11. Michael Jackson: A Controversial Pop Star

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There may be no greater entertainer in the history of music in the United States than the late Michael Jackson. The list of Jackson's peers in the industry is very short, to say the least. Jackson began his career in the early 1970s as the youngest member of the musical group The Jackson 5. Michael was the lead singer, and arguably the most talented of the five brothers who made up the band. He was born on August 29, 1958 as the eighth child of 10 in an African American family from Gary Indiana. The driving force behind the group's success was their father, Joseph "Joe" Jackson. The group was very popular in its time, but young Michael would go out on his own career soon after. He was a successful singer, songwriter, actor, dancer, and businessman, but his career was not without controversy.

His album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. It was released in 1982, and was followed by a series of successful albums, films, music videos, and business ventures. In 1993 the first of several people came forward to accuse Jackson of sexually improper conduct on a child. This and other accusations would haunt Jackson throughout his adult life. Jackson also gained a reputation of strange behavior. One of the indelible images often associated with Jackson is when he held his newborn child over a hotel balcony to show it to his public.

It was rumored that Jackson bought the bones of the famous Elephant Man, slept in an oxygen tent, and that he altered his appearance to appear white. His photographs from his childhood and as a young adult show a very different Jackson. He married twice in his life including a brief marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of the equally great musician, Elvis Presley.

Jackson died on June 25, 2009, and even his death was not without controversy. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his doctor, who was subsequently found guilty.

      

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