October 22, 2014 09:36 UTC

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Michael Jackson, 1958-2009: He Amazed the World With His Music and Dancing

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Michael Jackson, 1958-2009: He Amazed the World With His Music and Dancing
Michael Jackson, 1958-2009: He Amazed the World With His Music and Dancing

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♫ Billie Jean ♫

She told me her name was Billie Jean, as she caused a scene

Then every head turned with eyes that dreamed of being the one

Who would dance on the floor in the round.

People always told me be careful what you do

Don’t go around breaking young girl’s hearts

And mother always told me be careful who you love

Be careful what you do because the lie becomes the truth, hey, hey.

Billie Jean is not my lover

She’s just a girl who claims that I am the one

But the kid is not my son

She says I am the one

But the kid is not my son.

That was a song that hardly needs an introduction. “Billie Jean” first came out on the 1982 hit album, “Thriller.” The Guinness World Records lists that record as the best-selling album of all time. Other famous songs on the album include “Thriller”, “Beat It”, and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009: He Amazed the World With His Music and Dancing
Michael Jackson, 1958-2009: He Amazed the World With His Music and Dancing
The album, “Thriller”, was as much about moves as it was about music. Michael Jackson brought attention to his body’s movements by wearing a shiny white glove, shortened black pants, and white socks. He created revolutionary dance movements that were electrifying. He could be as hard as a robot, or as smooth as liquid. While doing his famous “Moonwalk” step, he seemed to be walking backwards on air.

♫ I Want You Back ♫

When I had you to myself I didn’t want you around

Those pretty faces always made you stand out in a crowd.

But someone picked you from the bunch

One glance was all it took

Now it’s much too late for me to take a second look.

Oh, baby, give me one more chance; to show you that I love you

Won’t you please let me back in your heart?

Oh, Darling, I was blind to let you go.

But now since I see you in his arms.

I want you back/Yes, I do now.  I want you back.

Ooh  Ooh baby.  I want you back.  Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.  I want you back.

Trying to live without your love is one long sleepless night . . .

Michael Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana in 1958. He was the seventh of nine children. He was five years old when he began singing with his brothers in a group called “The Jackson 5”. In 1968, the group signed a recording deal from Motown Records. Michael was eleven years old when they released their first album a year later.

Michael Jackson, 1958-2009: He Amazed the World With His Music and Dancing
Michael Jackson, 1958-2009: He Amazed the World With His Music and Dancing
The Jackson 5 became an immediate success. Their music set records. Their first four songs were “I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There”. They all reached the number one position in pop music record sales in 1970.

Michael was the star of the group. He was the lead singer, and danced with great energy. His extraordinary skill and presence on stage was remarkable, especially for someone so young. The group made youthful and fun music that was very popular with both African-Americans and white listeners.

In the 1970’s, the group changed record companies and shortened their name to “The Jacksons”. They continued to perform together, although Michael Jackson started to record music on his own as well. His first album performing alone was “Off the Wall”, released in 1979.

Three years later, Jackson released “Thriller”. The album was not just the best selling album of all time. It also won eight Grammy Awards and seven American Music Awards. And it helped establish the popularity of a new form of entertainment, music videos.

♫ Thriller ♫

It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking in the dark

Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart

You try to scream . . .

The video for the song “Thriller” was important in the history of the music industry. Michael Jackson understood the power of these videos in bringing attention to his music and to his image. He worked hard to make exciting videos with complex stories and dances.

In 1985, Michael Jackson helped write the song “We Are the World”. He recorded it with many other famous performers. The aim of the record was to raise money for starving people in Africa. The project raised millions of dollars with this best selling song.

Michael Jackson’s next album, “Bad”, produced five number one hits, including “The Way You Make Me Feel”.

♫ Hey pretty baby with the high heels on ♫

You give me fever like I’ve never ever known

You’re just a product of loveliness

I like the groove of your walk, your talk, your dress

I feel your fever from miles around

I’ll pick you up in my car and we’ll paint the town

Just kiss me baby and tell me twice

That you’re the one for me

The way you make me feel/The way you make me feel

You really turn me on/You really turn me on

You knock me off of my feet/You knock me off my feet

My lonely days are gone/My lonely days are gone

I like the feeling you’re giving me . . .

Michael Jackson was a huge success, but he was also a very troubled man. His behavior and appearance became increasingly strange. He had many operations to change his face.

He acted and spoke in a childlike way. Jackson bought a huge property in California which he called “Neverland” after the children’s story of “Peter Pan”. He had amusement park rides, a zoo, and a large movie theater built for his home. Michael Jackson also went into major debt, and he suffered from injuries and illness that reportedly led him to take many kinds of pain-killing medicines.

Fans around the world mourned his death. Prisoners in a jail in the Philippines danced for him. Fans in Paris, France attended a service at the city’s ancient religious center in his honor. Famous performers around the world told about the influence he had on their work. Michael Jackson left a huge mark on popular culture. His memory will live on in his unforgettable music.

♫ Man in the Mirror ♫

As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat

This wind is blowing my mind

I see the kids in the street

With not enough to eat

Who am I to be blind

Pretending not to see their need.

A summer’s disregard

A broken bottle top

And a one-man soul

They follow each other on the wind, you know

Because they got nowhere to go

That’s what I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror

I’m asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself

And then make a change.

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