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How Michael Jackson Became The King of Pop

Author KevinKevin, February 9th, 2024

Read All About The Life Of A Legend

Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web, Thomas Edison discovered the lightbulb, and Michael Jackson invented the moonwalk! As a child, he outsang contemporaries four times his age; in his later life, genre-defying masterpieces such as Thriller and Off The Wall earned him his place on the throne as the King of Pop, now, there's even a musical in his honor! Before you rush off to book MJ The Musical tickets...let's take a look at how the pop pioneer earned his crown.

The Jackson 5 Era

Michael Jackson may have been little, but he was born with a big voice. Along with Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon, they formed The Jackson 5, one of the most successful Motown acts of the 70s, and of all time.

If being one of the first African American performers to attain crossover success wasn't enough, they were the first group in music history to have four singles released consecutively to reach No. 1 on Billboard's Top 100, each selling over a million copies: "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There." They had changed the course of Motown forever, but as the 80s rolled around, Michael officially left in 1984, however for him, it was only the beginning.

Off The Wall and Thriller

Michael's rise to pop royalty commenced with his groundbreaking solo album Off the Wall (1979). Fusing pop, funk, disco, and soul elements with tracks like "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock with You," the album soared to the top spot of the charts, earning both commercial and critical acclaim.

However, it was his follow-up album, Thriller, released in 1982, that truly solidified his status as the King of Pop. Thriller became the best-selling album of all time, a record it still holds to this day. With "Billie Jean," "Beat It," and the title track "Thriller," the album dominated the charts and airwaves, earning Michael a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in a single night. We can all vividly remember a zombified Michael in the Thriller video and recall some of the dance moves by heart. The 14-minute music video, directed by John Landis, was more than just a promotional tool; it revolutionized the music video industry and made Michael a household name.

The Moonwalk

It was during a performance of "Billie Jean" on the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special in 1983 that Michael debuted his signature, ingenious dance move, the moonwalk, a gravity-defying glide across the stage that mesmerized audiences and became his signature move. The moonwalk, along with his other dance moves, helped redefine the possibilities of live performance and set a new standard for music and dance.

Later Years

With subsequent releases, such as Bad and Dangerous, the late King of Pop went on to become one of the best-selling musical artists of all time with estimated sales of over 400 million records, joining elite superstars such as Elvis Presley, Madonna, and The Beatles. He achieved 13 Billboard Hot 100 number one-singles and was the first artist to have a top-ten single on the Billboard charts in five different decades.

He earned 15 Grammy Awards, six Brit Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and held 39 Guinness World Records, including the "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time". He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and many more.

You've Been Hit By MJ The Musical!

So, what are you waiting for? Close your eyes, let that rhythm get into you, and get ready to rock with MJ The Musical as you celebrate the legacy of Michael Jackson live on stage!

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