Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29, 1958 as the 7th child to a poor family in Gary, Indiana. He and his brothers of the Jackson 5 became one of the few groups in history to have their first four major singles reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100. They got their start by winning amateur night at the Apollo in 1967. Michael would continue to make solo music history by becoming the first black to have a video featured on MTV.
Michael’s tireless charity work included a generous $1.5 million fund for the UNCF. Through his own Heal the World Foundation, Jackson sent food and medical supplies to Sarajevo and provided education. In 1984, President Reagan awarded the “King of Pop” with a special medal for his contribution toward the campaign against drunk driving. Then just a year later, Jackson released “We are the World” to address world famine. One year later, he was awarded his own postage stamp in the Virgin Islands, requesting that all revenues go to welfare and education. In his lifetime, Jackson contributed to more than 39 charities including the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children, the Minority AIDS Project and the National Rainbow Coalition.
Michael Jackson made more music history in 1982 with Quincy Jones for his “Thriller” album, which holds the record as the best-selling record of all time. He is the first artist to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame twice and the composite of his music sold over 750 million records worldwide. He is also an inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Dance Hall of Fame – the first from the genre of pop & R & B.
“The King of Pop” has been noted by the Guinness Book of World Records over 30 times, including for the most successful concert series ever, the biggest selling album of all time (Thriller, 1983) and Guinness named him the most successful entertainer of all time. The grand total of his charitable contributions was claimed to be over $50 million dollars, also a Guinness world record.
In 1990, Jackson helped the world recognize the severity of HIV by introducing fans to Ryan White. In dedication to him after White’s passing, Jackson made the hit song “Gone Too Soon” so that others would take notice of the growing HIV epidemic.
Turmoil hit the megastar and his Neverland Ranch when he was accused of child sexual abuse in both 1993 and 2005. He would be acquitted in the 2005 world-broadcast trial. He became a highlight for public and private scrutiny during his trials, which lead to his own public emotional displays of feelings about his allegations.
In an effort to pay off major debts owed by the entertainer, Michael Jackson partnered with AEG Live concert promoters for the “This Is It” Tour, which was due to launch at the O2 Arena in London, England, beginning July 8, 2009. Tickets sold out in only four hours.