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Off The Wall

Off The Wall

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Pop star Michael Jackson, a music icon who recorded Thriller, the best-selling album of all time, died Thursday (June 25) of cardiac arrest.

He was 50.

The following is a look back at the life of Michael Jackson:Michael Jackson burst onto the music scene in late 1969 when he teamed with his brothers and performed under the Motown label as The Jackson 5.

The group's first single, "I Want You Back," topped the pop and R&B charts immediately.

Their next two singles, "ABC" and "The Love You Save" also topped the charts and by the summer of 1971, after having released three albums, the group was also immortalized in an ABC network cartoon.

The group continued to record throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s.In 1977, Jackson was cast alongside Diana Ross in The Wiz, the all-black musical remake of The Wizard of Oz.

It was on this production that Jackson met producer Quincy Jones for the first time.

A year later, he rejoined his brothers to release Destiny, but when his management contract with his father expired, Michael Jackson decided to release a solo album.The 1979 release of Jackson's solo debut, Off The Wall, was a huge hit; one that has sold more than nine million copies to date.

Three years later, Jackson released Thriller, which became the best-selling album of all time (more than 31 million copies sold.) Seven of the nine tracks on the album hit the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and both "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" hit No.


The album and its tracks won eight Grammy awards.Thriller's sales were boosted by the exposure that his groundbreaking videos received on the then-nascent MTV.

With his meticulously-choreographed videos, Jackson quickly became the biggest star of the 1980s.

The video for "Thriller," a short film that was more than 10 minutes long, is widely regarded as best video of all time.It was during this time that Jackson signed the largest endorsement deal in history with Pepsi and was famously burned in an accident which took place during the filming of a commercial.

It was far from the last time that Jackson's health would be compromised.Still riding the wave of Thriller's success and healed from the burns suffered during the commercial shoot, Jackson rejoined his brothers for 1984's Victory.

The Jacksons Victory tour was one of the most successful of the year.

A year later, he joined an all-star collection of musicians â€" USA for Africa - for the African famine relief single "We Are The World," which he co-wrote with Lionel Richie.A year later, Jackson purchased ATV Publishing, the company that controlled the copyrights to the vast Lennon-McCartney musical catalog.

That year, he also began to work with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola on a project that became Captain Eo, a 3-D short film shown on IMAX screens in Disney amusement parks.

The film, which debuted in 1986, ran for 12 years in the parks.Jackson also returned to the studio that year in an attempt to record a follow-up to Thriller.

The result was 1987's Bad, and the disc spawned five No.

1 hits, as well as a worldwide tour that, at that time, became the highest-grossing tour of all time.

Four years later, after giving himself the moniker "The King of Pop," Jackson returned with Dangerous.

The 1991 album debuted at No.

1 and spawned three top-10 hits, including the No.

1 hit "Black or White."In the early 1990s, Jackson's popularity took a major hit when he was accused of molesting a 13-year old boy at his Neverland Ranch.

After two years of allegations, during which Jackson sought treatment for an addiction to painkillers, Jackson settled out of court.

During that period, Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley; however, the marriage failed after 19 months.1995's HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1, a two-disc set â€" one disc consisted of new material and one disc contained his greatest hits â€" debuted at No.

1, but the disc did not sell very well, this despite the fact that "You Are Not Alone" became the first single ever to debut atop the Billboard Hot 100 at No.

1.The following year, Jackson married nurse Debbie Rowe and the pair had two children, son Prince Michael Jackson, Jr.

in 1997, and daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson in 1998.

Jackson and Rowe split a year later.Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

On September 10 of that year, a tribute concert celebrating the 30th anniversary of Off the Wall (which was actually released 32 years earlier) was held at Madison Square Garden, and featured the first on-stage reunion of the Jackson family since 1984.

Late that year, he released Invincible, which debuted at No.

1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and which featured the hit singles "You Rock My World" and "Butterflies."Two years later, Jackson, whose music career had stalled, found himself the target of new molestation accusations.

In November 2003, Neverland Ranch was raided and he was arrested on charges of child molestation.

He went to trial in January 2005, and was acquitted in May of that year.After the trial, Jackson left the country and lived in Bahrain where he was working on a charity single for the victims of Hurricane Katrina; a single which never materialized.

Later that year, Jackson released a two-disc set, The Essential Michael Jackson and in 2006, he released the Visionary box set, which consisted of 20 DualDiscs which featured 20 of his hit singles and the attendant videos.In early 2007, stories came to light that Jackson was planning a comeback, and while it was never clear whether Jackson had recorded any tracks for a potential new album, by late 2008, it was clear that the free-spending Jackson, whose finances were in a dire state â€" he had lost his Neverland Ranch due to said financial difficulties â€" had made concrete plans to return to the spotlight.

Late last year, he announced that he would be performing at London's O2 arena, his final shows in that city.

The first batch of shows sold out immediately and by the time the dust had settled, 50 shows were sold, with the first series scheduled to begin in July 2009.Jackson was rehearsing extensively at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, at the time of his death.
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