Michael Jackson was known as the King of Pop, noted primarily for his high voice and his practically inimitable dance skills. His music career began in the 1960s while he was still relatively young, performing with his brothers in the Jackson 5. The group was known for a number of hit singles, most notably “ABC” in 1970. The year after that single was released, however, Jackson was no longer a child performer. He was quickly becoming something of a young teen idol in the United States, and he decided to launch his solo career within a short time. Still fairly young, he recorded songs such as “Ben” and a cover of “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day.
As Jackson grew older, he became influenced by more diverse rock music. He started to move away from some of the bubblegum pop numbers he had done with the Jackson 5 and at the beginning of his solo career, instead releasing energetic hit singles like “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough,” “Thriller,” “Beat It,” “PYT (Pretty Young Thing)” and “Billie Jean.” By the early 1980s, he was already becoming popular enough to collaborate with some of the biggest names in the industry. 1982’s Thriller included the song “The Girl Is Mine,” a duet with Paul McCartney, while “Beat It” featured Eddie Van Halen. The album in total won seven Grammy Awards.
Jackson would not release another album for five years, releasing Bad in 1987. It was not as successful as Thriller by any means, but it contained hit songs such as “Bad” and “Man in the Mirror.” Four years later, he released Dangerous, known largely for the number one single “Black or White.” Leading up to the release of his final album, 2001’s Invincible, Jackson had numerous hit singles over the years. These included “Smooth Criminal,” “Will You Be There,” “Earth Song” and “We Are the World.”
While his career may have begun in the 1960s, Michael Jackson is remembered for one of the greatest voices in rock or pop music of the 1980s and 1990s. His dancing skills were equally legendary, especially his patented moonwalk. His musical styles, his incorporation of complicated dance routines into each number of his live performances, and his unique and intricate stage costumes have all notably influenced young rock and pop artists today. Although there were some who ridiculed him in the years leading up to his death in 2009, Michael Jackson’s lasting impact on the music world was undeniably profound.
Michael Jackson’s impact on rock and pop music is difficult to define. He was able to achieve a variety of sounds, with his vocal styling on songs such as “Beat It” sounding notably different from his sound on songs such as “Will You Be There.” Yet anyone could tell that these songs were sung by the same performer. Whether he was attempting to achieve a sound that was grittier or one that was more solid and inspirational, his voice was as unique as his style of movement. He was a truly original performer, one who will not be easily replaced any time soon.
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