Michael Jackson: The Revolutionary

Michael Jackson: The Revolutionary
ESSENCE.COM Jul, 08, 2009

1 of 16 Life

When it comes to topping charts and breaking barriers, no one does it quite like Michael Jackson. Keep clicking for the real deal on why he’s the undisputed King of Pop.

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Jackson’s 1979 album “Off the Wall” made him the first solo artist to have four top ten hits on the Billboard charts from the same album. He would go on to top himself with the success of “Thriller.”

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MJ’s 1982 classic “Thriller” is still the world’s best-selling album of all time with over 100 million copies sold worldwide. With “Thriller,” he also became the first artist to hold seven top ten hits on the Billboard charts with one album.

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4 of 16 Rich Lipski/AFP/Getty Images

In 1984, Jackson was honored with a Presidential Humanitarian Award from President Ronald Reagan for his support of charities helping people overcome alcohol and drug abuse.

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Jackson made history when his signature moves in the “Billie Jean” video were watched on MTV, making him the first Black artist to be featured on the channel. Other videos like “Beat It” and “Thriller” followed with frequent plays.

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The star is known for more than just his timeless music. Besides Oprah, he has given more to charity than any other celebrity. He’s contributed more than $300 million through his Heal the World Foundation, charity singles such as “We are the World” and other organizations.

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Back in 1984 Jackson became the first artist to win the most Grammys in one year—eight—for his work on the “Thriller” album. Norah Jones and Carlos Santana have since joined him in tying the record.

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In 1985, Jackson bought ATV Publishing, which owned the rights to many songs of the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Little Richard. The savvy business move is said to have ended his friendship with former Beatles member Paul McCartney.

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Jackson’s 1993 Super Bowl half-time performance drew the largest TV audience in American history.

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Michael and Janet’s over-the-top music video for “Scream” was like nothing we’d ever seen. Fourteen years after its release, the futuristic clip remains the most expensive video ever shot with an estimated $7 million budget.

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The King of Pop is one of the few performers to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice—once as a member of the Jackson 5 and once as a solo artist.

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Even in death the pop star is still ruling the charts and breaking records. After his passing, the top nine spots on the Billboard’s Top Pop Catalog belonged to the King—the first time a catalog album has sold more than the current number one album on the Billboard 200 charts.

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13 of 16 Getty

More than 31 million viewers tuned in to watch Michael Jackson’s memorial service on Tuesday, July 7, according to data released by the Nielsen Company. The service was shown on all major networks and several cable channels including CNN, MSNBC, BET, MTV, TV ONE, VH1 and others.

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Like back in his Jackson 5 days, the pop star is still taking over charts and breaking records. After his death, the top nine spots on the Billboard’s Top Pop Catalog belonged to the King-the first time a catalog album has sold more than the number one current album on the Billboard 200 albums.

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Jackson’s 1987 album ‘Bad,’ the third best selling album of all time, makes him the only artist in history to have five number one hits from one album.

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