Three years ago today, the world lost one of the most incredible musicians in the history of music. Regardless of his bizarre public actions, the sexual accusations, and his increasingly frightening appearance, Michael Jackson was and will always be the “King of Pop”.
MUSIC CHART DOMINATION
As part of his family acts, The Jackson 5 and The Jacksons, the Gary, Indiana-born Michael Jackson racked up 23 top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Of those, 11 reached the top ten, and four went all the way to #1.
In 1971, he struck out on his own as a solo artist and his first release, “Got To Be There”, reached #4. Although he scored many hits as a teenager and young man, including the #1 hits, “Ben”, “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”, and “Rock With You”, he shot into super stardom with the November 1982 release of his album, “Thriller”.
The first of seven singles released from that album with former Beatles, Paul McCartney, “The Girl Is Mine”, peaked at #2. But, it was the following singles, “Billie Jean” and “Beat It”, that would top the Billboard charts and break down the racial barrier on the new music network, MTV.
“Thriller”, to this day, is the top-selling album of all-time. It has been certified with sales of more than 29 million in the United States with worldwide sales of 65-110 million. It easily eclipses the #2 selling album of all time, “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd.
In his solo career, Michael Jackson scored 36 top forty hits. 27 of those reached the top ten and 12 hit #1. He also collaborated on six other hits, five of which hit the top 10, and two reached #1 (“Say Say Say”, another duet with Paul McCartney, in 1983, and “We Are The World” by USA for Africa in 1985).
THE PRICE OF FAME
Fame has a price. Being one of the biggest stars on the planet, Michael Jackson, thrilled and shocked people with everything he did.
He raised eyebrows many times: with “Bubbles” the chimp,
buying the Neverland Ranch, wanting to buy the bones of Joseph Merrick, “the Elephant Man”, rumors about him sleeping nightly in a hyberbaric oxygen chamber, his marriage to Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie Presley,
dangling his child off a balcony in Germany,
“Jesus Juice”, and of course, two separate accusations of child sexual abuse. He was acquitted in June 2005 of nine charges (seven of which were child molestation) and in the first case, he settled out of court with the family for $22 million, in January 1994.
Three years ago today, while preparing for his “This Is It” world tour, Jackson went into cardiac arrest and died. His death was ruled a homicide due to “acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication”. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for his part in the death of the music icon.
I never saw Michael Jackson in concert, but from just watching the Kenny Ortega-directed documentary, “Michael Jackson’s This Is It”, it would have been phenomenal.
I wish the “King of Pop” had not needed prescription drugs to deal with life and I wish he were alive to perform his sold out concerts. I also wish that Michael Jackson had overcome his demons that haunted him. But, that will never happen.
However, we do have the legacy of his music and his videos that will live on with us, especially us kids and young adults of the 1980s. The time before Michael Jackson became the “freak show” that he’ll now always be remembered by.
Here are my Michael Jackson favorites!
I did have “Billie Jean” on here, too, but it has now been pulled from YouTube.