Michael Joseph Jackson (born August 29, 1958) is an American musician, entertainer and businessman.
The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971 while still a member of the group.
Referred to as the "King of Pop" in subsequent years, five of his solo studio albums have become some of the world's best-selling records: Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and ' In the early 1980s, he became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African-American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV.
The popularity of his music videos airing on MTV, such as "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and Thriller—credited for transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame.
Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" kept Jackson as a staple on MTV into the 1990s.
With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk.
His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced numerous hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artists.
Jackson has donated and raised millions of dollars for beneficial causes through his Dangerous World Tour, charity singles and support of 39 charities.
However, other aspects of his personal life—including his changing appearance and eccentric behavior—generated significant controversy which damaged his public image.
He was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993, the criminal investigation was closed due to lack of evidence and Jackson was not charged.
He then married twice and fathered three children, all of which caused further controversy.
The singer has experienced health concerns since the early 1990s and conflicting reports regarding the state of his finances since the late 1990s.
In 2005, Jackson was tried and acquitted of further sexual abuse allegations and several other charges.
One of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records—including one for Thriller as the world's best-selling album—13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era—and the sale of over 750 million units worldwide.
Jackson's highly publicized personal life, coupled with his successful career, has made him a part of popular culture for almost four decades.
In recent years he has been cited as one of the world's most famous men.