Michael Jackson entered show business at the tender age of five, making his first appearance on television aged 11 with the Jackson 5 (singing 'ABC', 'Rockin' Robin', and 'I Want You Back'). He was born into a large family and had several brothers and sisters, including his most famous sibling, Janet Jackson. The entry of the Jackson 5 into show business was largely driven by Michael's father, Joseph, and in later life Michael Jackson did not speak happily of rehearsal sessions with his father, claiming that the man was abusive towards him and his brothers.
Following his departure from the Jackson 5 to pursue a solo career, Michael Jackson achieved even greater success in the 80s and 90s, scoring a run of hits with albums such as Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, and Off The Wall. This, in conjunction with making music video history with Thriller, and playing sell-out tours to millions of people as late as 1996, Michael Jackson was easily one of the mainstays of the world music stage. However, his popularity waned after the Jordy Chandler case, in which he was accused of paedophilia and which resulted in an out-of-court settlement, and this became even more true after the very similar Gavin Arvizo case, which did go to court and on which he was acquitted of all charges.
Jackson's portrayal by the media focused less and less on his music in the 1990s and 2000s, preferring instead to concentrate on his allegedly bizarre lifestyle, including the mysterious feat of his change in skin colour. Jackson always maintained that he suffered with vitiligo, which causes natural patchy loss of pigmentation in the skin, but rumours flew vociferously that he had changed the colour of his skin artificially. The autopsy of Jackson's body after his death in 2009 revealed that he had indeed suffered with vitiligo, and that he had also had numerous plastic surgery procedures.
Jackson's final tour, This Is It, was due to take place from July 2009, but the star died at the end of June. Upon his death, fans rushed out to buy his entire back catalogue, and a film was soon put together about the singer's rehearsals for this tour (the film, also entitled This Is It, premieres worldwide on October 28). The legacy of his songwriting and lyric-writing abilities, his popularisation of the Moonwalk dance, and his fabulous tours and music videos, as well as his surreal personal life, will ensure that he retains his position in music history.