From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In 2013, choreographer Wade Robson and James Safechuck filed a $1.5 billion-dollar civil lawsuit claiming Jackson had sexually abused them as children. On May 16, 2013, Robson alleged on The Today Show that Jackson had abused him for seven years, beginning when Robson was seven years old. Robson had previously testified in defense of Jackson in the 2005 trial. On December 19, 2017, Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff dismissed the lawsuit because Robson had filed too late. The documentary Leaving Neverland (2019) covers Jackson's alleged sexual abuse of Robson and Safechuck. Many radio stations, including some in New Zealand, Canada, and the UK, removed Jackson's music from their playlists in response to the new allegations in the documentary.
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), commonly known as MJ as well as "The King of Pop was an American musician, entertainer, and pop icon whose successful career and personal life have been a part of pop culture for almost 40 years. In the early 1980s, he became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. The popularity of his music videos airing on MTV, such as "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller"—widely credited with transforming the music video from a promotional tool into an art form—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame.
Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is widely regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers of all time. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.
The eighth child of the Jackson family, Michael made his professional debut in 1964 with his elder brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5. He began his solo career in 1971 while at Motown Records, and in the early 1980s, became a dominant figure in popular music. His music videos, including those for "Beat It", "Billie Jean", and "Thriller" from his 1982 album Thriller, are credited with breaking racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. Their popularity helped bring the television channel MTV to fame. Bad (1987) was the first album to produce five US Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles. He continued to innovate throughout the 1990s with videos such as "Black or White" and forged a reputation as a touring artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized complicated dance techniques such as the robot and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style have influenced artists of various genres.
Jackson is the third-best-selling music artist of all time, with estimated sales of over 350 million records worldwide.
Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with estimated sales of 66 million copies worldwide. Jackson's other albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world's best-selling. He won hundreds of awards, more than any other artist in the history of popular music, is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and is the only dancer from pop and rock to have been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame. His other achievements include Guinness world records (including the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time), 15 Grammy Awards (including the Legend and Lifetime Achievement awards), 26 American Music Awards (more than any other artist), and 13 number-one US singles (more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era). Jackson is also remembered for his philanthropy and charitable fundraising.
In the late 1980s, Jackson became a figure of controversy due to his changing appearance, relationships, and behavior. In 1993, he was accused of sexually abusing the child of a family friend; the case led to an investigation and was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount in 1994. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges. In 2009, while preparing for a series of comeback concerts, This Is It, Jackson died of acute intoxication from propofol and benzodiazepine given to him by his personal physician, Conrad Murray. Jackson's death caused worldwide expressions of grief, and his public memorial service was broadcast live. In 2014, Jackson became the first artist in history to have a top ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades. In 2016, Jackson's estate earned $825 million, the highest yearly amount ever recorded by Forbes.
- Got to Be There (1972)
- Ben (1972)
- Music and Me (1973)
- Forever, Michael (1975)
- Off the Wall (1979)
- Thriller (1982)
- Bad (1987)
- Dangerous (1991)
- HIStory (1995)
- Invincible (2001)