Michael Jackson: 1958 - 2009

Signs of success

Michael Jackson, far left, and the rest of the Jackson Five in 1972. The five brothers from Indiana were signed to Berry Gordy’s Motown record label.

All in the family

The Jackson 5 perform in Los Angeles on a 1970s Bob Hope TV special. Michael continued to front the band, but his solo career was already on the rise, starting with 1971’s “Got to Be There.”

A wonderful Wiz

Michael Jackson at the opening of “The Wiz.” The 1978 movie musical was the first time the pop star worked with legendary producer Quincy Jones, who would soon produce Jackson ’s breakout solo album “Off the Wall,” and eventually the “Thriller” album as well. Jackson ’s “Wiz” co-star was friend and mentor Diana Ross, who had introduced the world to the Jackson 5 back in 1969.

Wanna be startin’ somethin’?

Michael Jackson performs in concert during a 1981 tour with his brothers. During the tour, Michael began writing down ideas for a solo project that blossomed into the highest selling album of all time.

Handfuls of glory

With Quincy Jones at his side, Michael Jackson holds six of the eight awards he won for “Thriller” at the 1984 Grammy Awards. His outfit, complete with epaulets, sequined glove and dark shades, became a quintessential Michael look.

They were the world

In January 1985, a who’s who of the music and movie worlds came together to sing “We Are the World,” written to benefit famine victims in Ethiopia . Michael Jackson can be seen front and center, along with Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Elizabeth Taylor and dozens of other stars. Michael’s sister Janet can be seen bottom right.

Role model

During a May 1984 ceremony at the White House, Michael Jackson accepts a Presidential Award from President Reagan as first lady Nancy Reagan looks on. Jackson was honored as a model for American youth, and for lending his hit song “Beat It” to a new campaign against drunk driving.

Power marriage

Michael Jackson and then wife Lisa Marie Presley are seen at Neverland Ranch in preparation of the Children’s World Summit in April 1995. Presley would file for divorce less than a year later, prompting speculation about just what had inspired the relationship.

Marriage 2.0

Just months after his divorce from Lisa Marie, Michael Jackson walked down the aisle with Debbie Rowe. This wedding photo was released by Jackson ’s publicist minutes after the Nov. 13, 1996, ceremony in Sydney , Australia . But the pairing was less about romance and more about bearing Jackson a child, and the two would divorce three years later, with Rowe eventually ceding parental rights to Jackson .

Best of friends

Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor arrive at a Sept. 7, 2001, concert celebrating the 30 years of Jackson ’s career. The two stars had been longtime friends, and Taylor is godmother to two of Michael’s children.

Not so invincible

Michael Jackson poses for photographers during a November 2001 appearance in New York ’s Times Square . Jackson made his first ever in-store appearance to promote his new album “Invincible,” which was released Oct. 30. “Invincible,” at the time the most expensive album ever produced, fared better with critics and fans than 1995’s “HIStory,” but questions began to surface about the future of Jackson ’s career.

One big mistake

Michael Jackson holds a towel-covered Prince Michael II over the balcony of a Berlin hotel on Nov. 19, 2002. Jackson later called the incident a “terrible mistake,” but the image of him dangling his baby son out a window shocked even many die-hard fans. And his reputation was to receive far worse damage just a few months later.

Arresting development

Michael Jackson is pictured in this Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department mug shot from Nov. 20, 2003. In a February 2003 documentary, Jackson acknowledged letting boys sleep in his bed. Soon after, Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon launched a probe into allegations that Jackson had molested a teen boy who appeared in the program. Authorities raided Neverland Ranch in November, and Jackson surrended for arrest days later.

Family support

Michael, center, and sisters LaToya, left and Janet Jackson walk over to greet fans during a lunch break at a pretrial hearing in Santa Maria , Calif. , in this Aug. 16, 2004, file photo.

MJ’s PJs

Michael Jackson wears pajama pants and is aided by bodyguards after arriving more than an hour late to court on Mar. 10, 2005, during his trial on the 2003 molestation charges. Jackson appeared after Judge Rodney Melville threatened to revoke his bail.

Singin’ with the kids

Michael Jackson sings with some of his young fans at the World Music Awards at Earls Court in London on Nov. 16, 2006.

Converts to Islam Nov 2008
Michael Jackson has reportedly become a Muslim and changed his name to Mikaeel.

Father figure

Michael Jackson walks with kids Prince and Paris through a studio parking lot in Los Angeles in March 2009. The singer had been spotted with his entourage going to a studio on a cold rainy day in the city. The pop star stayed at the studio for more than two hours, and there were many production people working around him, suggesting that the star was filming.

Concert tour planned

Fans take pictures of an electronic screen projecting a press conference by Michael Jackson at the O2 arena in London on March 5, 2009. The pop megastar announced he would play a series of comeback concerts in London in July, his first major shows in more than a decade.



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