(Photo: courtesy of drafthouse.com)
Five years ago today the world lost arguably the most popular and influential pop-rock artist of all time. On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson, then 50 years old, passed away. His death caused a world-wide emotional outpouring of grief not seen since the death of Elvis Presley in 1977. It seemed as if the world came to a standstill as media outlets dedicated themselves to covering the details of Jackson’s death and the internet slowed to a crawl as websites such as TMZ and the Los Angeles Times became overloaded and crashed due to the overwhelming volume of searches for “Michael Jackson.”
On the 5th anniversary of his death, however, we at Karaoke Cloud would prefer to celebrate Michael’s life and career, and the magic he shared with billions around the world.
It was apparent from a very early age that Michael was destined for superstardom. He began his musical career at the age of 11 joining his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5. Famous for such hits as “I’ll Be There,” “ABC,” and “Dancing Machine,” the Jackson 5 was the first group in music history to have every one of their first four singles reach the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
While his early attempts at a solo career didn’t exactly soar, On August 10, 1979 Michael released Off The Wall, initiating a meteoric rise to the very top of the music industry. Then, three years later, came the record of all records. In November of 1982, Michael released Thriller and ignited a firestorm in pop-culture that still burns five years after his death.
To this day, Thriller, which won a record-breaking 8 Grammy Awards in 1984, continues to hold on to the distinction as the largest selling album worldwide in the history of the music industry with more than 70 million sold. Singles from the album such as “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and the title track, “Thriller” have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. Yet another record held by the King. And of course, there was THE definitive music video…
From this point forward the name “Michael Jackson” became synonymous with pop music. Including Off The Wall and Thriller, five of Michael’s albums are still considered some of the top selling records of all time (Bad, Dangerous, and HIStory comprise the other three). Throughout his iconic career, Jackson sold an estimated 750 million albums worldwide, released 13 number one singles, won 13 Grammy Awards and the AMA’s Artist of the Century Award, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… twice!
The songs. The moves. The performances. There’s never been anyone else like Michael Jackson. From little kids born decades after his heyday to pop superstars such as Justin Timberlake and Usher, MJ has inspired millions to dance and sing with all their hearts. While his personal life was filled with controversy, it’s impossible to deny the unrivaled talent and sheer charisma that was embodied by the King of Pop. His music and legacy will live on.