Saturday, August 29, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MICHAEL A star was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana. Singer, songwriter, dancer, actor Michael Joe Jackson started on the road to stardom while at Garnett Elementary School in Gary. Michael performed for his class by singing Climb Every Mountain. Within just a few years, he took his act to the stage joining his brothers as The Jackson Five. They were entertaining at Mr. Lucky’s, also in Gary, Indiana. Michael was only 8. By the time he was 11, Michael, the youngest of the five brothers, was the lead singer of the group.

And their hits were hitting the top of the charts: I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, I’ll Be There. Then young Michael started recording solo hits like Ben, also #1.

And the hits just kept on coming ... and the awards came with them: A Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal in 1979 for Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough, 5 Grammy Awards in 1983 -- Best Male Pop Vocal and Album of the Year (Thriller), Best Male R & B vocal and Best R & B song (Billie Jean), and Best Recording for Children: E.T., the Extraterrestrial; 2 in 1984 -- Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal (Beat It); another in 1985 with Lionel Richie for Song of the Year (We are the World); a Best Music Video/Short Form Grammy in 1989 for Leave Me Alone; and finally, The Legend Award Grammy -- for the living legend in the music industry, Michael Jackson.

Whether Michael sang with his brothers, his sisters, alone or in duets with fellow performers, the results were hit, after hit, after hit ... The Girl is Mine and Stay, Stay, Stay with Paul McCartney; I Just Can’t Stop Loving You with Siedah Garrett; Rock with You, Bad, Smooth Criminal ... Ease on Down the Road with Diana Ross (from Broadway’s The Wiz in which Michael played the scarecrow). Michael, the actor, was also seen as a hologram, Captain Eo in Epcot Center’s multimedia show.

A celebrity for most of his life, Michael was both magic and tragic ... the gloved one’s fame and infamy well-known throughout the world: he made $70 million from Thriller; he paid $50 million for the rights to the Beatles’ 251 songs; his Bad album was number one in 23 countries; he created an amusement park and zoo at his California estate; he married and divorced Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of the King of Rock. He remarried; became a father; was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 19, 2001; and was dogged by allegations of child sexual abuse (he was tried and acquitted in 2005).

On June 25, 2009, Michael Jackson died suddenly, leaving many unanswered questions. The magic and tragedy of the life and death of the King of Pop continues as the rest of the story is still being written.

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