Michael Jackson will forever be The King of Pop although he no longer lives. His legacy will never fade and continue to influence many generations to come. Fire years after his passing, a new album called "Xscape" to honor his memory is scheduled to be released. Songs from his leftover vault are carefully chosen by his estate to follow up his first posthumous album in 2010.
Born Michael Joseph Jackson on August 29, 1958, Jacko is the seventh of nine siblings, Rebbie Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, LaToya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Randy Jackson, and Janet Jackson, who were all raised in a strict Jehovah's Witnesses. But in 1987, he left the religion after the shunning of his sister LaToya.
Due to the strict belief that forbid leisure activities, the children of Joseph Jackson and Katherine Jackson were all kept locked in the house, a tiny two-bedroom, while Joseph worked at night. However, the children secretly sneaked out from Joseph's sight to practice singing and playing music. Eventually, the father who reportedly was physically abusive to his children knew and decided to be their manager alongside his wife.
Their musical career started as Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael formed The Jackson 5 in the mid 1960s. The group signing to Motown Records in 1968 opened the road to success, especially for Jacko as the lead singer. After fourteen albums with his siblings, he launched his solo debut LP "Got to Be There" (1972) and made hit album "Off the Wall" in 1979. His #1 singles included "Rock With You" and "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough".
Since then up to 2004, Michael's physical appearance changed drastically. He was reported being addicted to extensive plastic surgery although he insisted to have only three operations. He said that the first two were a rhinoplasty to repair a broken nose after a dancing accident in 1978, and the third was a surgical operation of a cleft in his chin. The operations affected his skin condition so that he used a mask or makeup to protect his face.
The controversies didn't deter Jacko from continuing his passion in music. His next album "Thriller" (1982) became a much bigger hit around the globe, propelling him to worldwide stardom. The album was sold 26 million copies in the U.S. and 53 million worldwide, and certified by Guinness Book of Records as the biggest selling popular music album of all time. He also made history with his "Billie Jean" video which became the first black artist video to be aired on MTV.
For his achievement in music, Michael won numerous awards, including 8 Golden Gramophones at the 1984 Grammy Awards alone. The King of Pop was awarded the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the same year and then was listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. His amazing talent as a songwriter was recognized by the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. In the same year, he also received a Millennium Bambi Award in Berlin, Germany, for being the greatest living pop icon.
Michael hit the road for his first solo tour after the release of album "Bad" in 1987. Amidst his busy schedule of recording and performing, the pop singer famous for his moonwalk dance move managed to launch a collection of short films entitled "Michael Jackson: Moonwalker" and an autobiography "Moon Walk".
Thanks to his many success albums, Jacko was able to pursue his personal dreams. Due to his "lost childhood" and part of him that not wanting to grow up, he built a playground in his home named after Peter Pan mythology, Neverland, where children were welcomed to visit and explore the ground. It contained a small zoo and amusement park where he often invited children, especially the sick and the poor, to visit and have some fun.
His loves for children, sadly, backfired as he was later accused of child molestation. He was claimed of sharing his bed with some of his young guests. "Why can't you share your bed? The most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone. It's very charming. It's very sweet. It's what the whole world should do," said Michael in an attempt to deny the charges.
The alleged accusations shocked his worldwide fanatics. Through his "Heal the World" and "Heal the Kids" foundations, he financially supported programs focusing on child-immunization, HIV-AIDS, education and Apartheid. He also took part in projects to build hospitals, orphanages, homes and schools. Along with Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie, and many other artists, he joined "We are the World" initiative and raised millions of money to help starving people in Africa.
In the middle of a chaotic mixture between facts and false accusations, Michael continued to make records and launched his next album "Dangerous" in 1991. The album, including the successful and innovative videos of "Jam," "Remember the Time," "Black or White," "In the Closet" and "Heal the World," somehow distracted people's attention from his court case. The videos featured cameo appearances by celebrities like Michael Jordan, Eddie Murphy, Iman, Magic Johnson, Naomi Campbell, and Macaulay Culkin.
Later in 1994, Michael made headlines as he suddenly tied a knot with Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley, but their marriage only lasted 18 months. Lisa felt he only used her to avoid the alleged charges. Shortly after the divorce, Michael married to Debbie Rowe in 1996 and divorced in 1999 after having a son, Prince Michael, and a daughter, Paris Katherine. In 2002, he had another son, Prince Michael II, this time with a surrogate mother whose identity was hidden. He caused backlash after holding the infant over the edge of the railing of the sky-high Adlon hotel in Berlin.
Amidst the chaos in his personal life, Jacko released a double-disc album "HIStory" (1995) containing his greatest hits and new songs such as "Childhood", "You Are Not Alone", "Earth Song" and "They Don't Care About Us". Another single called "Scream" is a collaboration with his sister Janet and dubbed the most expensive music video ever made with an estimate budget of 7 million dollar. Unfortunately, the album failed to match the success of his previous records. Nevertheless, more greatest hits collection and remixed CDs were released.
A brand new album "Invicible" was eventually launched in 2001.It didn't quite meet the expectation, and only two singles "Rock My World" and "Butterfly" were released in America. Worse, various international banks claimed in October 2002 that Michael was in financial trouble and had millions of dollars in debt. Legal dispute with his former financial adviser, Union Finance and Investment Corp. of South Korea, soon followed. In early 2003, he also faced a handful of indictments for alleged conspiracy, kidnapping plot and extortion.
Amidst the many legal battles including tax lawsuits he was facing, Jacko was able to breathe relief after he's cleared from any charges in the controversial child molestation case that could send him to jail for 20 years if he's convicted. An effort for musical comeback then came in a form of a single titled "One More Chance," which was written by R. Kelly and released on November 21, 2003. His hard work paid off when the album went on to become #1 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Singles for three straight weeks.
The King of Pop was at the center of lawsuit again in 2005 as he was slapped with another child molestation allegation that sent him back and forth the court for nearly four months before the long and tiring court battle finally came to an end on June 13, 2005, with Michael been acquitted for such other charges.
He was back focusing on his music career and worked on a comeback album in may 2006. Despite rumors of collaborations with will.i.am, Akon, Kanye West and Ne-Yo, not a single album was released except for compilations, remix, and reissue packages. In 2006, his Neverland ranch was closed for public due to maintenance cost that he could no longer afford because of his growing dept.
As his album was never completed, the singer who was infamously known for putting masks on his children's faces got a second chance for comeback with a series of concerts at London's O2 Arena. Dubbed "This Is It", it was announced as his "final curtain call." It was supposed to kick off July 13, 2009 and could have been his answer to his financial struggle, but all dashed when he died on June 25 that year.
He passed away in his bed at his rented mansion at 100 North Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles. His fans around the world mourned the loss of a legend and caused a number of websites including Wikipedia crashed as his devotees were searching information about his death, life, and legacy. It was called a "seminal moment in Internet history" as web traffic was much higher than normal.
Though the tour was ultimately canceled, fans got to see its behind-the-scene look in a movie "This Is It". It featured a lot of footage of Jacko rehearsing for the comeback concert and commentaries from friends and families during the rehearsals. A posthumous self-titled album was then released by his estate.
After his passing, Katherine got custody of his three minor children. But his death led to a multimillion dollars battle filed by his mother Katherine against AEG Live, the "This Is It" promoter. The Jackson matriarch accused the company of negligently employing Conrad Murray who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for administering propofol.