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Searching for Sounds: How to get Into Michael Jackson

Here’s a HISstory lesson for all you fans who might have somehow missed out on MJ.

Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana on August 29th, 1958. He made his professional debut with brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon as a member of the Jackson 5 in the year 1964.

He got off to an early start with Motown records, and began his solo career in 1971, and eventually went solo in 1971 and had an incredibly popular and successful career as a singer, songwriter, and a dancer. 

He released many hits like “I want to Rock With You”, “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” and revolutionized the pop genre with dazzling dance moves, and making the moon walk one of the most popular dances still to this day.

As his popularity rose, Michael broke worldwide records in album sales. His mega hit album “Thriller” was the first album to hit 30 times multi-platinum, and for more than 30 years was the highest selling album of all time. 

Through powerful songs like “Earth Song” and collaborations with artists such as Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, on the worldwide hit “We Are The World”. His wide vocal range, powerful kick-up dance moves, and flashy attire on stage made us want to be him.

Jackson’s success earned him spots in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Dance Hall of Fame, and even a spot in the Guinness World Record Book as the most successful entertainer of all time.  He’s in Guinness, with more than 20 entries. These include most successful concert series, having 7 nights of sold out shows, at Wembley Stadium in London, 1988. There were over 400,000 in attendance. He also has records for having the biggest selling album of all time, being “Thriller”, and a record for having the most Grammy awards. He was as talented as he was decorated in his achievements. His music launched pop music and dance into extraordinary heights. Indicating that he was truly the artist of the century, and a true once in a lifetime talent. 

MJ was not only able to get into our hearts with his music, but he was a well known humanitarian and many of his efforts, helped people with alcohol and substance abuse problems, and he even launched his own foundation to help children suffering from war and poverty. One of his most well known foundations was the Heal the World foundation which he founded in 1992, which helped send millions to children suffering from war and poverty.

Michael Jackson had many, many hits. However there were certain songs that defined his sound, whether it was his performance in said pieces, the effect of the piece on society, or how his style in a piece revolutionized pop and dance.

Here are five:

“Smooth Criminal”


This song exemplifies what Michael was all about. He was sharp dressed, soft toned, and smooth with his moves. The classic white suit, with the hat, the moment he walks into the room in the beginning of the video, everything stops. He had a powerful presence, and this song makes that clear.


In all black, zippers, and gloves, he made being bad look good. e This one is all about walking into a room and him everyone that he is the man. He earns respect.

“Rock With You”

One of his early hits, showing the heart and soul of disco.  A true testament of his superb vocals, that became a highlight of his career. At the height of the disco genre, he showed us some of the highlights that this genre carried. Demonstrating soft, emotional vocals, and funky beats that had an insatiable groove to them. In his own way, Michael helped carry what he knew of disco, funk, and soul, and evolved it into his style of pop music.


With Halloween right around the corner, what better song to hear that the legendary “Thriller?” Michael shows us how to give a scare with this groovy dark song. A song that even had its own movie. An example of MJ mastering different art forms.

“We Are The World”

Jackson was featured in this beautiful piece, along with many other legends who joined in for the cause. One of the most powerful songs in history, but shows us that we can all live together and care for each other. Take a listen to this powerful piece, and remember that we are indeed the world. 

An artist with so much material, and such a powerful influence. Where does one begin to experience his songs, and performances. Experience pop culture with his most popular work, and go through his history with an anthology of the music. Experience his recorded concerts, and music videos to truly be part of history.

Album recommendations:

  1. Thriller
  2. Bad
  3. HIStory: Past, Present and Future Book I

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