Michael Jackson: Songwriters Hall of Fame
(Inducted in 1997 as a member of The Jackson’s aka Jackson 5)
Michael Jackson’s remarkable 30-year career has scaled unparalleled
musical, commercial and critical heights. His myriad achievements
include 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.
Jackson has come a long way since bursting onto the charts in 1969 as
the Jackson Five’s magnetic 10 year-old lead singer. The seventh 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 older 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
1970’s while Michael spun off into a parallel solo career.
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 “Don’t 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 marked Jackson’s ascendancy to superstar status, establishing him
as pop’s preeminent presence, both on the radio and on the still-new
MTV, where his innovative song and dance videos for “Billy Jean”, “Beat
It”, and “Thriller” helped pioneer the rock video form. In 1984,
Jackson temporarily re-teamed with his brothers for the successful Victory album and tour.
new status was underlined by his involvement with the all-star USA For
Africa benefit single “We Are the World”, which he co-wrote with Lionel
Richie. His subsequent solo albums Bad and Dangerous further expanded his musical legacy, as did the 1995 double CD HIStory: Past, Present and Future: Book One, which combined 15 previously released hits with 15 new songs. That collection was followed two years later by Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix, which combined new material with dance mixes of his hits. 2001’s Invincible, a collection of original songs, spawned multiple chart hits.
in his fourth decade as a songwriter, performer, recording artist and
public figure, Michael Jackson remains a consistent musical innovator
and stylistic trendsetter.