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Digital Subscriptions > Classic Pop > Nov-18 > MICHAEL JACKSON

MICHAEL JACKSON

WHEN MICHAEL JACKSON JOINED HIS BROTHERS IN THE JACKSON 5, A STAR WAS BORN. AS A SOLO ARTIST, HE WENT ON TO BECOME ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST RECOGNISABLE STARS AND THE UNDISPUTED KING OF POP, BEFORE CONTROVERSY DERAILED HIS CAREER AND TRAGEDY EVENTUALLY STRUCK.
© Topham/Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

The boy who became king was always destined for the throne. An integral part of a rich musical dynasty, Michael Jackson first appeared on stage as a cherubic six-year-old in The Jackson 5 alongside siblings Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon. The group would go on to have a remarkable run of US hits between 1969 and 1971, including four No.1s in 1970, before Michael signed a solo deal with Motown.

The Billboard-topping Ben aside, it wasn’t until 1979’s Off The Wall album – and particularly the 7”s Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough and Rock With You – that MJ really hit his singular stride. But even that was merely a precursor to what he delivered the following decade.

Firstly, 1982’s Thriller not only affirmed his coronation, but assured him of his place in the rarefied firmament of pop immortality, becoming the biggestselling non-compilation album ever and spawning no fewer than six US Top 10 entries, including the title track, Billie Jean and Beat It. Five years later, five songs from Bad claimed pole position at home in the States, while I Just Can’t Stop Loving You – a duet with Siedah Garrett – gave Jacko his third UK chart-topper.

A fixture on MTV, he revolutionised video with his short films for Thriller and Smooth Criminal, made dance hip again with his robot and moonwalk routines and earned a reputation as the greatest live performer of his generation. As Jackson’s personal life became the subject of lurid headlines in the 90s (radical skin lightening and child sexual abuse allegations), his popularity waned, though he continued to produce work of consummate quality – not least on Scream, a duet with sister Janet that confronted his tabloid accusers, and the environmentally conscious Earth Song.

A recluse for much of the 2000s, MJ announced a comeback tour in 2009. But while preparing for the shows, he died of a cardiac arrest after chemical poisoning. His death was ruled a homicide, with Jackson’s personal physician, Conrad Murray, convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Read the in-depth account of the Michael Jackson story in our 132-page Special Edition. Order from bit.ly/CPMichaelJackson

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About Classic Pop

Issue 46 of Classic Pop magazine is on sale now! In the latest issue we have an exclusive chat with the new line-up of Spandau Ballet – their first major group interview as they relaunch themselves with new frontman Ross William Wild. We also have a must-read interview with Vince Clarke and Alison Moyet who look back on their fractious past life in Yazoo. The legends just keep on coming, too, as we speak to Nile Rodgers about his 40 years of classic tracks as a billion-dollar hitmaker and Chic's hotly-anticipated new album, It's About Time. Elsewhere, we look back at the 80s heyday of Top Of The Pops through the eyes of those who were there – DJ Janice Long and a whole host of TV insiders. Our classic album is the Stone Roses' imperious debut and we also meet Stephen Hague, the producer behind hits by Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Robbie Williams and many more besides. Need a buyer's guide to Michael Jackson? We look at the King of Pop's complete career in our Lowdown feature. As we delve into David Bowie's 80s boxset Loving The Alien, Classic Pop catches up with his closest collaborators who tell us how the legend's most divisive decade made him a global star. New albums from Boy George And Culture Club, Chic, Robyn, and The Prodigy get the once-over alongside reissues including OMD, Bronski Beat, Ultravox, The Police and Massive Attack. We also review Soft Cell's celebratory farewell O2 show plus Kylie Minogue's Golden Tour and more.. Enjoy the issue! Steve