The story of Michael Jackson, (1958 - 2009), is not complete without the story of the Jackson 5.
Michael was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958. He is one of nine children. When Michael performed with four of his brothers in 1963, at age 5, he was included in the act primarily for the novelty effect.
By 1964, The Jackson 5 were conquering the Gary Indiana talent show circuit. In 1967, the brothers appeared at the Apollo Theater in New York City. The same year, they auditioned for Motown Records.
"I Want You Back," their first single with Motown in 1969, became a number one hit. On the strength of this song, and the album "Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five," the group received national television exposure on the Ed Sullivan Show.
1970 saw four number one singles for the Jackson 5. The producers at Motown realized that Michael’s individual talent was worth putting in the spotlight.
Between late 1971 through 1972, singles "Got to Be There," "Rockin’ Robin," "I Wanna be Where You Are," and "Ben" firmly established Jackson as a solo star.
The string of hits on Motown ended for the Jackson 5 in 1975. Michael, Jackie, Tito, Marlon, and Randy signed with the Epic label in 1976.
Jermaine Jackson remained with Motown. Berry Gordy retained the rights to the name The Jackson 5, so the brothers assumed their new professional name, The Jacksons.
By 1978, Michael was truly coming into his own as a songwriter, actor, and singer.
He starred with Diana Ross in the motion picture musical, "The Wiz." "The Wiz" was scored by Quincy Jones, who would later produce Michael’s most successful commercial work.
1979’s "Off the Wall" album launched Michael Jackson toward super stardom. The album sold over 8 million copies. "Don‘t Stop til You Get Enough" from Off the Wall won Michael his first Best R&B Vocal Performance Grammy.
Michael’s electrifying 1983 performance of "Billie Jean" on the television special "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever" solidified his place as a pop icon and superstar.
By 1984, the "Thriller" album, (released in 1982), won 8 Grammy Awards. Jackson has worked with the biggest names in rock, included 1982 & 1983 duet collaborations with Paul McCartney, ("The Girl is Mine," "Say, Say, Say"), and "State of Shock," recorded with Mick Jagger in 1984.
Michael teamed up with Lionel Richie in 1985 to co-author, "We Are The World," a song written to help world hunger.
By 1986, Jackson was working with film giants Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas on his short film project, "Captain EO" for Disneyland and Disneyworld.
1987 saw the release of "Bad," an album that produced four number one singles. Doubleday published Michael’s autobiography, "Moonwalk," in 1988.
The "Dangerous" album was released in 1991. In 1993, Jackson entertained during the Super Bowl, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and received a Living Legend Grammy Award.
Like many celebrities, his private life has not been without controversy. Despite being the focus of tabloid journalism, Jackson has attained a place in musical history that few entertainers have achieved.
* Biography courtesy of Empower Encyclopedia *