kids encyclopedia robot

Michael Jackson facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson in 1988.jpg
Performing at the Wiener Stadion in Vienna, Austria on June 2, 1988
Background information
Birth name Michael Joseph Jackson
Born (1958-08-29)August 29, 1958
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
Died June 25, 2009(2009-06-25) (aged 50)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, record producer, arranger, dancer, choreographer, actor
Musical career
Years active 1964–2009
Associated acts

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer, who was one of the most famous and successful musicians of all time. He was referred to as the "King of Pop", and was one of the most influential entertainers in the history of pop music. He was the best-selling music artist during the year of his death. His contributions to music, dance, and fashion along with his publicized personal life made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

Jackson started performing with his older brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon in The Jackson 5 in 1964. In 1971, he started a solo career while also being a member of The Jackson 5. He made the highest-selling album of all time, Thriller in 1982, with estimated sales of 66 million copies worldwide. The video for "Thriller" showed him dancing like a zombie and other dancers around him were zombies as well. "Thriller", which includes famous songs like "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" has sold 110 million copies worldwide. The popularity of these videos helped bring the television channel MTV to fame. Jackson wrote other well-known songs such as "Bad", "Black or White", "Heal the World" and "Earth Song". Through music videos and live performances, he is known for popularizing dance moves such as the robot and the moonwalk. He won a lot of awards and broke many records. Guinness World Records says he is the most successful entertainer of all time. Jackson is also remembered for giving money to charities and pioneering efforts in charitable fundraising in the entertainment industry. Jackson traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism, and, in 2000, the Guinness World Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities, more than any other entertainer.

His other studio albums, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995) and Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix (1997) also rank among the world's best selling albums. He released his last studio album Invincible (2001).

Aspects of Jackson's personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, generated controversy.

While preparing for his comeback concert series, This Is It, Jackson died on June 25, 2009 after having a cardiac arrest. Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. On July 7, there was a memorial service for Jackson. It was on television and 2.5-3 billion people watched it. This made it the most watched funeral ever.

Life and career

Jackson 5 tv special 1972
Jackson (center) as a member of the Jackson 5 in 1972.

1958-1975: Early life and The Jackson 5

Michael Jackson was born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana to a family of Jehovah's Witnesses. He was the eighth of Katherine and Joe Jackson's ten children. Jackson's father Joseph was a steel mill worker.

On January 1 1964 Jackson and his brother Marlon joined their older brothers Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine's band, The Jackson Brothers, in the band's first public performance. Jackson was six years old.

When Jackson was 8 he started being the band's main singer with Jermaine. The group's name then changed to The Jackson 5. The group won an important talent show in 1966. In 1968 they were signed to a famous record label called Motown Records. Their first Motown single "I Want You Back" was No.1 in the US.

In 1971 Jackson released his first song singing on his own, "Got to Be There" from his album "Got to Be There". It reached No.4 in the Billboard 100. Three more singles were released from the album.

On August 4, 1972 his second album Ben was released. The single "Ben" was his first solo No.1.

In 1974 Jackson hosted the first American Music Awards with Donny Osmond, Rodney Allen Rippy, and Ricky Segall.

In 1975 The Jackson 5 left Motown. They were signed to CBS Records in June 1975. On CBS Records they changed their name to The Jacksons.


From left, back row: Jackie Jackson, Michael Jackson, Tito Jackson, Marlon Jackson. Middle row: Randy Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Rebbie Jackson. Front row: Janet Jackson (1977)

In 1976 The Jacksons got their own TV show on CBS. The show was cancelled in March 1977.

On October 24, 1978 a movie called The Wiz was released. The movie was a remake of The Wizard of Oz with all black actors. Jackson acted as Scarecrow.

On December 17 1978 The Jacksons' twelfth album was released. It was the first album they had produced. Jackson wrote the album's second single "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" with Randy Jackson. It reached No.7 in the US Hot 100.

In December 1978 Jackson started making his first solo album on Epic Records, Off the Wall with Quincy Jones. It was released on August 10, 1979. The album got good reviews and a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

The Jacksons' thirteenth album Triumph was released 1980.


In 1982 Jackson sung "Somewhere in the Dark" for the E.T. soundtrack. It won a Grammy for Best Recording for Children in 1984. That year Jackson won seven other Grammys for his album Thriller.

On October 18 1982 the first single from Thriller, "The Girl Is Mine", was released. It was sung with Paul McCartney. Some people thought that the album wasn't going to be very good because of the song.

Jackson's sixth solo album Thriller was released on November 30, 1982. Jackson didn't do a tour for the album. The album got good reviews.

In 1983 Jackson made three songs with Freddie Mercury.


"Somebody's Watching Me", a single by Rockwell with Jackson singing on the chorus, was released January 14, 1984. It reached number one in Spain and France.

On January 27, 1984, Michael and other members of the Jacksons filmed a Pepsi Cola commercial. Michael's hair caught on fire and he was rushed to hospital. Pepsi gave Jackson $1.5 million. He gave it to the Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, California. In May 1984 "Farewell My Summer Love", a song that Jackson made it 1973, was released as a single. It reached number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

The Jacksons' album Victory was released on July 2, 1984. Between July and December 1984 Jackson toured with his brothers. He won eight awards at the 1984 American Music Awards, the most anyone has ever won at once. He also won Best International Solo Artist and Best International Album at the BRIT Awards.

Jermaine Jackson released his tenth album, Jermaine Jackson. Michael sang on a song from the album, "Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin' (Too Good to Be True)". It was nominated for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the 1985 Grammy Awards.

In August 1985, Jackson bought music publisher ATV Music for $47.5 million. They owned the rights to The Beatles.

Jackson wrote "We Are the World" with Lionel Richie in 1985. The song was recorded by USA for Africa. It was released as a single around the world to make money to give to starving people in Africa. It sold over 20 million copies. It also won four Grammy Awards.


Michael Jackson-3
Jackson performing in 1988.

In August 1987 Bad was released. Jackson wanted it to sell 100 million copies. It has sold over 30 million copies. Five of the album's seven singles were No.1 in the US. They were "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Bad", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Man in the Mirror" and "Dirty Diana". Until Katy Perry's success with her 2010 album Teenage Dream, Jackson was the only musician to ever have had that many singles from one album be No.1. From September 1987 to January 1988 Jackson did the Bad world tour. This was the first tour that he did on his own. In 1988 Moonwalk, a book that Jackson wrote about his life, was published. It took Jackson four years to write. The book sold 200,000 copies. Jackson then released Moonwalker, a movie he made. In 1989 some video games about the movie were released by U.S. Gold.

In 1986 Disneyland and ETCOT started showing a short film called Captain EO that had Jackson in it.

Jackson sang "You Were There" at Sammy Davis Jr.'s 60th birthday. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for it.

The Jacksons released their last album 2300 Jackson Street in 1989. Michael sung on the album's second single 2300 Jackson Street with his brothers and two of their sisters, Janet and Rebbie. Michael was also in the music video for the song.

Jackson won the Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1989 for "Leave Me Alone".


Jackson's eighth studio album Dangerous was released November 26 1991. It was produced with Teddy Riley. It is a new jack swing album. It was Jackson's first album to have a rapper on it. Nine singles were released from the album. On June 27, 1992 Jackson started the Dangerous World Tour. All of the money Jackson made from the tour was given to charities. The tour was supposed to last until Christmas 1992. However, Jackson ended the tour on November 11, 1993 because he was ill and needed to go to hospital. Jackson performed at the halftime show at Super Bowl XXVII in January 1993.


Michael Jackson sculpture
One of many identical statues, based on Diana Walczak's original HIStory statue, positioned throughout Europe to promote HIStory.

HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, Jackson's ninth studio album, was released July 16 1995. The album has two discs. The first disc is a collection of some of his greatest hits. The second disc is fifteen songs recorded in late 1994 and early 1995. Thirteen of the songs are new. Two of them are cover versions. In August 1995 the album's single "You Are Not Alone" became the first single ever to go straight to No.1 in the US. HIStory won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The video for the single "Scream" went in the Guiness Book of World Records for being the most expensive short film ever made. Jackson released a short film called Ghosts in 1996. He wrote it with Stephen King.


In 1997 Blood on the Dance Floor was released. It is the best-selling remix album ever made. There were five new songs on the album. The album's first single was a new song called "Blood on the Dancefloor". The album and its first single were No.1 in the UK.


Michael Jackson in Vegas cropped-2
Jackson in Las Vegas, 2003.

Jackson won Artist of the 1980s at the American Music Awards in 2000.

On October 30, 2001 Invincible, Jackson's last studio album, was released. The album got good and bad reviews. It was No.1 in 12 countries and sold 13 million copies around the world. But compared to Jackson's earlier albums, it was unsuccessful. The album's first single "You Rock My World" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Jackson won his 22nd American Music Award for Artist of the Century in 2002.

On November 17, 2003 an album called Number Ones was released. It is a collection of Jackson's hits. There is also a new song on the album called "One More Chance". It was released as a single. It reached number one in three countries. The album was released as a DVD too.


In 2006 Sony released twenty of Jackson's popular singles.

In March 2009 Jackson told the press that he was going to do a tour called This Is It. He said that he might stop making music after this. Jackson practised his singing and dancing for the tour in Los Angeles with Kenny Ortega.

Personal life

Jackson lived a well-publicized personal life even though he tried to stay private. He was often in celebrity and tabloid magazines. Later in his life he was in magazines because of his personal life more than for his music.

Marriages and children

He was married to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis Presley in 1994, before divorcing her in 1995 and marrying nurse Debbie Rowe in 1996. Three months after Rowe and Jackson's marriage she gave birth to a son, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. The next year she gave birth to a daughter, Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson. The couple divorced on October 8, 1999. Prince Michael II was born on February 21, 2002. He is better known as Blanket.


Bubbles (born 1983) is a common chimpanzee, known for being the one-time pet of American recording artist Michael Jackson. Jackson bought the animal from a Texas research facility in the 1980s. The animal was a frequent travel companion to the singer. Their human-animal bond, as well as the entertainer's other alleged eccentricities, contributed to the media epithet "Wacko Jacko", a nickname Jackson would eventually come to despise. The media often focused on Bubbles, rather than on Jackson's music, and published many false stories regarding the animal. One such story was an allegation that Bubbles was not a single ape, but one of several.


Jackson died at age 50 on June 25, 2009 at 2:25pm at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. It is thought that he went into cardiac arrest, which means his heart stopped. Jackson died just two months before his 51st birthday.

Memorial service

A memorial service was held at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on July 7, 2009. It began with a reading of a letter by Smokey Robinson of comments by Nelson Mandela, Diana Ross and other close friends of Michael Jackson who could not be at the memorial. Mariah Carey sang I'll Be There at the memorial service, followed by a speech given by Queen Latifah. Lionel Richie performed "Jesus is Love". Berry Gordy, Motown founder, spoke next, offering condolences. Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson also spoke, with Magic describing the event as a "celebration of Jackson's life and works" rather than a funeral. Jennifer Hudson sung Will You Be There accompanied by a music video. Reverend Al Sharpton then gave a speech about how Jackson kept rising and "never stopped". John Mayer played the guitar as he did in Michael Jackson's song Human Nature. This was followed by Brooke Shields speaking. Jermaine Jackson, Jackson's older brother, then performed Smile, Michael's favorite song written by comic drama legend Charlie Chaplin. This was proceeded by speeches by Martin Luther King III and Bernice King. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was the next person who spoke at the memorial service saying that Jackson's humanitarian efforts need to be praised. Usher then sang "Gone Too Soon," followed by a montage of old videos of Jackson himself. Shahim sang next, with Kenny Ortega introducing him afterwards. Kenny Ortega explained that Michael Jackson saw the Staples Center as his home, a reason for the funeral service to be held there. This was followed by Kenny Ortega doing a tribute to him, including We Are the World and Heal the World. The service ended with speeches by members of his family, including Jermaine, Marlon and daughter Paris who broke into tears and said that "Daddy was the best father anyone could have" and also that "I will miss him" then she left the microphone and turned into Janet Jackson's arms. The memorial lasted over 2 hours.


Michael Jackson Grave
Jackson's tomb in the Holly Terrace of the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn Glendale.

At first, Michael Jackson's custom made quarter million dollar golden casket, nicknamed "The Promethean" was not expected to appear at the memorial service, however, due to a change in the family's plans the casket was taken to the memorial service.


Jackson won Entertainer of the Year at the 2009 Soul Train Awards. That year he also won five American Music Awards.

On October 26, 2009 a two disc album called Michael Jackson's This Is It was released. The album's only single "This Is It" was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2011. On October 28, 2009 Michael Jackson's This Is It was released. It was a documentary movie. The movie showed recordings of Jackson's rehearsals for his This Is It tour. Jackson died before he could do the tour. It made $72,091,016 in the United States. It has made $261,183,588 around the world. It got good reviews from movie critics. On 26 January 2010 the movie was released on DVD. It sold over 1.5million copies in the US in the first week it was released. This was more than any other music DVD had sold in its first week.

Jackson won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. His children, Prince and Paris collected the award for Jackson.

A video game called Michael Jackson: The Experience was released in November 2010 for the Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable and Wii.


Jackson was voted as the Greatest Singer of All Time by people who did a poll on

Bad 25, a documentary movie about Jackson's album Bad, was released in August 2012.

In 2012 he sold almost 819,000 albums in the United States. He is thought to have sold 2.7 million albums around the world in 2012. His estate makes $145 million a year.


Jackson made more money than any other dead celebrity in 2013.

Jackson's earnings have increased following his death. According to a report by Forbes in 2016, he had been the top-earning dead celebrity each year since his death, with triple-digit millions per annum ($825 million in 2016).

A new compilation album, Scream, was released on September 29, 2017. In July 2018, Sony/ATV bought the Jackson estate's stake in EMI for $287.5 million.


  • Got to Be There (1972)
  • Ben (1972)
  • Music & Me (1973)
  • Forever, Michael (1975)
  • Off the Wall (1979)
  • Thriller (1982)
  • Bad (1987)
  • Dangerous (1991)
  • HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995)
  • Invincible (2001)


  • The Wiz (1978)
  • Captain EO (1986)
  • Moonwalker (1988)
  • Michael Jackson's Ghosts (1997)
  • Men in Black II (2002)
  • Miss Cast Away and the Island Girls (2004)
  • Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009)
  • Bad 25 (2012)
  • Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall (2016)


  • Bad (1987–1989)
  • Dangerous World Tour (1992–1993)
  • HIStory World Tour (1996–1997)
  • MJ & Friends (1999)

Related pages

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Michael Jackson para niños

kids search engine
Michael Jackson Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.