackson moonwalk dance
Michael Jackson learned moonwalk dance from Jeffrey Daniel for three years. He debuted his moonwalk dance wearing a glove decorated with decorated rhinestones at an NBC television special, Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever in March 1983. His dance went on to become his signature dance.
4. He Won record 8 Grammys at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards
Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album, Thriller went on to win record-breaking 8 Grammys at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards. He won 8 Grammys for Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance Male, Record of the Year, Best Rock Vocal Performance Male, Best R&B Vocal Performance Male, Best Rhythm & Blue Song, Best Recording for Children, and Producer of the Year Non-Classical.
He has won a total of 13 Grammy Awards from 38 nominations throughout his career. He has also received the Grammy Legend Award as well as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Five of his recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
5. Michael Jackson Won Record 26 American Music Awards
Michael Jackson not only holds the record for most American Music Awards wins in a single ceremony, but he also holds the record for most AMAs by a male artist to date. He has 26 AMAs altogether including “Artist of the Century” and “Artist of the 1980s”.
6. Michael Jackson holds 39 Guinness Book of World Records
The Guinness Book of World Records has awarded the legendary singer Michael Jackson 39 times. Some of his records include The Best Selling Album of All Time (Thriller), Best Selling Music Video, Most Successful Entertainer of All Time, First Entertainer to Earn More Than 100 Million Dollars in a Year, Most Grammy Awards Won in a Single Year (8), Highest Grossing Tour by a Male Solo Artist, and Highest-Earning Deceased Artist among others.
7. Michael Jackson has record 13 number-one singles in the US
Michael Jackson also holds the record for 13 number-one singles in the US by a male artist in the Hot 100 era.
His number one singles are
2. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
3. “Rock With You”
4. “Billie Jean”
5. “Beat It”
6. “Say Say Say”
7. “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” with Siedah Garrett
9. “The Way You Make Me Feel”
10. “Man in the Mirror”
11. “Dirty Dana”
12. “Black or White”
13. “You Are Not Alone”
8. Michael Jackson burned his hair while filming Pepsi commercial
Michael Jackson signed a record-breaking celebrity endorsement deal for $5 million with Pepsi in 1983. While filming one of the Pepsi commercials, the pyrotechnics accidentally set Jackson’s hair on fire causing second-degree burns to his scalp. Jackson had to undergo treatment to hide the scars. He also had his third rhinoplasty to hide the burn scars. Pepsi settled out of court with Jackson. Jackson donated $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California. Its Michael Jackson Burn Center is named in his honor.
Pepsi signed a second endorsement deal with Jackson for $10 million in the late 1980s.
9. Michael Jackson Faced Several Child Sexual Abuse Allegations
Michael Jackson not only gained worldwide popularity via his music but also from several child sexual abuse allegations. He was first accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. The 13-year-old boy accused Jackson that they had engaged in acts of kissing, masturbation, and oral sex. The case was settled out of court for $25 million. Jackson did not face criminal charges then.
Jackson faced a second child abuse allegation in 2003. He was charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of intoxicating a minor with alcoholic drinks. Jackson denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Jackson would have faced up to 20 years in prison. However, he was acquitted on all counts.
Choreographer Wade Robson filed a lawsuit against Jackson in 2013 that Jackson had sexually abused him for seven years, beginning when he was seven years old. James Safechuck filed a case in 2014 that Jackson sexually abused him over a 4-year period from the age of 10. Robson and Safechuck’s allegations were documented in the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland.
10. Michael Jackson Underwent Several Cosmetic Surgeries
Michael Jackson received criticism that he was trying to appear white following the vast changes in his appearance. He had undergone extensive cosmetic surgery from the mid-1980s. He reportedly underwent nose surgery, forehead lift, cheekbone surgery, lips surgery among others. He had reportedly undergone 10 procedures by 1990. Later, he was diagnosed with skin disorder vitiligo resulting in white patches on the skin and sensitivity to sunlight. He started using skin whitening prescription creams to cover up the uneven blotches of color on his face. These creams further lightened his skin and drove massive criticism. Following his death, his autopsy confirmed that he had vitiligo.
11. Michael Jackson’s Death Was Ruled Homicide
Michael Jackson died of a drug overdose on 25 June 2009. His personal physician, Conrad Murray had given Jackson various medications to help him sleep. He had taken propofol, lorazepam, and midazolam and his death were caused by a propofol overdose. Several high profile celebrities attended his memorial.
The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled in August 2009 that Jackson’s death was a homicide and Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter in February 2010. He was later convicted and sentenced to 4 years in prison.