Michael Jackson was in the public eye from a young age as a part of the Jackson 5, and like him the stories started very early on.
Michael Joseph Jackson was born August 29, 1958. He had started performing at the age of 5 and by the age of 8 he was touring the Midwest extensively with the Jackson 5. He finally made his debut on the major music scene in 1968 as a member of the Jackson 5 at the age of 10.
Story Number 1: Childhood
It was in the first television interview that Michael Jackson had given since 1979 that he first spoke of the stories of his alleged childhood abuse. Michael Jackson admitted that he had often felt lonely and persecuted as a child and cried as a result of this. He revealed that he was physically and emotionally abused by his father in several different ways; enduring incessant rehearsals, beatings and verbal abuse.
On one occasion their father, had apparently, climbed into Michael’s room wearing a scary mask and proceeded to scream and shout. Their father’s reasoning for this behavior is that he wanted to teach his children not to leave their windows open whilst they were sleeping.
However, this quite obviously did more to damage Michael than teach him a simple lesson. The singer revealed in an interview that this incident resulted in nightmares centered around kidnapping for years after.
In an interview with Martin Bashir, which was released in 2003, Michael said: “i didn’t have it that hard, he used me as the example, “do it like Michael” … he practiced us with a belt in his hand and if you missed a step then expect to be hit…he would tear you up if you missed… really get you”. Although Michael did admit he had been abused by his father, in extra footage he suggested that ‘he hurt me with his love, be he is a genius, the man is a genius”.
Story Number 2: Thriller
On November 30 1982, Jackson released his sixth studio album produced by Epic Records; Thriller. Thriller was the follow up album to ‘Off the Wall’, 9 of the tracks were written by MJ himself and it explored several different genres including funk, disco, soul, soft rock, R&B and pop.
At its best the album was selling a million copies a week worldwide, and in just over a year it became, and still remains, the best selling album of all time. It is estimated that the album sold an excess of 60 million copies around the globe. Seven of the songs were released as singles and all reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The album broke records, winning eight Grammy Awards in 1984 in three different genres – pop, R&B and rock. It was Thriller that sent Jackson soaring into super-stardom and cemented him as one of, if not the, predominant pop star of the late 20th Century.
The album ranked number 20 in the Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003 and was also listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at number three in their ‘Definitive 200 Albums of All Time’.
Story Number 3: The Moonwalk
The ‘Moonwalk’ or ‘backslide’ is a dance technique that presents the illusion that the dancer is stepping forward while actually moving backward.
Michael Jackson’s first ever public moonwalk was supposedly in 1983 at the Motown 25th Anniversary whilst performing “Billie Jean”.
Jackson was not the first person to perform the moonwalk and older stars have claimed that they taught him the move, but there is no doubt that he popularized the moonwalk and the robot dance moves and made them his own. The dance gained worldwide popularity after Michael Jackson performed it and soon became considered his signature move. The moonwalk has since become one of the best known dance moves in the world.
Story Number 4: Bad
In his autobiography Jackson said that the song was about the street. A kid from a bad neighborhood who goes away to a private school. He comes back and the kids from the neighborhood start to tease him. He sings “I’m bad, you’re bad, who’s bad… etc”. Michael paradoxically suggests that when you are strong and good, you are bad.
Michael Jackson’s album ‘Bad’ was released on 31st August 1987 followed closely by the single ‘Bad’ which was released on September 7 1987, which was MJ’s seventh number one hit single over all. Bad remained in the top spot for two consecutive weeks from October 24th 1987.
Twenty years after the album was released it had sold over 30 million copies worldwide and shipped 8 million units in the United States. It was the first and currently only album ever to feature five songs in the Billboard Hot 100 number 1 singles.
In the late 80’s the album won two Grammy’s, one for Best Music Video for Leave Me Alone and one for Best Engineered Album. Bad was also ranked number 43 in the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time of the MTV Generation in 2009 listed by VH1. It was also ranked number 202 on the Rolling Stone magazine 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Bad became the first of Jackson’s albums to debut at number-one on the Billboard 200 where it remained for the next six consecutive weeks. In the UK the album sold 500,000 copies in just five days and is currently certified 13x platinum, for sales of 3.9 million making it Jackson’s biggest-selling album in the UK.
Globally, it is Jackson’s overall third best-selling recording, with 30 million copies sold. Five of the album’s songs hit number one, which was a record in itself. Bad was the 9th best selling album in British History and this was announced in 2006.
Story Number 5: Bubbles and Pets
Bubbles is the name of the chimpanzee that became associated with Michael Jackson. He rescued the chimp from a Cancer research clinic in Texas in 1985.
Michael Jackson was reportedly quite close to the chimp but the media mocked this friendship; as they mocked many aspects of his life. The relationship was portrayed as weird and Jackson as a ‘bizarre eccentric’, obsessed with recapturing his lost childhood. It was this incident that lead the star to be named ‘Wacko Jacko’.
Bubbles sat in with Jackson when he recorded Bad, and was obviously a big part of his life for a while; Bubbles even made a cameo appearance in “Liberian Girl” a track from the album. The chimp was moved to the Neverland ranch with ‘Jacko’ in 1988 and he slept in a crib in his bedroom. Sometimes the Chimp wore a diaper and on other occasions he was allowed to use Michael Jackson’s private toilet – something which the star was also scrutinized for.
Jackson has been reported as once said “My chimp bubbles is a constant delight.” Kenny Rogers once said of Bubbles: “..[he] was so human it was almost frightening. He would take Christopher [Rogers’ son] by the hand, walk over to the refrigerator, open it, take out a banana, and hand it to him. Christopher was amazed…we all were.”
Bubbles is reported to still be alive today after he was removed to an animal century because there were fears he may attack Jackson’s newborn son, Prince Michael II.
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