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Πέμπτη, 7 Δεκεμβρίου, 2023
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionCultureMichael Jackson: 14 years after the death of the King of Pop

Michael Jackson: 14 years after the death of the King of Pop

By Penny Theodorakopoulou,

I was wondering about what the subject of this article would be about. I have already written an article dedicated to Pride Month (available here), so I wanted to write something else and speak from my heart. After a little thought — and search —, I realized that today marks 14 years since Michael Jackson, the one and only King of Pop, left his last breath. So, as a huge fan of Michael Jackson, I will dedicate this article to him, his career, as well as the “fall” of his. But first things first…

Who was Michael Jackson?

One of the most recognizable and influential artists of the 20th century, Michael Joseph Jackson was the 8th of 10 children in a working-class African American household when he was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana. His father, Joseph Jackson, worked at a steel mill and performed on guitar in a nearby R&B group. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, raised her children with a love of music and a strong work ethic. She was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness.

Michael Jackson displayed a natural flair for singing and dancing from a young age. He and his brothers started a band named The Jackson 5 and started playing in bars and local talent showcases. The group joined Motown Records in 1968, and their debut record, “I Want You Back” (1971), went to number one.

Michael Jackson’s best albums ranked. Credits to: Michael Jackson/Epic/MJJ/Sony/Motown/CBS. Image source: smoothradio.com

The Jackson 5 era

Jackson rose to fame as The Jackson 5’s lead vocalist. He was well-known for his shrill singing, enthralling dance movements, and engaging stage persona. He released his debut solo album, “Got to Be There”, in 1971. This album featured the famous song with the same name.

Michael Jackson continued to put out popular albums and singles throughout the 1970s, both as a solo performer and with The Jackson 5. His seminal album, “Off the Wall”, from 1979 featured the songs “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You”. Michael Jackson was made into a prominent player in the music business because of the record, which was both critically and commercially successful.

CIRCA EARLY 1970s: R&B quintet of brothers “Jackson 5” pose for a circa early 1970’s portrait. (L-R) Tito Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Jermaine Jackson. Credits to: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. Image source: grunge.com

The rapid rise of the King of Pop and his greatest milestones

The album “Thriller” was released by Michael Jackson in 1982 and went on to become the most successful album of all time, including singles like “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, and, of course, “Thriller”. The music videos for the album’s singles popularized the format and solidified Jackson’s place as a cultural icon. They featured Jackson’s ground-breaking special effects and inventive dance techniques.

Michael Jackson continued to put out popular albums and songs throughout the following ten years, including “Bad” (1987) and “Dangerous” (1991). Additionally, he began a number of globe tours, which were renowned for both Michael Jackson’s breathtaking performances and their spectacular stage displays.

Michael Jackson in the music video for “Bad” (1987). Image source: everythingaction.com

Michael Jackson had a plethora of milestones throughout his career, but we will refer to the 5 ones that — literally — made history in the music industry — and not only. These are:

1) “Thriller” (1982): As previously established, “Thriller” has sold more than 66 million copies worldwide, making it the most successful album of all time. It continues to be a landmark in culture and a monument to Jackson’s brilliance and imagination.

2) The Moonwalk (1983): Michael Jackson first performed his characteristic dance move, the Moonwalk, during a rendition of “Billie Jean” at the Motown 25th anniversary special. Michael Jackson’s iconic stature in popular culture was cemented by the technique, which involves sliding backward while pretending to walk ahead.

Michael Jackson, the popularizer of the move, performing the moonwalk publicly during the performance of “Billie Jean” on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, which was broadcast on May 16, 1983. Credits to: Suzanne de Passe. Image source: wikipedia.org

3) Jackson co-wrote and co-produced “We Are the World” (1985), a charity song with an all-star cast of performers that helped collect millions of dollars for famine relief in Africa. The song continues to serve as a potent reminder of the value of altruism and social accountability.

4) Michael Jackson’s halftime performance at the 1993 Super Bowl is widely recognized as one of the best in history. Super Bowl XXVII halftime show (1993). It contained a mix of his top songs, such as “Billie Jean”, “Black or White”, and “We Are the World”, and it displayed his amazing stage presence and charisma.

5) Michael Jackson’s HIStory World Tour, which ran from 1996 to 1997, was among the most elaborate and successful tours in history. It featured more than 80 shows across 35 nations and brought in more than $165 million. The tour was famous for its spectacular stage theatrics, which featured a 100-foot robotic spider and a huge statue of Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson in Michael Jackson: HIStory Live (1997). Image source: imdb.com

The downfall of Michael Jackson: Accusations regarding his relationship with children, the Neverland, and his death

Michael Jackson’s career was not without controversy despite his enormous success. He was charged with sexually molesting a 13-year-old kid in 1993. Although he was never charged with a crime and refuted the accusations, the matter garnered considerable media attention and tarnished his reputation.

Another child who had visited Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, a 13-year-old boy, accused him of child molestation in 2005. The King of Pop was accused of several counts of child molestation but was found not guilty of any of them in 2005.

Michael Jackson with Wade Robson. Credits to: Sundance Institute. Image source: rollingstone.com

The years before Michael Jackson’s death saw a decrease in his health. He had a number of physical issues, including vitiligo, lupus, and persistent sleeplessness. At his Los Angeles residence on June 25, 2009, Jackson passed away from a heart arrest. He was 50 years of age.

The undisputed King of Pop’s passing shocked the world and led to an outpouring of sympathy from his followers and fellow musicians. His impact can be seen in the work of innumerable musicians who have followed in his footsteps. His legacy as a musician and cultural icon endures today.

  • Michael Jackson, britannica.com, Available here
  • Michael Jackson, wikipedia.org, Available here
  • The King of Pop Keeps Making History & Breaking Records!, legacyrecordings.com, Available here
  • 10 of Michael Jackson’s Most Iconic Moments, biography.com, Available here
  • Michael Jackson: ‘Thriller’ Reaches Billboard Chart Milestone, grammy.com, Available here



Penny Theodorakopoulou
Penny Theodorakopoulou
Born in Corinth in 1999, she is a graduand of the Department of Philosophy at University of Patras. She enjoys reading modern philosophy and would like to research it after she graduates. Her passion is English and movies, as well as reading and writing movie reviews in her free time. Her other hobbies include playing video games and reading philosophical books.