King Of Pop
has gone through personal scandal, family squabbles and
numerous career quakes but Michael Joseph Jackson remains
one of the planet's best known figures.
in 1958, Jackson has spent his whole life in the public
eye as he began performing at the age of four.
the youngest member of the Jackson Five, he became the
group's lead vocalist, projecting a self-confident image
which belies the private personality he shows today.
his age, he managed to make chart-toppers like I Want
You Back and I'll Be There completely credible.
the time he was 10, the Jackson Five had signed to Motown
Records and were well on the road to US success, bullied
into fame by their father Joe.
is a lot of sadness in my past life," Jackson told
Oprah Winfrey in 1993.
father beat me. It was difficult to take being beaten
and then going onstage.
was strict; very hard and stern."
Jackson's first solo release was the ballad Got to Be
a cute child singing sentimental but catchy ballads, he
was a hit.
eclipsed by their biggest star, the Jackson Five's fortunes
began to slip.
1978, Jackson starred as the Scarecrow in an all-black
pop version of The Wizard of Oz, called The Wiz, which
starred Diana Ross as Dorothy. But it was a box office
began of slightly odd behaviour at this time, with Michael
said to be seeking solace in the Scarecrow role and going
home at night with his make-up still on.
was really launched as an adult star with Off The Wall
in 1979, a collaboration with legendary producer Quincy
album topped the UK and US charts and had the singles
Don't Stop Till You Get Enough, for which Jackson won
a Grammy, and Rock With You.
the rumours about Jackson's behaviour grew.
seemed to be trying to capture the youth he never had,
surrounding himself with animals and toys.
1982 he released the very adult album Thriller, the most
successful album of all time, selling more than 47m copies
and winning seven Grammys.
produced a run of hits such as The Girl Is Mine - a duet
with Paul McCartney - Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller.
landed the largest individual sponsorship deal in history
from Pepsi in 1983 and his involvement in the 1984 Victory
tour sparked the greatest demand for concert tickets in
Jackson had become a myth and as his career headed for
the stratosphere, rumours about him started to gain mythical
was said to be trying to change his appearance with plastic
surgery, to be taking drugs to make his skin white and
to be obsessed with his own ageing process.
he would blame his changing appearance on a skin pigmentation
at the time Jackson seemed to do nothing to stop the rumours
and got on with his own life, recording Bad, which appeared
next release was Dangerous in 1992, which received more
critical acclaim than Bad.
in 1993, allegation of sexual abuse were made by a 13-year-old
friend of Jackson's, and police were called in.
settled with the boy's family a year later, for an estimated
$20m, and the criminal investigation was dropped in 1994.
his categorical denials of any wrong-doing, there was
a media frenzy, heightened by Jackson's 1994 marriage
to Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' daughter, which some claimed
was a publicity stunt.
marriage soon collapsed.
remarried in 1997, this time to a 37-year-old nurse called
couple have two children; Prince Michael Junior, born
in 1997 and Paris Michael Katherine, born in 1998.
filed for divorce in 1999, leaving Jackson with the children
at his huge Neverland ranch in California.
marked 30 years in showbusiness in 2001 with a huge concert,
starring Britney Spears, N'Sync, and a reunion of the
new album, Invincible, met with a lukewarm reception.
2002, his third child, Prince Michael II, was born to
a mystery mother.
the first time the world saw him threw Jackson into yet
more controversy - as he dangled the infant out of a hotel
window in Berlin, causing an international outcry.
the seeds were sown for yet further trouble. British journalist
Martin Bashir filmed the scenes in Berlin for a documentary,
transmitted in February 2003.
it, Jackson admitted to sleeping in the same room as children
at his Neverland ranch, and a 12-year-old boy who had
survived cancer was seen cuddling up to him.
film sparked another international storm - although he
received a more sympathetic reception from fans in the
US - and Jackson claimed he had been "betrayed"
even went as far as to release his own film showing Bashir
praising his "spectacular" relationship with
has since brought more upheaval for the famously secretive
has been hit by a flurry of lawsuits by former aides and
promoters amid rumours that he is on the verge of bankruptcy
- a claim his current advisers deny.
the truth of Jackson's life, his musical career seems
doomed to be eclipsed by the myths and legends surrounding