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Felicia Latour

Work presented to

Mr. V. Rodriguez for

the requirements of 12th Grade English EAE 4UT-01 


College catholique Franco-Ouest

Monday, October 19th 2009

Solo singles hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 = 13.

Weeks Thriller spent on the U.S. charts = 37.

Solo singles on the Billboard Hot 100 = 47.

Number of albums sold in the U.S. = 61 500 000.

Being internationally renowned as the true King of Pop = Priceless.

To anyone who’s lived on planet Earth for the past 40 years, the mention of the name “Michael Jackson” can trigger any sort of reaction. Although his life was riddled with controversy and abnormal behaviour, his contributions to the world of pop culture are impossible to ignore. Born on August 28th 1958, Michael Jackson began his long and lustrous career as an artist at the tender age of five when he became lead vocalist of his brothers’ singing group “The Jackson 5”. The 60’s Motown period of Jackson’s career included a ground-breaking Ed Sullivan Show performance, the success of tunes like “I Want You Back”, “Who’s Lovin You” and “ABC” as well as the release of five studio albums. Already an industry veteran at age thirteen, he paved his way as a solo artist by collaborating with the head of Motown, Berry Gordy, to release 1972’s Got to Be There. He later released four more solo albums including Ben, Music & Me, Forever, Michael and Off the Wall. Although these works did relatively well, they would never even come near the success Jackson met upon the record-shattering studio album Thriller. Featuring a raft of hit singles like “Billie Jean”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”, “The Girl Is Mine”, “P.Y.T.”, “Beat It”, “Human Nature” and of course “Thriller”, Jackson’s twenty-eight times platinum montage of hits earned him a record eight Grammy awards. Statistically this was Jackson’s best album yet but no one can measure the public admiration of this timeless endeavour. The album triggered the making of undeniably the most famous music video of the world: “Thriller”. Be it the dancing zombies, Vincent Price’s spooky narration, Jackson’s classic red leather jacket or the signature dance moves, “Thriller” upon its release tripled the sales of the album and would forever remain an influence to innumerable artists. Jackson’s career skyrocketed thereafter and he later released more legendary music videos like “Bad”, “Smooth Criminal” and “Black or White”. Although his celebrated music and dance skills met global fame and recognition, Jackson became a victim of excessive news coverage due to his unorthodox lifestyle and bizarre conduct. His personal issues would accumulate over time and, unresolved, inclined Jackson to public infamy as a notorious fame-monger. His death in June of 2009 due to cardiac arrest brought on by an overdose of prescribed medication provoked the world’s most intense period of grief as the world lost possibly its most recognizable celebrity. To this day he remains the kind of icon that only comes around once in a lifetime, a true global superstar who has forever altered the DNA of pop culture by changing it for the better.  

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Between his signature moonwalk to his classic soprano voice, Michael Jackson created an artistic empire well worth his while. He can be considered a pioneer in various fields but he is undeniably the true pioneer of what we now know as the music video. Although he is not the inventor of this branch of media, Jackson “was the first to recognize and tap its full potential, turning it into an art form.” “Billie Jean” was the first clip by a black artist heavily aired on MTV and it is said that even the glowing sidewalks acknowledge his growing superstardom. Jackson is ...

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