Michael Jackson timeline
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Here's a look at the major events in Michael Jackson's life.
1958: Born Aug. 29 in Gary, Ind. He is the seventh child of Joseph and Katherine Esther Jackson.
1969: In Los Angeles, the Jackson 5 debut as Motown’s newest act. In December, the group’s single “I Want You Back” hits No. 1 on the Billboard Top 40 Chart.
1970: Jackson 5 hits “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There” all reach No. 1 on Billboard charts.
1972: First No. 1 solo hit “Ben,” a song about a movie rat.
1974: Introduces a dance step called the robot on “Soul Train.” The step sweeps the country.
1978: Played “The Scarecrow” in the movie “The Wiz,” alongside Diana Ross, Richard Pryor and Nipsey Russell.
1979: “Off the Wall” solo album catapults Jackson to superstar status.
KING OF POP
1982: “Thriller” is released, eventually selling more than 100 million copies. The record becomes one of the best-selling albums of all time.
1983: “Beat It” reaches No. 1 on the charts.
“Billie Jean” also becomes a gigantic hit, and the influential video, featuring more of Jackson’s electric dancing, remains a landmark.
“Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever,” airs on NBC. After a memorable performance by “The Jacksons,” Michael wows the crowd with a rendition of “Billie Jean,” which included the jaw-dropping moonwalk.
The high-concept, 13-minute “Thriller” video, directed by John Landis, becomes a huge sensation.
1984: Jackson’s hair catches on fire during filming of a Pepsi commercial.
1987: News reports say Jackson tries to buy the skeleton of the “Elephant Man.” The album “Bad” is released and sells more than 8 million copies.
1988: Jackson releases “Moonwalk,” an autobiography.
1991: Releases “Dangerous” album, with 7 million in sales.
1993: In his first TV interview in 14 years, Jackson tells Oprah Winfrey that the change in his skin complexion is from a disorder called vitiligo.
A lawsuit claims that Jackson seduced and abused a 13-year-old boy.
1994: Settles the lawsuit with substantial payment to the plaintiff.
Marries Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis Presley.
1996: Presley files for divorce.
Jackson marries nurse Debbie Rowe.
1997: Jackson performs Jan. 3 and Jan. 4 at Aloha Stadium, reportedly his final concerts in the U.S.
Rowe gives birth to son Prince Michael.
The Jackson 5 are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
1998: Rowe gives birth to daughter Paris Michael Katherine.
DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA
2001: The “Invincible” album is released with a respectable 2.1 million copies sold.
2002: Third child, Prince Michael II is born.
2003: Faces charges of child molestation. Posts $3 million in bail and throws up the “V” sign, while standing on a black Suburban outside the courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif.
2004: Pleads not guilty to child molestation charges in January.
2005: In June, Jackson was acquitted of child molestation charges.
2009: Tickets to Jackson’s 50 London concerts sell out within hours.
Sources: Free Press archives; USA Today; “Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll”