We Remember: Michael Joseph Jackson

It’s been five years since the death of the greatest pop artist the world has ever seen.  Upon this realization, a veil of melancholy falls upon the hearts of generations of fans who remember Michael Jackson through all of his many talented, and sometimes troubled phases.

Born in 1958 in Gary, Indiana to Joseph and Katherine Jackson, Michael was a child prodigy without comparison. From the very beginning, it was clear that he was a genius without measure with smooth dance moves gleaned from studying the great James Brown, with the singing voice of an angel.    

He was the eighth child in a musical dynasty, performing with his brothers Jermaine, Tito, and Marlon early on.  Mike began singing with the Jackson 5 in 1964, after winning talent competitions in their hometown of Gary, IN, Chicago and Harlem.  Signed to Steeltown Records, they would eventually catch the ear of Berry Gordy and be signed to Motown years after initially being rejected by the label.

“I Want You Back” was their first hit, followed by “ABC” and “The Love You Save."  Each song prominently featured Michael’s signature vocals.  To bolster record sales, Motown decided to launch Michael’s solo career in 1971 at the tender age of 14-years-old. However, he would continue performing with the Jackson 5, and their latter incarnation as The Jacksons, until 1984.

His solo catalog includes Got to Be There (1971), Ben (1972), Music & Me (1973), Forever, Michael (1975), Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991),  HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995) and Invincible (2001).  There were also two posthumous albums released Michael (2010) and Xscape (2014).   

During a 1993 interview on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Michael Jackson opened up about his childhood, saying it was "lonely" and "isolated" and that the emotional abuse he suffered at the hands of his father played a role in his desire to remain in a childlike state throughout his adult years. He also mentioned that his father's verbal abuse led to him being dissatisfied with his personal appearance, which one can hypothesize was directly correlated to his desire for plastic surgery and lighter skin as an adult.

Although Michael Jackson's abilities were without question, a life spent in the spotlight seemed to take a toll on the King of Pop.  He had a well-publicized compulsion for plastic surgery and charges of child molestation that dogged him since 1993. Though he was acquitted of one charge, he settled out of court at the behest of his love, Lisa Marie Presley, in another instance.

He died on June 25, 2009 of a questionable drug-induced cardiac arrest that the Los Angeles County Coroner would rule a homicide. Conrad Murray, his personal physician, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Ending in a rash of drama, just like the path of his life, through all of the ups and downs, fans of Mijac were steadfastly loyal to him to the very end. Always remembering the feel good, positive, vibe of light that lifted millions across the globe in life, Michael Jackson will forever be the greatest even in death.

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