When I mention the King of Pop, almost everyone knows who I’m talking about. But how much do you really know about Michael Jackson?
Michael Joseph Jackson was born on August 28, 1958 and began his world-famous career from childhood. In 1964, Michael joined the Jackson 5, a band involving his brothers that soon blossomed into an international hit and allowed Michael to become a solo star as well. Off the Wall (1979) was Jackson’s chance to launch into the public’s eye, and with over 20 million copies, it remains one of the best-selling albums of all time. Michael then released Thriller, the best-selling album on record, with such hits as “Billy Jean” and “Beat It.” Jackson’s health began to deteriorate in the 80’s as his skin became noticeably paler, the result of the condition vitiligo (and potentially lupus). Despite being constantly dizzy and experiencing dramatic weight loss, Jackson released Bad after a five-year absence from music and performed before an estimated audience of 4.5 million people during his subsequent world tour, seemingly as strong as ever.
The famous “King of Pop” nickname is attributed to Elizabeth Taylor in 1989 (though she went on to call him the king of rock and soul as well), and Jackson’s popularity was such that he performed during Super Bowl XXVII’s halftime show, drawing an audience of over 90 million people. After a number of child abuse allegations, Jackson announced a retirement tour titled This is It, set for mid- 2009. However, Jackson died on June 28, 2009, after overdosing on sleeping medications three weeks before his first concert. Connor Murphy, Jackson’s personal physician, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter as a result of his prescriptions.
Michael Jackson remains the highest-earning deceased individual, and despite his death he will be remembered forever as the King of Pop.
While I’m on the subject of music, I will also pay tribute to another famous musician whose career ended too soon, Swedish DJ and record producer Avicii, best-known for his singles Levels and Wake Me Up, the latter being one of the most-viewed songs of all time. Avicii was one of the artists I have enjoyed listening to most, and his death is an incredible tragedy.