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Michael Jackson :

Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29, 1958, in Gary, IN. Michael was the fifth son of steelworker Joe Jackson. Michael displayed a talent for music and dance from an extremely young age. His childhood was strictly regimented; from the start, he was to an extent sheltered from the outside world by his mother's Jehovah's Witness faith, and his father was by all accounts an often ill-tempered disciplinarian. Joe began to organize a family musical group around his three eldest sons in 1962, and Michael joined them the following year, quickly establishing himself as a dynamic stage performer. The Jackson 5 broke through to international success on the Motown label in 1970. Michael was the visual and vocal focus of the Jackson 5. When he was 13, he was also promoted as a solo artist, and he scored his first hit, "Got to Be There," in 1971. Subsequent hits included his remake of "Rockin' Robin" and "Ben" in 1972.

Michael and the Jackson 5's fortunes declined in the latter '70s. The group moved to Epic mid-decade, with Michael temporarily abandoning his solo career and relinquishing group leadership to other members of what was now called the Jacksons. The group gradually built back its popularity by writing its own material.

In 1977, Jackson landed a starring role alongside Diana Ross in the all-black film musical The Wiz, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz; here he met producer/composer Quincy Jones for the first time.

Michael returned to solo work in 1979 with 'Off the Wall', a mature combination of driving dance songs ("Don't Stop ('Til You Get Enough") and feelingly sung ballads ("She's Out of My Life") that outsold any previous group or solo effort, and spawned four Top Ten hits. Want to know more? Click on the arrow.

 


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