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It would not be amiss to say that certain people are destined for greatness and such was the case for Michael Joseph Jackson who was born in the working class neighbourhood of Gary, Indiana on August 29, 1958 to Joseph Walter and Katherine Esther née Scruse; he was the seventh child of a total of nine children.

Jackson started performing at the age of five at Christmas recitals and joined his brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine in their band, the Jackson Brothers (later called the Jackson Five). By the age of eight he had become the lead vocalist for the band.

Labelled ‘a prodigy’ by Rolling Stone, Jackson enjoyed success with the Jackson Five in the early 1970s. In 1978, he appeared as Scarecrow in the film musical The Wiz. It was also during this time that he met Quincy Jones and so began an association which would give the world some of the most memorable music in history.

It would be safe to say that the 1980-1990s belonged to Jackson. It was during this time that he released epic albums such as Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and the double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995).

But what made Jackson so special was his stage presence and his ability to propel a generation of adoring fans into a frenzy of rhythmic moon walking, or trying to defy gravity as he seemed to do during the performance of Smooth Criminal.

During the course of his career Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, won 13 Grammy awards and had 13 of his songs hit No.1. But despite all his success, there was a darker side to Jackson’s existence full of controversy that hounded him throughout his life and perhaps in death as well.

Regardless of such conjecturing the fact remains that Jackson was a musical genius and that June 25, 2009 will always be remembered for the passing away of the undisputed King of Pop.

– Shariq Haroon

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 28, 2009.