When the distinguishable tune of ‘Beat It’ plays on a speaker anywhere, one can’t help but immediately see a mental image of Michael Jackson in his embellished red leather jacket, walking sideways and snapping his fingers to the beat. A lot of great singers have that one, or maybe two, iconic songs but no one comes close to the number of iconic songs that eventually grew to represent an entire genre, as the celebrated King of Pop. ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘Heal the World’, ‘Black or White’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Thriller’, ‘Earth Song’, ‘Bad’… The list is literally never-ending! And as if his ridiculous pitch, perfectly smooth voice, brilliant lyrics, and catchy tunes were not enough, the man was also an amazing dancer! Not only is MJ considered one of the greatest entertainers of all time, he is also one of the most controversial. As a result, Michael Jackson is probably the single most famous musician of our time. June 25 marked ten years since the day we lost this great prodigy and it’s safe to say the world hasn’t seen another like him. Come with us as we explore the legacy of the one and the only, Michael Jackson!
Michael Joseph Jackson was the eighth child born in the Jackson family on August 29, 1958 and made his debut as a singer at the tender age of six as a member of the Jackson 5. Needless to say, the pint-sized Michael packed an impressive punch even with his childish voice and quickly began to take front stage over his older siblings. It was evident right from the start that Michael was gifted, so it wasn’t long before he broke off from his siblings and started his solo career as a 13-year-old. He rose to fame in the early 80s, and when he put out his album Thriller, the world fell in love with him. From there on, it was a steep upward soar through the 90s as he toured endlessly and captivated the hearts of millions with his most famous dance move, the moonwalk. His artistic work has inspired and still continues to inspire people all over the world to this day. His iconic style of dance, piercing notes, and unapologetically audacious fashion sense – oh boy!
Michael Jackson has racked up No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 and 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, of which ‘You Are Not Alone’ happens to be the first single in history to debut at No. 1 on the list. He is also credited with having smashed through racial boundaries set by leading music channels such as MTV, paving the way for African-American artists to be featured more on mainstream media. Jackson has literally won hundreds of awards, and is attributed to being the creator of the only music video to have been inducted into the National Film Registry with ‘Thriller’. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice and is the only pop or rock artist to have even been inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame. The artist’s list of accomplishments is almost unparalleled and he became a living legend by the early 2000s.
As most incredibly successful stars, Jackson started to become the subject of controversy that began with his appearance changing dramatically in the mid-80s. His skin tone gradually grew paler until it went from medium-brown to an almost paper-white shade towards the end of his life. There also seemed to be a definite change in the shape of his nose and other minor changes that fans observed over the years. The superstar’s controversies, however, weren’t just skin-deep. His relationships, behaviour, and lifestyle all seemed to upset people, but the scandal reached its peak when he was accused of child abuse. The court cases on him were all settled eventually and many of his ardent supporters continued to stand by him in spite of everything. This was the cult-like adoration that Michael Jackson inspired in people around the world, so naturally, when he announced his big comeback, This Is It, fans were ecstatic!
This Is It was to be Michael Jackson’s last run, as it were; he intended to retire after the series of concerts that was to take place between July 13 2009 and March 6 2010. However, billions of hearts broke on June 25, just a couple of weeks before his tour was to begin when the King of Pop succumbed to a cardiac arrest. Jackson’s emotional memorial service had the largest live audience viewing in history and left the world mourning the loss of the greatest entertainer to have ever performed. This Is It was eventually released as a soundtrack album, followed by The Definitive Collection, Michael, Immortal, and Michael Jackson’s Vision. In 2014, fans were delighted to be able to witness Michael Jackson on stage one last time during his posthumous Cirque du Soleil concert tour,
Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour where audiences got to see Michael’s hologram stomp around on stage and break into some of his most iconic moves as his voice filled the stadiums and over 60 musicians, dancers, and acrobats put up an extravagant spectacle.
Today, a decade after his passing, Michael Jackson’s legacy lives on in the hearts of millions of his hard-core fans around the world who adore him and several more artists who do their very best to ape him. He is and forever will remain an icon in the world of music, dance, and fashion. The world may never see another King of Pop. --- Tanya