Michael Jackson – Thriller
First taking to the stage at the age of just 11 as part of his family’s gig The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson grew quickly into the superstardom which would both reward and plague his life. An apparently unstoppable creative and financial force through the highs of his career, ‘The King of Pop’ struggled with a confused and turbulent private life that was often made appalling public. In the wake of his shock death though, it is for his artistry – and not his controversies – that he will be remembered and sadly missed.
Jackson was born 29 August 1958, in Gary, Indiana, to an African-American working-class family. His father, Joseph Jackson, had been a guitarist but had put aside his musical aspirations to provide for his family as a crane operator. Believing his sons had talent, he molded them into a musical group in the early 1960s. At first, the Jackson Family performers consisted of Michael’s older brothers Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie. Michael joined his siblings when he was five, and emerged as the group’s lead vocalist. He showed remarkable range and depth for such a young performer, impressing audiences with his ability to convey complex emotions. Older brother Marlonalso became a member of the group, which evolved into the The Jackson 5.
Behind the scenes, Joseph Jackson pushed his sons to succeed. He was also reportedly known to become violent with them. Michael and his brothers spent endless hours rehearsing and polishing up their act. At first, the Jackson 5 played local gigs and built a strong following. They recorded one single on their own, ‘Big Boy’ with the b-side ‘You’ve Changed’, but it failed to generate much interest.
The Jackson 5 moved on to working an opening act for such R&B artists as Gladys Knight and the Pips, James Brown, and Sam and Dave. Many of these performers were signed to the legendary Motown record label, and it has been reported that Gladys Knight may have been the one to tell Motown founder Berry Gordy about the Jackson 5. Impressed by the group, Gordy signed them to his label in 1968.
Relocating to Los Angeles, Michael and his brothers started work on their music and dancing with their father as their manager. They lived with Gordy and also with Supremes singer Diana Ross when they first arrived there. In August 1969, the Jackson 5 was introduced to the music industry at a special event, and later served as the opening act for the Supremes. Their first album, ‘Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5’, hit the charts in December of that year. It’s first single, ‘I Want You Back’, hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1970. Read more…..www.thebiographychannel.co.uk
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