In the early 1980s, Michael Joseph Jackson
(1958 - 2009) became a dominant figure in
popular music. The music videos for his songs
including "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller",
were credited with transforming the medium
into an art form and a promotional tool, and
the popularity of these videos helped to bring
the relatively new television channel MTV to
fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and
"Scream" made him a staple on MTV in the
1990s. Through stage performances and music
videos, Jackson popularized a number of
dance techniques, such as the robot and the
moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and
vocal style have influenced numerous hip hop,
pop, contemporary R&B and rock artists.
Jackson's 1982 Thriller is the best-selling
album of all time. His other records, including
Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous
(1991) and HIStory (1995), also rank among the
world's best-selling. Jackson is one of the few
artists to have been inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was also
inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the
first (and currently only) dancer from the world
of pop and rock 'n' roll. Some of his other
achievements include multiple Guinness World
Records; 13 Grammy Awards (as well as the
Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy
Lifetime Achievement Award); 26 American
Music Awards (more than any other artist,
including the "Artist of the Century"); 13
number-one singles in the United States in his
solo career (more than any other male artist in
the Hot 100 era); and the estimated sale of
over 750 million records worldwide. Jackson
won hundreds of awards, which have made
him the most-awarded recording artist in the
history of music. He was also a notable
humanitarian and philanthropist, donating and
raising hundreds of millions of dollars for
beneficial causes and supporting more than 39
charities. Aspects of Jackson's personal life,
including his changing appearance, personal
relationships and behavior, have generated
controversy. In 1993, he was accused of child
sexual abuse, but the case was settled out of
court and no formal charges were brought. In
2005, he was tried and acquitted of further
sexual abuse allegations and several other
charges after the jury ruled him not guilty on
all counts. While preparing for his concert
series This Is It, Jackson died on June 25,
2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest.
Before his death, Jackson had reportedly been
administered drugs such as propofol and
lorazepam. The Los Angeles County Coroner
declared his death a homicide, and his
personal physician pleaded not guilty to
charges of involuntary manslaughter.
Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring
of grief, and as many as one billion people
around the world reportedly watched his public
memorial service on live television. In March
2010, Sony Music Entertainment signed a
US$250 million deal with Jackson's estate to
retain distribution rights to his recordings until
2017, and to release seven posthumous
albums over the decade following his death.
His first posthumous album of new material,
simply titled Michael, was released on
December 14, 2010.