Michael Jackson: the King of Pop

By Paul Williams
November 15, 2001

none given

He is the only man who is able to draw Marlon Brando out of hiding for an award show, shut down Times Square in New York city, and have his new album reach number one on the Billboard charts this week. Who is he? The king of pop, Michael Jackson, who in case you did not know, released his latest album “Invincible,” on Oct.30, 2001.

Despite mixed reviews of his new album, it will enter the charts at number one this week. The 16-track CD will feature guests like guitarist Carlos Santana, the departed rapper Notorious B.I.G. and actor Chris Tucker. The video for the first song of the disc is “You Rock My World,” which features movie actors including Tucker, and it has been on heavy rotation on both MTV and VH1. During the weekend of Halloween, also on heavy rotation on both of those channels, was the Michael Jackson Halloween special, “Michael Jackson’s Ghosts.”

Jackson also stopped traffic at Times Square in New York, at his first-ever in-store appearance at the Virgin Records store. This recent frenzy concerning Jackson has people not only buying his new album but also several of his older albums. Later this year, he is expected to release his older albums with bonus tracks.

At just 4 years of age, Michael joined his brothers and formed the Jackson 5; he was the front man and lead vocalist. After having hits under Motown like “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll be there” in the late 1960s. In the mid ’70s, Michael, putting his solo career on hold, then filmed the movie, “The Wiz,” which was moderately successful. Quincy Jones, who would produce Michael’s first solo album, “Off The Wall,” produced the soundtrack to the film. ” Off The Wall,” had two number one hits and received Grammy awards.

Next, the team of Jones and Jackson worked on one of the most commercially successful albums ever. “Thriller,” which was released in 1982, had a long run of successful singles like “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and the most infamous “Thriller.” The album won seven Grammy awards for Jackson. Another hit which, came out in 1993, was his duet with Paul McCartney, a song titled, “Say, Say, Say.” Jackson would follow that up with the largest individual sponsorship deal ever, signed with Pepsi.

In 1985, after co-writing and performing “We Are The World,” Jackson’s career would start to down spiral. He destroyed his relationship with McCartney and upset Beatles fans when he bought the collection of John Lennon and Paul McCartney songs from the ATV Music Company. There were rumors spreading that he was taking drugs to change his skin color to white and sleeping in chambers. “Bad,” the title of his 1987 record, which was produced by Jones did not live up to the expectations of “Thriller.” Then in 1992, after releasing “Dangerous,” Jackson became the target of more allegations and rumors. Allegations of sexual abuse by Jackson’s young friends, as well as what looked like a staged marriage between him and Lisa Marie Presley, had the media swarming for more.

After his release of a double album, “History: Past, Present, Future,” it was discovered that Jackson had married again. This time to a woman named Debbie Rowe, with whom he had two children. The marriage ended in October 1999.

Despite personal obstacles, Jackson has succumbed the media mayhem. After all, he did not earn the title, king of pop for nothing.

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Paul Williams

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