Michael Jackson's remarkable 30-year career scaled unparalleled musical, commercial and critical heights. His myriad achievements included being responsible for the best-selling album of all time, pioneering the music-video medium, and virtually redefining the concept of the modern pop star. As a songwriter, he penned more than 150 songs, with more than 20 reaching multi-million performance status on American radio and television.
Jackson came a long way since bursting onto the charts in 1969 as the Jackson Five's magnetic 10 year-old lead singer. The seventh in a family of nine children in Gary, Indiana, Michael began performing at the age of five when his father Joe, a musician turned steel mill worker, assembled the Jackson Five with Michael, and his o1der brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Marlon and Tito. Thanks in large part to Michael's precocious talent, the Jackson Five quickly progressed from performing in local talent shows to landing a record deal with Motown. The group scored 13 Top 20 singles for Motown and continued to turn out hits through the 1970s while Michael spun off into a parallel solo career.
Michael began to exercise an unprecedented level of control of his musical and business affairs following the Jacksons' departure from Motown in 1975. He achieved substantial solo success with his 1979 album Off the Wall, which marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration with producer Quincy Jones and spawned the hits Dont Stop Til You Get Enough and Rock With You. Those singles previewed the distinctive rock/soul fusion that Jackson would later explore more fully on his 1983 blockbuster album Thriller.
It was the 45 million-selling Thriller that…