Posted on January 20, 2015
He’s one of the most beloved yet controversial figures of all time. He won the world’s heart with his big smile and moonwalk but his strange behavior and allegations against him made people wonder what he was really all about. Whatever you think of him, you can’t deny that he has played a huge part in the popular culture of the last several decades.
Born at 12:13 AM as Michael Joseph Jackson in Gary, Indiana, to Katherine Esther Scruse and Joseph Walter Jackson.
Michael becomes a member of the Jackson 5 along with his brothers Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, and Marlon. He is lead singer. Their father, Joe, is their manager. Their first paying gig is at a place called Mr. Lucky’s.
Sister Janet Jackson is born.
Around this time Jackson begins hiding spiders in his older sister LaToya’s bed.
The Jackson 5 sign a contract with Motown records.
The Jackson 5 has their first hit single “Want You Back.” The debut single sells well over two million copies.
They perform “I Want You Back” on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Jackson 5 release their debut album Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5.
Jackson 5 release the album ABC.
They release their third album entitled Third Album.
They release Christmas Album.
Michael releases his first solo single “Got To Be There.”
Jackson 5 release Maybe Tomorrow.
A Jackson 5 tv special airs on ABC called Goin’ Back to Indiana. The show features Diana Ross, Bill Cosby, Tommy Smothers, Bobby Darin, Rosey Grier, Ben Davidson, and basketball stars Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, and Elvin Hayes.
Jackson 5 release Goin’ Back to Indiana, the soundtrack from the tv special. The album sells 2.6 million copies worldwide.
Jackson 5 releases Greatest Hits.
Michael Jackson releases his debut album Got To Be There.
Michael gets his first U.S. #1 solo hit with “Ben,” a song from the movie Ben, which is the sequel to the 1971 movie Willard. The song spends a week at the top of the U.S. charts and it is the #20 song for 1972.
Jackson 5 releases Lookin’ Through the Windows.
Michael Jackson releases his second solo album, Ben.
Michael performs “Ben” at the Academy Awards. The song is nominaded for Best Original Song but loses to “The Morning After” from The Poseidon Adventure.
Michael Jackson releases his third solo album Music & Me.
Jackson 5 releases Skywriter.
Jackson 5 releases Getting It Together.
Jackson 5 releases Dancing Machine.
Michael Jackson releases his fourth solo album Forever, Michael.
Jackson 5 releases Moving Violation.
The Jackson 5 change their name to The Jacksons and get their own TV show.
His album Off the Wall, produced by Quincy Jones, launches him to superstar standing. It sells over nineteen million copies worldwide.
Wins a Grammy for Best Vocal Performance with “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”
He wins two American Music Awards – Favorite Soul/R&B Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist.
He meets Brooke Shields at the Academy Awards and the two begin a relationship.
Releases Thriller which sells over 50 million copies worldwide and solidifies him as the King of Pop. It remains today the best selling album of all time.
Performs “Billy Jean” at the Motown 25 Yesterday, Today, Forever Special and does the moonwalk for the first time. This will become his signature move.
Michael and his brothers sign a $5 million partnership with Pepsi that is more than any other celebrity endorsement deal in history.
During the filming of the Pepsi commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, his hair catches fire. He sustains second degree burns to his scalp.
At the Grammy Awards, Michael and his producer Quincy Jones win record of the year for “Beat It” and Album of the Year for Thriller.
He reportedly gets his third nose job.
Gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Co-writes “We Are the World” with Lionel Richie. The same year, he has another nose job and has permanent eyeliner tattooed above his eyes.
He buys all of the rights to The Beatles catalog.
Stars in Francis Ford Coppola’s Captain EO.
Photos of him in a hyperbaric chamber are published in the National Enquirer. Jackson later says it’s part of his plan to extend his life beyond its “natural span.”
He reportedly tries to buy the “Elephant Man”s (John Merrick) skeleton for a reported one million dollars.
He gets another nose job and all of a sudden has deep cheekbones and his skin has turned white.
He releases the album Bad which sells over eight million copies.
Releases his autobiography Moonwalk.
Moves to the Neverland Valley Ranch in California’s Santa Ynez Valley.
Gets surgery done to put a cleft into his chin.
Begins to wear a surgical mask in public.
He arrives at the Academy Awards with Madonna on his arm, sparking a media feeding frenzy.
Releases the album Dangerous.
Cruises the Caribbean with eleven-year-old actor Macaulay Culkin. Culkin would later say that Michael befriended him after seeing him in Home Alone and wanted to mentor him because he knew what it was like to be a child star.
Founded “Heal the World Foundation”, an organization that will help improve the lives of children everywhere.
Invites Oprah Winfrey to his Neverland ranch. He proceeds to tell her he has the skin disorder, vitiligo, and this is why his skin complexion has changed so much. Tells her of the abuse he had to endure at his father’s hand and also denies the Elephant Man skeleton story.
A West African village located in Gabon, Ivory Coast crowns him ‘King Sani.’
A lawsuit is filed against him accusing him of seducing and abusing thirteen-year-old Jordy Chandler.
Makes a TV appearance saying he is innocent of the child molestation charges.
Settles lawsuit by paying the plaintiff twenty million dollars. The Los Angeles and Santa Barbara district attorneys do not file child-molestation charges against him.
Marries Lisa Marie Presley at a private ceremony in the Dominican Republic.
Releases the album HIStory Past, Present, Future Book 1.
He and Lisa Marie separate.
He impregnates his dermatologist’s dermatologist’s secretary, Debbie Rowe. She miscarries.
He and Lisa Marie divorce. However, the couple continues to date on and off for four years after their divorce.
While he performs “Earth Song” at the UK Brit awards, and is surrounded by a choir of children, Pulp lead singer Jarvis Cocker storms the stage to protest Jackson portraying Jesus Christ. Jackson is not amused and says he is “sickened, saddened, shocked, upset, cheated and angry.”
Marries Debbie Rowe in Sydney, Australia.
Releases Blood On the Dance Floor.
Rowe has a baby boy, Prince Michael Joseph, Junior. His godparents are Elizabeth Taylor and Macaulay Culkin.
Rowe gives birth to Paris Michael Katherine. Macaulay Culkin is the godfather.
He and Debbie Rowe divorce. She gives him full custody of their two children.
Releases the album Invincible which sells over eight million copies worldwide.
He is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Calls Sony chairman Tommy Mottola a racist and “devilish.”
Prince Michael II is born. The identity of the mother is never released.
Dangles his newborn son, Prince Michael II, from a Berlin hotel balcony, four stories high.
He is taken into custody by the Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Department on charges of child molestation. He posts a three million dollar bail.
Pleads not guilty to child molestation charges.
Wearing a black ski mask, Jackson shops at Wal-Mart. Finding him very suspicous, Wal-Mart calls the police. Not long after, the police pull him over. Nothing comes of it because he is simply vacationing near Aspen, Colorado so his children can see snow.
Pleads not guilty after grand jury indictment.
Asks Nicole Kidman to go with him to the MTV Music Awards. She turns him down.
The People vs. Jackson trial begins jury selection.
Prosecution opens its case with accusations that Jackson used wine and pornography to seduce the 13-year-old boy. The defense counters that no DNA from the accuser has been found in Jackson’s bedroom.
Jackson fails to appear in court and the judge threatens to issue an arrest for him. Jackson’s lawyer tracks him down at a hospital where he has been admitted for back problems. The judge gives him one hour to appear. He does, and the trial continues.
Actor Macaulay Culkin testifies and says Jackson never touched him sexually in any way, and that yes, he did sleep in Jackson’s bed, but that was only because he happened to fall asleep there.
The jury finds Jackson not guilty.
In an interview with the Associated Press in Tokyo, he says: “I’ve been in the entertainment industry since I was 6 years old, and as Charles Dickens would say, ‘It’s been the best of times, the worst of times.’ But I would not change my career … While some have made deliberate attempts to hurt me, I take it in stride because I have a loving family, a strong faith and wonderful friends and fans who have, and continue, to support me.”
He releases Thriller 25 to mark the 25th anniversary of Thriller. It features a previously unreleased song, “For All Time,” as well as remixes with younger artists such as will.i.am and Akon.
He dies of cardiac arrest due to acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. The Los Angeles County Coroner rules his death a homicide. His personal physician Conrad Murray is convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
A public memorial service is held at the Staples Center in L.A.
Sony Music Entertainment signs a $250 million deal with Michael Jackson’s estate to retain distribution rights to his recordings until 2017. The deal also allows them to release seven albums in the decade following his death.
Conrad Murray’s trial begins in Los Angeles.
Murray is found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Judge Michael Pastor sentences Murray to four years in prison.
Choreographer Wade Robson alleges on The Today Show that Jackson performed sexual acts on him for seven years beginning when Robson was seven years old. Robson previously testified in defense of Jackson at his 2005 trial. The attorney for Jackson’s estate calls these claims “outrageous and pathetic.”
Conrad Murray is released after two years due to good behavior and prison overcrowding.
The IRS says that Jackson’s estate owes them $702 million, including $197 million in penalties.
Jimmy Safechuck sues the Jackson estate, claiming the Michael sexually abused him in the 1980s. Safechuck appeared in a Pepsi ad with Michael in 1987.
Epic Records releases an album of unreleased material, Xscape.
During the 2014 Billboard Music Awards on May 18, a “Pepper’s ghost” likeness of Jackson appeared, dancing to “Slave to the Rhythm”, a song from his second posthumously released album, Xscape.