A Rockapaedia Obituary
Michael Jackson died aged fifty years from Cardiac Arrest on 25th of June 2009 in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. His memorial was held on the following 7th July after which a private family service was held at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park's Hall of Liberty in Los Angeles.
Michael was born Michael Joseph Jackson on August 29, 1958. He was the eighth of ten children in the Jackson family, a working-class African-American family living in a two-bedroom house on Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana, an industrial city in the Chicago metropolitan area. His mother, Katherine Esther Scruse, was a devout Jehovah's Witness. She played clarinet and piano and once aspired to be a country-and-western performer, but worked part-time at Sears to support the family. Michael's father, Joseph Walter "Joe" Jackson, a former boxer, was a steelworker at U.S. Steel. Joe performed on guitar with a local rhythm and blues band, the Falcons, to supplement the family's income. Michael grew up with three sisters, Rebbie, La Toya, and Janet, and five brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Randy). A sixth brother, Marlon's twin Brandon, died shortly after birth.
Michael Jackson had a troubled relationship with his father. In 2003, Joe acknowledged that he regularly whipped Michael as a boy. Joe was also said to have verbally abused his son, often saying that he had a "fat nose". Michael Jackson stated that he was physically and emotionally abused during incessant rehearsals, though he credited his father's strict discipline with playing a large role in his success. In an interview with Martin Bashir for the 2003 documentary 'Living with Michael Jackson', he recalled that Joe often sat in a chair with a belt in his hand as he and his siblings rehearsed, and that if they didn't do it the right way, he would tear them up, really get them. Michael Jackson's parents have disputed the long-standing allegations of abuse, with Katherine stating that while whipping is considered abuse today, it was a common way to disciplining children at the time. Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon have also said that their father was not abusive and that the whippings, which were harder on Michael because he was younger, kept them disciplined and out of trouble. Speaking openly about his childhood in an interview with Oprah Winfrey broadcast in February 1993, Michael Jackson acknowledged that his youth had been lonely and isolating. His deep dissatisfaction with his appearance, his nightmares and chronic sleep problems, his tendency to remain hyper-compliant, especially with his father, and to remain childlike in adulthood are consistent with the effects of the maltreatment he endured as a child.
In 1964, Michael and Marlon joined the Jackson Brothers, a band formed by their father which included brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine, as backup musicians playing congas and tambourine. In 1965, Michael began sharing lead vocals with his older brother Jermaine, and the group's name was changed to the Jackson Five. The following year, the group won a major local talent show with Michael Jackson performing the dance to Robert Parker's 1965 hit "Barefootin'". From 1966 to 1968 they toured the Midwest, frequently performing at a string of black clubs known as the "chitlin' circuit" as the opening act for artists such as Sam & Dave, the O'Jays, Gladys Knight, and Etta James. The Jackson Five also performed at clubs and cocktail lounges, where striptease shows and other adult acts were featured, and at local auditoriums and high school dances. In August 1967, while touring the East coast, the group won a weekly amateur night concert at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
The Jackson Five recorded several songs, including their first single "Big Boy" , for Steeltown Records, a Gary record label, before signing with Motown in 1969. They left Gary in 1969 and relocated to Los Angeles, where they continued to record music for Motown. Rolling Stone later described the young Michael as "a prodigy" with "overwhelming musical gifts" who "quickly emerged as the main draw and lead singer." The group set a chart record when its first four singles—"I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save" , and "I'll Be There", peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. In May 1971, the Jackson family moved into a large home on two-acre estate in Encino, California. During this period, Michael evolved from child performer into a teen idol. Between 1972 and 1975, Michael released four solo studio albums with Motown: Got to Be There , Ben, Music & Me , and Forever, Michael. "Got to Be There" and "Ben", the title tracks from his first two solo albums, became successful singles, as did a cover of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin".
In June 1975, the Jackson 5 signed with Epic Records, a subsidiary of CBS Records, and renamed themselves the Jacksons. Younger brother Randy formally joined the band around this time, while Jermaine chose to stay with Motown and pursue a solo career. The Jacksons continued to tour internationally, and released six more albums between 1976 and 1984. Michael, the group's lead songwriter during this time, wrote hits such as "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)", "This Place Hotel", and "Can You Feel It".
Michael Jackson's work in film began in 1978, when he moved to New York City to star as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, a musical directed by Sidney Lumet. It co-starred Diana Ross, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross. The film was a box-office failure. Its score was arranged by Quincy Jones, whom Jackson had previously met when he was twelve. Jones agreed to produce Michael Jackson's next solo album. During his time in New York, Michael Jackson frequented the Studio 54 nightclub and was exposed to early hip hop, influencing his beatboxing on future tracks such as "Working Day and Night". In 1979, Jackson broke his nose during a complex dance routine. His subsequent rhinoplasty was not a complete success; he complained of breathing difficulties that would affect his career. He was referred to Dr. Steven Hoefflin, who performed Michael Jackson's second rhinoplasty and subsequent operations.
Michael Jackson's fifth solo album, Off the Wall, co-produced with Jones, established Michael as a solo performer. The album helped his transition from the bubblegum pop of his youth to the more complex sounds he would create as an adult. Songwriters for the album included Michael Jackson, Rod Temperton, Stevie Wonder, and Paul McCartney. Off the Wall was the first solo album to generate four top ten hits in the United States: "Off the Wall", "She's Out of My Life", and the chart-topping singles "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You". The album reached number three on the Billboard 200 and eventually sold over twenty million copies worldwide. In 1980, Michael Jackson won three awards at the American Music Awards for his solo efforts: Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, and Favorite Soul/R&B Single for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". He also won Billboard Year-End awards for Top Black Artist and Top Black Album, and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for 1979 with "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". In 1981 Michael Jackson was the American Music Awards winner for Favorite Soul/R&B Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist. Despite its commercial success, Michael Jackson felt Off the Wall should have made a bigger impact, and was determined to exceed expectations with his next release. In 1980, he secured the highest royalty rate in the music industry: thirty-seven percent of wholesale album profit.
Michael Jackson recorded with Queen singer Freddie Mercury from 1981 to 1983, including a demo of "State of Shock", "Victory" and "There Must Be More to Life Than This". The recordings were intended for an album of duets but, according to Queen's then-manager Jim Beach, the relationship between the singers soured when Michael Jackson insisted on bringing a llama into the recording studio. The collaborations were not officially released until 2014. Michael Jackson went on to record the single "State of Shock" with Mick Jagger for the Jacksons' album Victory. Mercury included the solo version of "There Must Be More To Life Than This" on his Mr. Bad Guy album. In 1982, Michael Jackson combined his interests in songwriting and film when he contributed the song "Someone in the Dark" to the storybook for the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The song, with Jones as its producer, won a Grammy for Best Recording for Children for 1983.
More success came with Michael Jackson's sixth album, 'Thriller', released in late 1982. The album earned Michael seven more Grammys and eight American Music Awards, including the Award of Merit, the youngest artist to win it. It was the best-selling album worldwide in 1983 and became the best-selling album of all time in the United States and the best-selling album of all time worldwide, selling an estimated sixty-five million copies. It topped the Billboard 200 chart for thirty-seven weeks and was in the top 10 of the 200 for 80 consecutive weeks. It was the first album to have seven Billboard Hot 100 top ten singles, including "Billie Jean", "Beat It", and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'". 'Thriller' won Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones the Grammy award for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) for 1983. It also won Album of the Year, with Michael Jackson as the album's artist and Jones as its co-producer, and a Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, award for Michael Jackson. "Beat It" won Record of the Year, with Michael Jackson as artist and Jones as co-producer, and a Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, award for Michael Jackson. "Billie Jean" won Michael Jackson two Grammy awards, Best R&B Song, with Michael Jackson as its songwriter, and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, as its artist. Thriller also won another Grammy for Best Engineered Recording – Non Classical in 1984, awarding Bruce Swedien for his work on the album. The AMA Awards for 1984 provided Michael Jackson with an Award of Merit and AMAs for Favorite Male Artist, Soul/R&B, and Favorite Male Artist, Pop/Rock. "Beat It" won Michael Jackson AMAs for Favorite Video, Soul/R&B, Favorite Video, Pop/Rock, and Favorite Single, Pop/Rock. Thriller won him AMAs for Favorite Album, Soul/R&B, and Favorite Album, Pop/Rock.
In addition to the album, Michael Jackson released "Thriller", a 14-minute music video directed by John Landis, in 1983. The zombie-themed video "defined music videos and broke racial barriers" on the Music Television Channel (MTV), a fledgling entertainment television channel at the time. In December 2009, the Library of Congress selected the "Thriller" music video for inclusion in the National Film Registry. It was one of twenty-five films named that year as "works of enduring importance to American culture" that would be "preserved for all time."
Michael Jackson had the highest royalty rate in the music industry at that point, approximately two dollars for every album sold, and was making record-breaking profits from sales of his recordings. The videocassette of the documentary The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller sold over 350,000 copies in a few months. The era saw the arrival of novelties such as dolls modeled after Michael Jackson, which appeared in stores in May 1984 at a price of twelve dollars. In 1985, The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Longform. Time described Michael Jackson's influence at that point as "star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and color too". The New York Times wrote that "in the world of pop music, there is Michael Jackson and there is everybody else".
On March 25th 1983, Michael Jackson reunited with his brothers for a performance taped at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium for Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, an NBC television special. The show aired on May 16th 1983, to an estimated audience of forty seven million, and featured the Jacksons and other Motown stars. It is best remembered for Michael Jackson's solo performance of "Billie Jean", which earned him his first Emmy nomination. Wearing a distinctive black-sequined jacket and a golf glove decorated with rhinestones, he debuted his signature dance move, the moonwalk, which former Soul Train dancer and Shalamar member Jeffrey Daniel had taught him three years earlier. Michael Jackson had originally turned down the invitation to perform at the show, believing he had been doing too much television at the time; at the request of Motown founder Berry Gordy, he agreed to perform in exchange for time to do a solo performance. Michael Jackson's performance drew comparisons to Elvis Presley's and the Beatles' appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times wrote in 1988: "The moonwalk that he made famous is an apt metaphor for his dance style. How does he do it? As a technician, he is a great illusionist, a genuine mime. His ability to keep one leg straight as he glides while the other bends and seems to walk requires perfect timing." Gordy said of the performance: "From the first beat of 'Billie Jean', I was mesmerized, and when he did his iconic moonwalk, I was shocked, it was magic, Michael Jackson went into orbit, and never came down."
In November 1983 Michael Jackson and his brothers partnered with PepsiCo in a five-million-dollar promotional deal that broke records for a celebrity endorsement. The first Pepsi Cola campaign, which ran in the United States from 1983 to 1984 and launched its iconic "New Generation" theme, included tour sponsorship, public relations events, and in-store displays. Michael Jackson, who was involved in creating the advertisement, suggested using his song "Billie Jean" as its jingle with revised lyrics. According to a Billboard report in 2009,
On January 27th 1984, Michael and other members of the Jacksons filmed a Pepsi commercial overseen by executive Phil Dusenberry, a BBDO ad agency executive, and Alan Pottasch, Pepsi's Worldwide Creative Director, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. During a simulated concert before a full house of fans, pyrotechnics accidentally set Michael Jackson's hair on fire, causing second-degree burns to his scalp. Michael Jackson underwent treatment to hide the scars and had his third rhinoplasty shortly thereafter. Pepsi settled out of court, and Jackson donated the one-point-five-million dollar settlement to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California. The Michael Jackson Burn Center is named in his honor. Michael Jackson signed a second agreement with Pepsi in the late 1980s for a reported ten-million dollars. The second campaign had a global reach of more than twenty countries and provided financial support for Michael Jackson's Bad album and 1987–88 world tour.
Michael Jackson's humanitarian work was recognized on May 14th 1984, when he was invited to the White House to receive an award from President Ronald Reagan for his support of charities that helped people overcome alcohol and drug abuse, and in recognition of his support for the Ad Council's and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Drunk Driving Prevention campaign. Michael Jackson donated the use of "Beat It" for the campaign's public service announcements.
Unlike later albums, 'Thriller' did not have an official tour, but the Victory Tour of 1984 headlined the Jacksons and showcased much of Michael Jackson's new solo material to more than two million Americans. It was the last tour he would do with his brothers. Michael's charitable work and humanitarian awards continued with the release of "We Are the World", co-written with Lionel Richie. The song was recorded on January 28th 1985 and released worldwide in March 1985 to aid the poor in the United States and in Africa. The song earned sixty-three million dollars for famine relief, and became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with twenty million copies sold. It won four Grammys for 1985, including 'Song of the Year' for Jackson and Richie as its writers. The project's creators received two special AMA honors: one for the creation of the song and another for the USA for Africa idea. Michael Jackson, Jones, and entertainment promoter Ken Kragan received special awards for their roles in the song's creation.
Michael Jackson's financial interests in the music publishing business grew after he collaborated with Paul McCartney in the early 1980's and learned that McCartney was making approximately forty-million dollars a year from other people's songs. By 1983, Michael Jackson had begun investing in publishing rights to songs that others had written, but was careful with his acquisitions, only bidding on a few of the dozens that were offered to him. Michael Jackson's early acquisitions of music catalogs and song copyrights such as the Sly Stone collection included "Everyday People", Len Barry's "1-2-3", and Dion DiMucci's "The Wanderer" and "Runaround Sue". However, his most significant purchase came in 1985, when he acquired the publishing rights to ATV Music Publishing after months of negotiation. ATV had acquired the publishing rights to nearly 4000 songs, including the Northern Songs catalogue that contained the majority of the Lennon–McCartney compositions recorded by the Beatles.
In 1984 the wealthy Australian investor who owned ATV Music Publishing, announced he was putting the ATV catalogue up for sale. In 1981, McCartney was offered the ATV music catalog for twenty million pounds. According to a negotiator for Holmes à Court in the 1984 sale, McCartney was given first right of refusal and declined to purchase.
Michael Jackson's skin had been a medium-brown color during his youth, but from the mid-1980s gradually grew paler. The change gained widespread media coverage, including rumors that he might have been bleaching his skin. According to J. Randy Taraborrelli's biography, Michael Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo in 1984 resulting in white patches on his skin. It was also said that Michael Jackson was diagnosed with lupus, and that while the vitiligo partially lightened his skin, the lupus was in remission. Both illnesses made Michael Jackson's skin sensitive to sunlight. The treatments Michael Jackson used for his condition further lightened his skin, and, with the application of pancake makeup to even out blotches he could appear pale. Michael Jackson stated that although he used makeup to control the patchy appearance of his skin, he never purposely bleached his skin. He said of his vitiligo: "It is something I cannot help. When people make up stories that I don't want to be who I am, it hurts me.
Michael Jackson claimed he had had only two rhinoplasties and no other facial surgery, although at one point mentioned having had a dimple created in his chin. He lost weight in the early 1980s because of a change in diet and a desire for "a dancer's body". Witnesses reported that he was often dizzy, and speculated he was suffering from anorexia nervosa. Periods of weight loss would become a recurring problem later in life. During the course of his treatment, Michael Jackson made two close friends: his dermatologist, Dr. Arnold Klein, and Klein's nurse Debbie Rowe. Rowe eventually became Michael Jackson's second wife and the mother of his two eldest children. He also relied heavily on Klein for medical and business advice.
Michael Jackson became the subject of increasingly sensational reports. In 1986, the tabloids ran a story claiming that he slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to slow the aging process; he was pictured lying in a glass box. Although the claim was untrue, according to tabloid reports that are widely cited, Michael Jackson disseminated the fabricated story himself. When Michael Jackson bought a chimpanzee named Bubbles from a laboratory, he was reported to be increasingly detached from reality. It was reported that Michael Jackson had offered to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick (the "Elephant Man") and, although untrue, Michael Jackson did not deny the story. Although he initially saw these stories as opportunities for publicity, he stopped leaking untruths to the press as they became more sensational. Consequently, the media began fabricating stories. These reports became embedded in the public consciousness, inspiring the nickname "Wacko Jacko", which Michael Jackson came to despise. Responding to the gossip, Michael Jackson remarked:
"Why not just tell people I'm an alien from Mars? Tell them I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight. They'll believe anything you say, because you're a reporter. But if I, Michael Jackson, were to say, "I'm an alien from Mars and I eat live chickens and do a voodoo dance at midnight," people would say, "Oh, man, that Michael Jackson is nuts. He's cracked up. You can't believe a single word that comes out of his mouth."
Michael Jackson collaborated with filmmakers George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola on the seventeen-minute 3D film Captain EO, which debuted in September 1986 at both the original Disneyland and at Epcot in Florida, and in March 1987 at Tokyo Disneyland. The thirty-thousand million dollar movie was a popular attraction at all three parks. A Captain EO attraction was later featured at Euro Disneyland after that park opened in 1992. All four parks' Captain EO installations stayed open well into the 1990s: the Paris installation was the last to close, in 1998. The attraction would later return to Disneyland in 2010 after Michael Jackson's death. In 1987, Michael Jackson disassociated himself from the Jehovah's Witnesses, in response to their disapproval of the Thriller video.
With the industry expecting another major hit, Michael Jackson's first album in five years, Bad, was highly anticipated. The album produced nine singles with seven charting in the U.S.A Five of these singles ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror", and "Dirty Diana") reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, a record for most number-one Hot 100 singles from any one album, including Thriller.The album had sold between 30 and 45 million copies worldwide. Bruce Swedien and Humberto Gatica won one Grammy in 1988 for Best Engineered Recording – Non Classical and Michael Jackson won one Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form for "Leave Me Alone" in 1989. In the same year, Michael Jackson won an Award of Achievement at the American Music Awards after Bad became the first album to generate five number-one singles in the U.S.A, the first album to top in twenty-five countries, and the best-selling album worldwide in 1987 and 1988. In 1988, "Bad" won an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single.
The Bad World Tour began on September 12th that year, finishing on January 14th 1989. In Japan alone, the tour had fourteen sellouts and drew five-hundred & seventy thousand people, nearly tripling the previous record of two-hundred thousand in a single tour. Michael Jackson broke a Guinness World Record when five-hundred and four thousand people attended seven sold-out shows at Wembley Stadium.UK. He performed a total of one hundred and twenty three concerts to an audience of four-point-four million people.
In 1988, Michael Jackson released his only autobiography,'Moonwalk', which took four years to complete and sold two-hundred-thousand copies. He wrote about his childhood, the Jackson Five, and the abuse he had suffered. He also wrote about his changing facial appearance, attributing it to puberty, weight loss, a strict vegetarian diet, a change in hairstyle, and stage lighting. 'Moonwalk' reached the top position on The New York Times best sellers' list. Michael Jackson released a film, 'Moonwalker', which featured live footage and short films starring himself and Joe Pesci. Due to financial issues, the film was only released theatrically in Germany; in other markets it was released direct-to-video. It debuted at the top of the Billboard Top Music Video Cassette chart, staying there for twenty-two weeks. It was eventually knocked off the top spot by 'Michael Jackson:The Legend Continues'.
In March 1988, Michael Jackson purchased land near Santa Ynez, California, to build Neverland Ranch at a cost of seventeen million dollars. He installed several carnival rides on the 2,700-acre property, including a Ferris wheel, carousel, menagerie, movie theater and zoo. A security staff of forty patrolled the grounds. In 2003, it was valued at approximately one-hundred-million dollars. In 1989 Michael Jackson's annual earnings from album sales, endorsements, and concerts were estimated at one-hundred-and-twenty-five-million dollars for that year alone. Shortly afterwards, he became the first Westerner to appear in a television adertisement in the Soviet Union.
Michael Jackson's success earned him the nickname the "King of Pop". It was popularized by Elizabeth Taylor when she presented him with the Soul Train Heritage Award in 1989, proclaiming him "the true king of pop, rock and soul." President George H. W. Bush designated him the White House's "Artist of the Decade". From 1985 to 1990, he donated four-hundred-and fifty-five thousand dollars to the United Negro College Fund, and all profits from his single "Man in the Mirror" went to charity. Michael Jackson's live rendition of "You Were There" at Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th birthday celebration won Michael Jackson a second Emmy nomination.
In March 1991, Michael Jackson renewed his contract with Sony for sixty-five million dollars, a record-breaking deal at the time. In 1991, Michael released his eighth album, 'Dangerous', co-produced with Teddy Riley. 'Dangerous' was certified seven times platinum in the U.S.A, and by 2008 had sold approximately thirty million copies worldwide. In the U.S.A, the album's first single "Black or White" was its biggest hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and remaining there for seven weeks, with similar chart performances worldwide. The second single, "Remember the Time", spent eight weeks in the top five in the United States, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. At the end of 1992, 'Dangerous' was awarded the best-selling album of the year worldwide and "Black or White" was awarded best-selling single of the year worldwide at the Billboard Music Awards. Michael Jackson also won an award as best-selling artist of the 1980s. In 1993, he performed the song at the Soul Train Music Awards in a chair, saying he had suffered an injury in rehearsals. In the UK and other parts of Europe, "Heal the World" was the album's most successful song; it sold four-hundred-and-fifty-thousand copies in the UK and spent five weeks at number two in 1992.
Michael Jackson founded the Heal the World Foundation in 1992. The charity brought underprivileged children to Michael's ranch to enjoy the property's theme park rides, and sent millions of dollars around the globe to help children threatened by war, poverty, and disease. In the same year, Michael Jackson published his second book, 'Dancing the Dream', a collection of poetry, revealing a more intimate side. While it was a commercial success, it received mostly negative reviews. In 2009, the book was republished by Doubleday and was more positively received by some critics in the wake of Michael Jackson's death. The Dangerous World Tour began on June 27th 1992, and finished on November 11th 1993, having grossed one-hundred-million dollars; Michael Jackson performed to three-point-five million people in seventy concerts. He sold the broadcast rights to his 'Dangerous world' tour to HBO for twenty-million dollars, a record-breaking deal.
Following the illness and death of AIDS spokesperson Ryan White, Michael Jackson helped draw public attention to HIV/AIDS, something that was controversial at the time. He publicly pleaded with the Clinton Administration at Bill Clinton's Inaugural Gala to give more money to HIV/AIDS charities and research. In a high-profile visit to Africa, Michael Jackson visited countries including Gabon and Egypt. His first stop to Gabon was greeted with an enthusiastic reception of more than one-hundred-thousand people, some of them carrying signs that read "Welcome Home Michael." In his trip to Ivory Coast, Michael Jackson was crowned "King Sani" by a tribal chief. He thanked the dignitaries in French and English, signed official documents formalizing his kingship, and sat on a golden throne while presiding over ceremonial dances.
Michael Jackson gave a ninety-minute interview to Oprah Winfrey on February 10th 1993, his second television interview since 1979. He grimaced when speaking of his childhood abuse at the hands of his father; he believed he had missed out on much of his childhood years, admitting that he often cried from loneliness. He denied tabloid rumors that he had bought the bones of the Elephant Man, slept in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, or bleached his skin, and stated for the first time that he had vitiligo.
In February 1993, Michael Jackson was given the "Living Legend Award" at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. "Black or White" was Grammy-nominated for best vocal performance. "Jam" gained two nominations: Best R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. The Dangerous album won a Grammy for Best Engineered – Non Classical, awarding the work of Bruce Swedien and Teddy Riley. In the same year, Michael Jackson won three American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Album , Favorite Soul/R&B Single, and was the first to win the International Artist Award of Excellence, for his global performances and humanitarian concerns.
Michael Jackson agreed to produce the soundtrack for Sega's 1994 video game Sonic the Hedgehog 3 with collaborators Brad Buxer, Bobby Brooks, Darryl Ross, Geoff Grace, Doug Grigsby, and Cirocco Jones. Michael Jackson left the project before completion and was not credited; some sources state he was dissatisfied with the Sega Genesis console's audio chip, while others suggest Sega distanced itself from Michael following the first allegations of child sexual abuse against him.
In the summer of 1993, Michael Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse by a 13-year-old boy, Jordan Chandler, and his father, Evan Chandler, a dentist. The Chandler family demanded payment from Michael Jackson, which he refused. Jordan Chandler eventually told the police that Michael Jackson had sexually abused him. Jordan's mother was, however, adamant that there had been no wrongdoing on Michael Jackson's part. Evan was recorded discussing his intention to pursue charges, saying, "If I go through with this, I win big-time. There's no way I lose. I will get everything I want and they will be destroyed forever..... Michael's career will be over." Michael Jackson used the recording to argue that he was the victim of a jealous father whose only goal was to extort money. In January 1994, after an investigation, deputy Los Angeles County district attorney Michael J. Montagna stated that Chandler would not be charged with extortion, due to lack of cooperation from Michael Jackson's party and its willingness to negotiate with Chandler for several weeks, among other reasons.
In August 1993, police raided Michael Jackson's home and, according to court documents, found books and photographs in his bedroom featuring young boys with little or no clothing. Since the books were legal to purchase and own, the jury decided not to indict Jackson. Jordan Chandler gave police a description of Michael Jackson's intimate parts; a strip search revealed that Jordan had correctly claimed Michael Jackson had patchy-colored buttocks, short pubic hair, and pink and brown marked testicles. Reportedly, Jordan had also drawn accurate pictures of a dark spot on Michael Jackson's penis only visible when his penis was lifted. Despite differing initial internal reports from prosecutors and investigators, with reports of jurors feeling that the photos did not match the description, the DA stated his belief in a sworn affidavit that the description was accurate, along with the sheriff's photographer stating the description was accurate. A 2004 motion filed by Michael Jackson's defense asserted that Michael Jackson was never criminally indicted by any grand jury and that his settlement admitted no wrongdoing and contained no evidence of criminal misconduct.
The investigation was inconclusive and no charges were filed. Michael Jackson described the search in an emotional public statement, and proclaimed his innocence. On January 1st 1994, Michael Jackson settled with the Chandlers out of court for twenty-two million dollars. A Santa Barbara County grand jury and a Los Angeles County grand jury disbanded on May 2nd 1994, without indicting Michael Jackson. The Chandlers stopped co-operating with the criminal investigation around July 6th 1994. The out-of-court settlement's documentation stated Michael Jackson admitted no wrongdoing and no liability; the Chandlers and their family lawyer Larry Feldman signed it without contest. Feldman stated "nobody bought anybody's silence".
A decade after the fact, during the second round of child abuse allegations, Michael Jackson's lawyers would file a memo stating that the 1994 settlement was made without his consent. A later disclosure by the FBI of investigation documents compiled over nearly twenty years led Michael Jackson's attorney to suggest that no evidence of molestation or sexual impropriety from Michael Jackson toward minors existed. According to reports, the Department of Children and Family Services (Los Angeles County) investigated Michael Jackson beginning in 1993 with the Chandler allegation and again in 2003. Reports show the LAPD and DCFS did not find credible evidence of abuse or sexual misconduct.
In May 1994, Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley. They had met in 1975, when a seven-year-old Presley attended one of Michael Jackson's family engagements at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, and reconnected through a mutual friend. According to a friend of Presley's, their adult friendship began in November 1992 in Los Angeles. They stayed in contact every day over the telephone. As the child molestation accusations became public, Michael Jackson became dependent on Lisa Marie for emotional support. Lisa Marie said: "I believed he didn't do anything wrong and that he was wrongly accused and yes I started falling for him. I wanted to save him. I felt that I could do it." Michael Jackson proposed to her over the telephone towards the fall of 1993, saying: "If I asked you to marry me, would you do it?" They married in the Dominican Republic in secrecy, denying it for nearly two months afterwards. The marriage was, in her words, "a married couple's life ... that was sexually active." The tabloid media speculated that the wedding was a ploy to prop up Jackson's public image. The marriage ended less than two years later with an amicable divorce settlement. In a 2010 interview with Oprah, Lisa Marie admitted that they had spent four more years after the divorce "getting back together and breaking up" until she decided to stop.
In June 1995, Michael Jackson released the double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.
The first single released from HIStory was "Scream/Childhood". "Scream", a duet with Michael Jackson's youngest sister Janet. The single had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at number five, and received a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals". "You Are Not Alone" was the second single released from HIStory; it holds the Guinness World Record for the first song ever to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was seen as a major artistic and commercial success, receiving a Grammy nomination for "Best Pop Vocal Performance".
In late 1995, Michael Jackson was rushed to a hospital after collapsing during rehearsals for a televised performance, caused by a stress-related panic attack. In November, Michael Jackson merged his ATV Music catalog with Sony's music publishing division, creating Sony/ATV Music Publishing. He retained ownership of half the company, earning ninety-five million dollars up-front as well as the rights to more songs. "Earth Song" was the third single released from HIStory, and topped the UK Singles Chart for six weeks over Christmas 1995; it sold a million copies, making it Michael Jackson's most successful single in the UK. The track "They Don't Care About Us" became controversial when the Anti-Defamation League and other groups criticized its allegedly antisemitic lyrics. Michael Jackson quickly released a revised version of the song without the offending lyrics. In 1996, Michael Jackson won a Grammy for Best Music Video, Short Form for "Scream" and an American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist.
HIStory was promoted with the successful HIStory World Tour, beginning on September 7th 1996, and ending on October 15th 1997. Michael Jackson performed eighty-two concerts in five continents, thirty-five countries and fifty-eight cities to over four and a half million fans, and grossed a total of one hundred and sixty-five million dollars, becoming Michael Jackson's most successful tour in terms of audience figures. During the tour, Michael Jackson married his longtime friend Deborah Jeanne Rowe, a dermatology nurse, in an impromptu ceremony in Sydney, Australia. Rowe was approximately six months pregnant with the couple's first child at the time. Originally, Rowe and Michael Jackson had no plans to marry, but Michael Jackson's mother Katherine persuaded them to do so. Michael Joseph Jackson Jr (commonly known as Prince) was born on February 13th, 1997; his sister Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson was born a year later on April 3rd 1998. The couple divorced in 1999, and Michael Jackson received full custody of the children. The divorce was relatively amicable, but a subsequent custody suit was not settled until 2006.
From October 1997 to September 2001, Michael Jackson worked with collaborators including Teddy Riley and Rodney Jerkins to produce what would be his tenth solo album, 'Invincible'. The album cost thirty million dollars to record, not including promotional expenditures. Throughout June 1999, Michael Jackson was involved in a number of charitable events. He joined Luciano Pavarotti for a benefit concert in Modena, Italy. The show was in support of the non-profit organization War Child, and raised a million dollars for the refugees of Kosovo, FR Yugoslavia, and additional funds for the children of Guatemala. Later that month, Michael Jackson organized a series of "Michael Jackson & Friends" benefit concerts in Germany and Korea. Other artists involved included Slash, The Scorpions, Boyz II Men, Luther Vandross, Mariah Carey, A. R. Rahman, Prabhu Deva Sundaram, Shobana, Andrea Bocelli, and Luciano Pavarotti. The proceeds went to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, the Red Cross and UNESCO. From August 1999 through 2000, he lived in New York City at 4 East 74th Street. At the turn of the century, Michael Jackson won an American Music Award as Artist of the 1980s.
In September 2001, two 30th Anniversary concerts were held at Madison Square Garden to mark Michael Jackson's 30th year as a solo artist. Michael appeared onstage alongside his brothers for the first time since 1984. The show also featured performances by artists including Mýa, Usher, Whitney Houston, NSYNC, Destiny's Child, Monica, Luther Vandross, and Slash. The second show took place the night before the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks. After 9/11, Michael Jackson helped organize the United We Stand: What More Can I Give benefit concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The concert took place on October 21st 2001, and included performances from dozens of major artists, including Michael Jackson, who performed his song "What More Can I Give" as the finale. Due to contractual issues related to the earlier 30th Anniversary concerts, later edited into a two-hour TV special titled 'Michael Jackson': 30th Anniversary Celebration broadcast in November 2001, Michael Jackson's solo performances were omitted from the televised benefit concert, although he could still be seen singing backing vocals.
The release of 'Invincible' was preceded by a dispute between Michael Jackson and his record label, Sony Music Entertainment. Michael Jackson had expected the licenses to the masters of his albums to revert to him some time in the early 2000's, after which he would be able to promote the material however he pleased and keep the profits; however, clauses in the contract set the revert date years into the future. Michael Jackson discovered that the attorney who had represented him in the deal had also been representing Sony. He was also concerned that for years Sony had been pressuring him to sell his share in its music catalog venture; he feared that Sony might have had a conflict of interest, since if Michael Jackson's career failed, he would have had to sell his share of the catalog at a low price. Michael Jackson sought an early exit from his contract.
'Invincible' was released on October 30th 2001 to much anticipation. It was Michael Jackson's first full-length album in six years, and the last album of original material he released in his lifetime. It debuted at number one in thirteen countries and went on to sell approximately thirteen million copies worldwide. It received double-platinum certification in the U.S.A. However, sales for 'Invincible' were lower than Michael Jackson's previous releases, due in part to the record label dispute and the lack of promotion or tour, and its release at a bad time for the music industry in general. Invincible spawned three singles, "You Rock My World", "Cry", and "Butterflies".
On January 22nd 2002, Michael Jackson won his twenty-second American Music Award for Artist of the Century. On February 22nd of the same year, his third child, Prince Michael Jackson II was born. The mother's identity was not announced, but Michael Jackson said Prince was the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his own sperm. Michael Jackson alleged in July 2002 that the then-Sony Music chairman Tommy Mottola was a "devil" and "racist" who did not support his African-American artists, using them merely for his own gain. He charged that Mottola had called his colleague Irv Gotti a "fat nigger". Sony refused to renew Michael Jackson's contract, and claimed that a twenty-five-million dollar promotional campaign had failed because Michael Jackson refused to tour in the United States.
Beginning in May 2002, Michael Jackson allowed a documentary film crew, led by British TV personality Martin Bashir, to follow him around nearly everywhere he went. On November 20th of that year, Michael Jackson brought his infant son Prince onto the balcony of his room at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin as fans stood below, holding him in his right arm with a cloth loosely draped over Prince's face. Prince was briefly extended over a railing, four stories above ground level, prompting widespread criticism in the media. Michael Jackson later apologized for the incident, calling it "a terrible mistake". Bashir's crew was with Michael Jackson during this incident; the program was broadcast in March 2003 as 'Living with Michael Jackson'. In a particularly controversial scene, Michael Jackson was seen holding hands and discussing sleeping arrangements with a young boy.
As soon as the documentary aired, the Santa Barbara county attorney's office began a criminal investigation. After an initial probe from the LAPD and DCFS was conducted in February 2003, they had initially concluded that molestation allegations were "unfounded" at the time. After the young boy involved in the documentary and his mother had told investigators that Jackson had behaved improperly, Michael Jackson was arrested in November 2003 and charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent in relation to the 13-year-old boy shown in the film. Michael Jackson denied the allegations, saying the sleepovers were not sexual in nature. The People v. Jackson trial began on January 31st 2005, in Santa Maria, California, and lasted until the end of May. On June 13th 2005, Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts. After the trial, in a highly publicized relocation, he moved to the Persian Gulf island of Bahrain as a guest of Sheikh Abdullah. Unknown to Michael Jackson, Bahrain was also where the family had intended to send him if he had been convicted, according to a statement by Jermaine Jackson printed in The Times of London in September 2011.
On November 17th 2003, three days before Michael Jackson's arrest, Sony released 'Number Ones', a compilation of Michael Jackson's hits on CD and DVD. In the U.S.A, the album was certified triple platinum by the RIAA; in the UK it was certified six times platinum for shipments of at least one-point-two million units.
In March 2006, amidst reports that Michael Jackson was having financial problems, the main house at Neverland Ranch was closed as a cost-cutting measure. Michael Jackson had been delinquent on his repayments of a two-hundred-and-seventy-million dollar loan secured against his music-publishing holdings, even though the holdings were reportedly making him as much as seventy-five-million dollars per year. Bank of America sold the debt to Fortress Investments. Sony reportedly proposed a restructuring deal which would give them a future option to buy half of Michael Jackson's stake in their jointly-owned publishing company, leaving Michael Jackson with a twentyfive-percent stake. Michael Jackson agreed to a Sony-backed refinancing deal in April 2006, although the details were not made public. Michael Jackson did not have a recording contract at the time. In early 2006, it was announced that Michael Jackson had signed a contract with a Bahrain-based startup, Two Seas Records.
Throughout 2006 Sony repackaged twenty singles from the 1980s and 1990s as the 'Michael Jackson: Visionary series', which subsequently became a box set. Most of the singles returned to the charts as a result. In September 2006, Michael Jackson and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe confirmed reports that they had settled their long-running child custody suit. The terms were never made public. Michael Jackson continued to be the custodial parent of the couple's two children.
In October 2006, Fox News entertainment reporter Roger Friedman said that Michael Jackson had been recording at a studio in rural Westmeath, Ireland. It was not known at the time what he was working on, or who had paid for the sessions, since his publicist had recently issued a statement claiming that he had left Two Seas. In November 2006, Michael Jackson invited an Access Hollywood camera crew into the studio in Westmeath, and MSNBC reported that he was working on a new album, produced by will.i.am. Michael Jackson performed at the World Music Awards in London on November 15th 2006 and accepted a Diamond Award for selling over 100 million records. He returned to the U.S.A. after Christmas 2006 to attend James Brown's funeral in Augusta, Georgia, where he gave one of the eulogies, saying that "James Brown is my greatest inspiration."
In 2007, Michael Jackson and Sony bought another music publishing company, Famous Music LLC, formerly owned by Viacom. This deal gave him the rights to songs by Eminem and Beck, among others. In March 2007, Michael Jackson gave a brief interview to the Associated Press in Tokyo, where he said: "I've been in the entertainment industry since I was six years old, and as Charles Dickens would say, 'It's been the best of times, the worst of times.' But I would not change my career ... While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me." That month, Michael Jackson visited a U.S. Army post in Japan, Camp Zama, to greet over 3,000 U.S. troops and their families. The hosts presented Michael Jackson with a Certificate of Appreciation.
In September 2007, Michael Jackson was still working on his next album, but it was never completed. In 2008, Michael Jackson and Sony released 'Thriller 25' to mark the 25th anniversary of the original Thriller. The album featured the previously unreleased song "For All Time", an outtake from the original sessions, as well as remixes by younger artists who had been inspired by Michael Jackson's work. ] Two remixes were released as singles with modest success: "The Girl Is Mine 2008" (with will.i.am), based on an early demo version of the original song without Paul McCartney, and "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008" (with Akon). The album was a commercial success. In anticipation of Michael Jackson's fiftieth birthday, Sony BMG released a series of greatest hits albums, King of Pop. Slightly different versions were released in various countries, based on polls of local fans. King of Pop reached the top ten in most countries where it was issued, and also sold well as an import in other countries.
In late 2008, Fortress Investments threatened to foreclose on Neverland Ranch, which Michael Jackson used as collateral for loans running into many tens of millions of dollars. However, Fortress opted to sell Michael Jackson's debts to Colony Capital LLC. In November, Michael Jackson transferred Neverland Ranch's title to Sycamore Valley Ranch Company LLC, a joint venture between himself and Colony Capital LLC. The deal cleared his debt and reportedly earned him an additional thirty-five million dollars. In September 2008, Michael Jackson entered negotiations with Julien's Auction House to display and auction a large collection of memorabilia amounting to approximately 1,390 lots. The auction was scheduled to take place between April 22nd and 25th. An exhibition of the lots opened as scheduled on April 14th but Michael Jackson eventually cancelled the auction.
In March 2009, Michael Jackson held a press conference at London's O2 Arena to announce a series of comeback concerts titled 'This Is It'. The shows would have been Michael Jackson's first major series of concerts since the HIStory World Tour finished in 1997. Michael Jackson suggested retirement after the shows, saying it would be his "final curtain call". The initial plan was for ten concerts in London, followed by shows in Paris, New York City and Mumbai. Randy Phillips, president and chief executive of AEG Live, stated that the first ten dates alone would earn the singer approximately fifty million pounds sterling. The London residency was increased to fifty dates after record-breaking ticket sales: over one million were sold in less than two hours. The concerts would have commenced on July 13th 2009, and finished on March 6th 2010. Michael Jackson rehearsed in Los Angeles in the weeks leading up to the tour under the direction of choreographer Kenny Ortega. Most of these rehearsals took place at the Staples Center, owned by AEG. Less than three weeks before the first show was due to begin in London, with all concerts sold out, Michael Jackson died after suffering cardiac arrest. Some time before his death, it was reported that he was starting a clothing line with Christian Audigier. Michael
Jackson's first posthumous song released entirely by his estate was "This Is It", which he had co-written in the 1980's with Paul Anka. It was not on the setlists for the concerts, and the recording was based on an old demo tape. The surviving brothers reunited in the studio for the first time since 1989 to record backing vocals. On October 28th 2009, Sony released a documentary film about the rehearsals, Michael Jackson's This Is It. Despite a limited two-week engagement, it became the highest-grossing documentary or concert film of all time, with earnings of more than two-hundred-and-sixty million dollars worldwide. Michael Jackson's estate received 90% of the profits. The film was accompanied by a compilation album of the same name. Two versions of "This Is It" appear on the album, which also featured original masters of Michael Jackson's hits in the order in which they appear in the film, along with a bonus disc with previously unreleased versions of more Michael Jackson hits and a spoken-word poem, "Planet Earth". At the 2009 American Music Awards, Michael Jackson won four posthumous awards, two for him and two for his album 'Number Ones', bringing his total American Music Awards to twenty-six.
On June 25th 2009 Michael Jackson stopped breathing while attempting to sleep under the care of Conrad Murray, his personal physician. Murray had reportedly given Jackson an array of medications in an attempt to help him sleep at his rented mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles. Attempts at resuscitating Michael Jackson were unsuccessful. Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics received a 911 call at 12:22 pm arriving three minutes later. Michael Jackson was reportedly not breathing and CPR was performed. Resuscitation efforts continued en route to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and for more than an hour after arriving there at 1:13 pm. Michael was pronounced dead at 2:26 pm.
Michael Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief. The news spread quickly online, causing websites to slow down and crash from user overload, and putting unprecedented strain on services and websites including Google, AOL Instant Messenger, Twitter, and Wikipedia. Overall, web traffic ranged from 11% to at least 20% higher than normal. MTV and BET aired marathons of Michael Jackson's music videos. Michael Jackson specials aired on television stations around the world. MTV briefly returned to its original music video format, airing hours of Michael Jackson's music videos, accompanied by live news specials featuring reactions from MTV personalities and other celebrities.