The king of pop, Michael Jackson, was one of the most popular and legendary entertainers of all time. His contribution to music, dance and fashion made him a global icon for more than four decades.
Born in Gary, Indiana, in 1958, he made his professional debut in 1964 as a member of the family band, the Jackson 5, along with siblings Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon and Tito. He became a dominant solo figure on the international music scene, releasing the best-selling album of all time, Thriller, in 1982.
His other albums, such as Off the Wall in 1979 and Bad in 1987, also rank among the world’s best-sellers. He is an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and holds numerous Guinness World Records, including Most Successful Entertainer of All Time.
With 13 Grammy Awards, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award, he also scooped 24 American Music Awards, including the Artist of the Century. He has achieved 13 number one singles in America (more than any other male artist) and has sold more than 350 million records worldwide.
Jackson was the first artist to have a top 10 single in America’s Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades, after Love Never Felt So Good peaked at number nine in 2014. His first single as lead artist was Got To Be There with the Jackson 5 in 1971, reaching number four in the United States and number five in the UK singles charts.
He released a total of 72 singles during his career, including massive number one hits such as Ben in 1972, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough and Rock With You in 1979, Billie Jean, Beat It and Say Say Say in 1983, Bad and The Way You Make Me Feel in 1987, Man in the Mirror in 1988 and Black or White in 1991.
His records achieved multiple platinum and gold status and charted all over the world, making Jackson a truly global superstar.
Man in the Mirror
Co-written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett Jackson, Man in the Mirror was taken from the album, Bad, in January 1988. The song is all about making a change – and realising that any change must start with you, the man in the mirror, as an individual.
The song was chosen for inclusion on the album because Jackson and his producer, Quincy Jones, were looking for “an anthem” to “spread some sunshine on the world”, according to Jones. It was chosen from a number of songs submitted by songwriters from Jones’ publishing company.
It was the first song that Garrett had written, and Jackson later said it was one of his favourite songs. Garrett described it as being “deeper than just the visual of a man looking at himself in the mirror.” He said that to make a difference on the outside, you must first start with the inside. “Michael just got it,” Garrett said. “He got the meaning of the song right away.”
The recording featured backing vocals from Garrett, the Andraé Crouch Choir and The Winans. The choir had also featured on Madonna’s hit single, Like a Prayer. Jackson dedicated the single to Japanese boy Yoshiaki Ogiwara, five, who had been tragically kidnapped and murdered in 1987, while Jackson was on tour in Japan.
The song’s video was unusual because Jackson didn’t appear in it. Instead, it consisted of a montage of various famous people and related news events. Directed by Don Wilson, it featured footage of children in Africa, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and other historical figures.
After its first chart success, Man in the Mirror charted again following Jackson’s untimely death in 2009. Second time around, it peaked at number two in the singles charts.
The legendary singer may be gone, but he will never be forgotten, as he lives on forever through his wonderful music.
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