Michael Jackson

The King of Pop

The Jackson Five

Smooth Criminal

Later Years

Early Life

Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958. His family was full of musicians. Joe Jackson, Michael's father, encouraged his children to pursue their musical ambitions. By 1964, brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael Jackson were known as The Jackson Five.

By the late 1960s, the Jackson Five had signed with Motown records and had a number of huge hits, including "I Want You Back" and "ABC". Michael took the leading role in the Jackson Five and he impressed everyone with his incredible singing and dancing talents. A musical prodigy, Michael had the poise and stage presence of someone with decades of experience performing.

Joe Jackson, Michael's father

1970s and abuse

By the mid 1970's, disco had taken over America. The Jackson Five successfully evolved from their 60's Motown roots into a disco band. They eventually changed their name to The Jacksons, as some brothers left the group to pursue solo careers and other family members joined.

Performing as a child had a negative impact on Michael. Joe, Michael's father, was very strict with his children. Michael would receive beatings from his father when performances didn't go perfectly. The constant pressures of performing took a toll on Michael's mental health.

The Jacksons in the 1970s

Solo Career

In in 1969, Michael Jackson left the family band and released his first major solo album, Off The Wall. It became an immediate success, and Michael had suddenly become one of pop music's biggest stars. Michael wanted his next album to be even more impressive. He worked hard to top the success of his first album, and in 1982 he released Thriller. Thriller included mega-hits such as Billy Jean and Beat It, and it remains the best-selling album of all time, with over 47 million sold worldwide.

Michael's other albums were very successful, but none reached the incredible success of Thriller. Go through the slideshow to see the rest of Michael Jackson's albums.

Michael Jackson Albums

The King of Pop

Michael Jackson was known for his incredible dance moves. Over the years, Michael introduced the world to moves such as the robot and the moonwalk. Michael Jackson took standard dance moves and added his own twist to them, like his signature leg kick and hand point. Take a look at the video of the first time he performed the moonwalk during a concert:

Michael Jackson's first moonwalk (skip to 3:30)

Smooth Criminal "lean" (skip to 4:10)

Scandal and end of life

As Michael Jackson grew older, it became clear that he was not a typical pop star. Over the years, his skin color changed from black to white, and he had numerous plastic surgeries on his face. In the 90's, there were allegations against Michael involving children at his Neverland Ranch. Michael Jackson passed away in 2009 while preparing for a new "comeback tour". He was accidentally administered an overdose of a sleeping drug by his non-certified personal doctor. The doctor served two years in prison.

Michael Jackson in 1983

Michael Jackson in 2004

Today's Assignment

Click the Form link the right and answer the questions about Michael Jackson.

If you finish it before the end of the period, click the button below and watch the video about pop music with your headphones on.