Michael Jackson
Text Portrait

© 2009 - Ben Heine
One of my portraits of the King.
I made this with text only...
Troubled Musical Genius

By BBC News

Michael Jackson's unique blend of soul, funk and rock made him the biggest pop act in the world.

Beyond this, his business acumen and intuitive understanding of the music market allowed him to showcase his remarkable talents.

Michael Jackson sold records by the million - and broke records too.

With the soulful vocal presence of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and the dance moves of James Brown, Jackson's appeal crossed both national and racial boundaries.

His first break came in 1968, when the Jackson Five signed to the Motown label, and he was just 11 when the group released its first single.

Hits like I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Save, and I'll Be There, which all went to number one in the United States in 1970, made the Jackson Five the first group in pop history to have their first four singles top the charts.

Before long, the youngest member of the Jackson Five was beginning to outstrip his brothers.

A series of solo hits, including Got To Be There, Rockin' Robin and Ben - the maudlin, yet chart-topping, paean to a rat - had shown that the promise of early years had come to fruition.

By the mid-1970s, both Michael's, and his brothers', careers were beginning to stall. Motown has ended its interest in the group, which had re-signed - as the Jacksons - to the Epic label.

But it was while Michael was working on the film musical The Wiz, an all-black retelling of the Wizard of Oz - in which he played the Scarecrow to Diana Ross's Dorothy - that he met the man who would turn him into a superstar and transform the world of popular music.

Music producer, composer and arranger, Quincy Jones, who could already boast a formidable track record, having created hits for artists like Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and George Benson, took Jackson's raw talent and moulded it into an awesome new sound.

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Michael Jackson, Text Portrait, detail