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Michael Jackson At 61: 4 Facts You Should Know

Michael Jackson | Photo: NPR

Michael Jackson, a music legend was born today, 61 years ago. He was known as King of Pop. As a child, Jackson became the lead singer of his family’s popular Motown group, the Jackson 5.

He went on to a solo career of distinct worldwide success, delivering No. 1 hits from the albums Off the WallThriller and Bad. In his later years, Jackson was dogged by allegations of child molestation. He died in 2009 at age 50 of a drug overdose just before launching a comeback tour.

Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album, thriller, which was released in 1982, is the best-selling album in history, generating seven Top 10 hits. The album stayed on the charts for 80 weeks, holding the No. 1 spot for 37 weeks.

Thriller won 12 Grammy Award nominations and had eight wins for both records. Jackson’s victories showcased the diverse nature of his work. For his songwriting talents, he earned a Grammy (best rhythm and blues song) for “Billie Jean.” He also was honored for the singles “Thriller” (best pop vocal performance, male) and “Beat It” (best rock vocal performance, male).

It is fun to know that Michael Jackson’s third solo album, Music and Me was his least successful.

Below are some other interesting facts about the King of Pop:

Marvel Comics lover

Michael Jackson considered himself as Spiderman, when Marvel Comics filed for bankruptcy in the 90s, Michael tried to buy the company so he could fulfill his dream to play the leading role. However, it didn’t go to plan and Tobey Maguire stepped up to play Peter Parker instead. Also, when the X-Men movie franchise was announced, he tried to nab the role as Charles Xavier (aka Professor X), however, the  role went to Patrick Stewart.

First Black Artist to air on MTV

With his music, Billie Jean, Michael Jackson became the first black African to air on MTV.

Michael Jackson composed his songs despite not knowing how to read or write music

Michael Jackson as a musical genius would go to the sound engineers and producers saying he had a song and would sing every note of every chord. He realised his own song. He would give the most “heartfelt and profound vocal performance” in the control room. He would also sing the entire string arrangement with stops and fills into the micro-cassette recorder. In one of his trials for plagiarism, he said “I’ll take that bass lick and put the chords of the melody over the bass lick and that’s what inspires the melody”.


Once Married to Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley, who is the daughter of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, and also a singer and songwriter, was once the wife of Michael Jackson. She also appeared in one of his songs’ video “You Are Not Alone”. They both fell in love as Jackson increasingly began to turn towards her for emotional support and she was able to persuade him to go to rehabilitation to recover from his drug abuse. According to Presley, after their divorce, they spent almost four years on and off trying to reconcile.


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