American popular singer, dancer, and songwriter, known for his dancing style and unprecedented popular success. Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana. At the age of five he joined his brothers' singing group, then known as the Jackson 5 and later renamed the Jacksons. Michael's dancing ability as well as his singing skills made him the group's leader. Under the sponsorship of music producer Berry Gordy, the group became very popular, recording albums and making personal and television appearances.
Jackson's first solo album, Got to Be There (1971), established him as a solo performer. Leaving the family group, he played the Scarecrow in the musical film The Wiz (1978) and recorded the album Off the Wall (1979), which included a number of songs he had written. His album Thriller (1982) earned an unprecedented eight Grammy Awards and sold more than 40 million copies, making it the bestselling album in history up to that time.
The music videos of the singles "Beat It" (for which he received a Grammy) and "Billie Jean" from this album made Jackson a popular performer on MTV (see Music Television).
Jackson rejoined his brothers on a six-month tour after the release of their album Victory (1984). He also cowrote (with Lionel Richie) the song "We Are the World" (1985), which was performed by a group of more than 40 popular musicians, with all profits from audio and video sales donated to alleviate world hunger. Subsequently, Jackson's album Bad (1987) and the title single, as well as the video of the song, became bestsellers, as did his album Dangerous (1991) and the single "Remember the Time" (1991). In 1995 the double album HIStory was released. Half of the album is a compilation of the most successful songs from Thriller, Bad, and Dangerous, while the other half is a...