Michael Jackson: In Life
August 29, 1958: Michael Joseph Jackson is born to Katherine and Joe Jackson in Gary, Indiana. His older siblings are Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, LaToya and Marlon. Later, brother Randy and sister Janet join the family. The children are raised as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
1962: Michael, Marlon, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine combine to form the Jackson 5. Initially, their Father is against the group, but later concedes and becomes their Manager. Michael sings lead vocals on a majority of their songs.
1968: Motown signs The Jackson 5.
1969: The song “I Want You Back” becomes a Number-One single.
1970: “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There” also become Number-One singles to continue the group’s success.
January 1972: Michael takes the mantle of his career as a solo artist and releases his first solo album, Got To Be There. The record produced the singles, “Got to Be There,” “Rockin’ Robin,” “I Wanna Be Where You Are” and would go on to sell over 5.2 million copies worldwide. The album was later remastered and reissued in 2009 as part of the 3-disc compilation Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection.
August 1972: Jackson releases his second solo album, Ben. While selling less than it’s predecessor and coming under widespread critical scrutiny, the records title track, a ballad about a pet rat featured in the horror movie of the same name smashes the charts.
1973: Jackson releases his third solo album, Music & Me. Selling four million copies worldwide, the album was later remastered and reissued in 2009 as part of the 3-disc compilation Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection.
1975: Jackson releases Forever, Michael, his fourth and final solo album for Motown Records. The album was generally well received by contemporary music critics. Unlike it’s predecessors, it did not sell well on a global level.
1978: Jackson makes his acting debut as the Scarecrow in The Wiz, an urban retelling of The Wizard Of Oz. Diana Ross co-stars as Dorothy.
1979: Jackson records Off The Wall, his fifth album as a solo artist. The singles “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You” both become number-one hits.
1980: Jackson wins his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Male Vocal Performance.
1982-1983: Jackson releases Thriller, which tops the charts for 37 weeks. Seven of the albums nine songs became Top 10 hits – including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Thriller” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”- a feat that has never been repeated. During the extended video feature, directed by John Landis, Jackson unveiled his signature dance move, the Moonwalk.
1984: Intense public scrutiny begins over Jackson’s changing appearance, which many suspect as multiple plastic surgery procedures. During this time Jackson builds Neverland, a home on 2,700 acres in Central California, complete with its own amusement park rides.
1985: Jackson and Lionel Richie join forces to write “We Are The World.” Proceeds from sales of the single benefit hunger relief in Africa. Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper and other prominent artists lend their voices to the song which sold a record seven million copies.
1985: Jackson purchases the publishing rights to more than 200 songs composed by Lennon and McCartney for a reported $47 million, trumping a joint bid by McCartney and Yoko Ono).
1987: Jackson’s releases his seventh album, Bad, behind which he embarks on a relentless world tour.
1988: Jackson stars in the film Moonwalker, a collection of short films about Jackson, several of which are long-form music videos from his Bad album. Later in the year, Doubleday press publishes Jackson’s autobiography using the similar title, Moonwalk.
1990: Thriller is certified with a platinum status for the 21st time by the RIAA, with which the Guinness Book of World Records certifies the record as the best-selling album ever. To date, it has sold over 65 million copies.
1991: Jackson releases his eighth album, Dangerous, which produced the hit single “Black Or White,” a collaboration with Guns & Roses guitarist Slash. Dangerous was Jackson’s second album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 – a spot it retained for four weeks. It has sold 32 Million copies worldwide and a Grammy for Best Engineered Album. The record also features the songs “Heal The World” and “Will You Be There,” the theme from Free Willy.
1992: Jackson tells Oprah Winfrey he has Vitiligo, a skin disorder that destroys melanin. In severe cases this disease can leave a victim devoid of skin color. He also discusses, for the first time, that his father emotionally abused him as a child.
1993: Jackson is accused in civil court of molesting an 11-year-old boy. Police descend on Neverland and subject Jackson to a full body search. “It was the most humiliating ordeal of my life,” he says in a televised statement later in the year.
1994: Jackson settles the molestation case out of court. The boy is paid more than $15 million, to be held in trust until he is an adult. The parents of the boy receive $1.5 million each.
May 26, 1994: Michael Jackson marries Lisa-Marie Presley, the daughter of the late Elvis Presley. Many commentators suggest that this is a public move to distance himself from his recent court case, others speak of the event as the merging of Rock ‘N Roll and Pop Monarchy’s. The marriage ultimately dissolved after just two years.
1995: Sony releases HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book I. Jackson’s ninth studio album is flag-shipped by the song “Scream,” a duet between Michael and his sister Janet.
1996: Jarvis Cocker of the British musical act Pulp interrupts Jackson’s performance at the BRIT Awards. Cocker later claimed he had taken issue with the Superstar imitating Christ in a performance of “Earth Song” which included a stage full of children and a Rabbi.
1997: Sony releases Blood On The Dancefloor, a remix collection taken from Michael Jackson’s HIStory recording project. Jackson also marries Debbie Rowe, who gives birth to the couple’s son, Prince Michael. Jackson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1998: Rowe gives birth to the couple’s daughter, Paris Michael Katherine.
1999: Jackson and Rowe separate.
2000: Rolling Stone Magazine includes “Billie Jean,” “Rock With You,” “I Want You Back” and “Beat It” in their list of the 100 greatest songs of all time.
2001: Sony releases Michael Jackson’s tenth and final studio album, Invincible, which was well-received by contemporary music critics, but did not sell well in comparison to his earlier body of work. A German concert promoter files a $21-million civil suit against Jackson, alleging the singer backed out of two concerts and retained his advance.
2002: Jackson lifts his newborn second son, Prince Michael II, over a hotel room balcony ledge, which leads to accusations of child-endangerment. The identity of the child’s mother is never revealed. Jackson says the child is the result of artificial insemination from a surrogate mother and his own sperm cells.
2003: Jackson is charged with seven counts of child sexual abuse and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent. All charges were made by the same boy, Gavin Arvizo, who was under 14 at the time of the alleged crime.
2005: Jackson is acquitted on all counts in the Arvizo case in the the People v. Jackson trial in Santa Maria, California.
2006: Financial troubles force closure on the main house on the Neverland Ranch. Jackson agrees to a Sony-backed refinancing deal. Jackson makes his first public appearance since the Arvizo trial to accept eight records from the Guinness World Records in London, including “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time.” In late 2006, Jackson agrees to share joint custody of his first two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe.
2007: Jackson and Sony buy Famous Music LLC from Viacom, which gives him rights to songs by Eminem, Shakira, Beck and others.
2008: Jackson issues Thriller 25, celebrating 25 years of the iconic album. The reissue hits number one in eight countries and reached number two in the U.S. Sony releases King of Pop, a fan-curated compilation.
June 25, 2009: Jackson passes away as a result of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles at the age of 50.
Michael Jackson: In Death
July 7: Beginning with a private service for Family and close friends at Forest Lawn Cemetery, in the Los Angeles community of Glendale at 8AM, Jackson’s body is moved to the Staple Center for a public memorial which featured speeches by Rev. Al Sharpton, Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson and Queen Latifah and impassioned performances by Shaheen Jafargholi, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Hudson, John Mayer, Lionel Richie, Usher and Stevie Wonder.
July 30: After weeks of negotiations, Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine Jackson and his ex-wife Debbie Rowe reached an out-of-court agreement giving Katherine Jackson full, permanent custody of the Jackson’s three children. Rowe is granted, “Meaningful visitation rights.”
August 3: Katherine Jackson legally named as the children’s permanent guardian.
August 27: The Los Angeles coroner’s office ruled Michael Jackson’s death a homicide. The cause of death was “acute propofol intoxication with benzodiazepine effect,” according to the coroner’s report.
September 3:Michael Jackson’s body is finally laid to rest during a private ceremony for family and close friends at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California, inside an enormous structure called the Great Mausoleum. The structure was inspired by Italy’s Campo Santo and is decorated with ornate artwork.
October 28: AEG Live releases “This Is It,” a documentary-concert film of rehearsals and preparation for the Michael Jackson concert series of the same name scheduled to start on July 13, 2009 in London. In the film’s opening weekend it grossed over $23 million – in the United States alone – making the film number one at the box office and the fifth highest-grossing Halloween debut. The film’s worldwide revenue gross was in total $260.8 million during its theatrical run making it the highest grossing documentary or concert movie of all time.
December 13: The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty debuts on the A&E Network. The show had initially been filmed as a one-off hour-long special about the The Jacksons (minus Michael), and their intention to release an album and begin a tour in celebration of the band’s fortieth year in music. Following Michael’s death, more footage of the family was shot and commissioned as series. After one season and six episodes, the series ended on January 27, 2010, with the episode “Now, What?”
February 8: Murray was charged with involuntary manslaughter and pleads “not guilty.” His trial will begin on August 23.
February: The four remaining Jackson brothers are reported to be in negotiations to film episodes for a second season of The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty.
March 16: Sony Music Entertainment signed a new deal with the Jackson estate to extend their distribution rights to his back catalogue until 2017. The label also obtained permission to release ten new albums with previously unreleased material and new collections of released work. The first of these releases is reportedly in November 2010, and the final album before December 2017. The deal was unprecedented in the music industry as it is the most expensive music contract of a single artist in history. Sony Music paid a reported $250 million for the deal. The Jackson estate received the full sum as well as its share of royalties for all works released.