Michael Jackson - The Ups and Downs


Michael Jackson, the seventh of nine children, started his musical career with his brothers in 1964. They called themselves the Jackson Five. Michael quickly became the centre of attention. During the following years the band released hit after hit and became the most successful Motown group. In 1975 the Jackson Five decided to leave Motown for more money at CBS records.

Young Michael began his solo career while he was still with the group. His big breakthrough came in 1982 with the arrival of his biggest selling album, Thriller. The album had seven hit singles and became famous for its video clip.

Michael Jackson was not only a great singer, he also did crazy things. In 1984 he set his hair on fire for a commercial in Los Angeles. He was injured and carried out on a stretcher. This and many other strange stories about Jackson brought him the nickname Wacko Jacko. Nevertheless the sales of his records went up.

In the same year Michael bought his Neverland ranch in California. It cost 17 million dollars and had a ferris wheel, a movie theatre and a zoo. Three years later Jackson returned to the music scene with bleached skin. His album Bad sold more than 30 million copies and Michael Jackson’s first solo tour became a big success. It featured a colourful laser show and magic tricks. Even Prince Charles and Lady Diana were fascinated when they saw the show at Wembley Stadium.

Black and White was the biggest hit of the 1991 album Dangerous. During the promotion of his album he invited US talk master Oprah Winfrey to Neverland. There he gave the world insights into his private life, said that he was lonely and admitted that he had undergone plastic surgery.

Michael Jackson - King of Pop



In 1993 the King of Pop was accused of harassing children but a settlement with the 13-year old’s parents saved him from prison. The following year Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley but the couple separated a year and a half later.

By the mid 1990s Jackson’s popularity had started to fall. History was a collection of greatest hits plus a few new recordings. The pop star appeared at the Brit Awards to perform his number one single Earth Song, together with a group of children.

A second marriage with Nurse Deborah Rowe produced a son Michael and a daughter Paris.

Jackson’s downturn continued into the new millennium. It took almost 6 years to finish the album Invincible but when it was released in 2001 it was only in the charts for six weeks. The singer’s personal life became the centre of discussion when he admitted that he took children to bed.

In 2003 Jacko was arrested at his Neverland ranch after molesting a fourteen year old boy. The five month trial made him weak. He looked stressed and lost a lot of weight. After his acquittal by the court he fled to the Persian Gulf.

In March 2009 Jackson surprised the pop world by announcing that he would go on stage one last time. A series of ten concerts, definitely his last ones, are planned for July 2009 in the O2 arena in London.


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  • accuse = to say that you believe someone is guilty or has done something wrong
  • acquittal = when the court officially says that you are not guilty
  • admit = to say that something is true
  • announce = to say officially
  • bleach = to make something white and pale
  • breakthrough = success you have for the first time
  • commercial= an ad on television
  • downturn = when success stops and things start going badly
  • feature = show
  • ferris wheel = a very large wheel that stands on the ground ; it has seats for people to ride in
  • harass = to say bad things about someone or to threaten someone, especially sexually
  • insight= to look inside
  • release = to make public
  • molest = to attack someone and try to have sex with them
  • Motown = a music company of the 1960s and 70s , based in Detroit
  • nevertheless = but
  • plastic surgery = to make someone look better through an operation
  • popularity = when something is liked by many people
  • produce = make
  • promotion = to do something to help sell a product
  • release = to bring out something new
  • separate = to divorce; to end a marriage
  • stretcher = a bed that you use to take out an injured person
  • trial = a court meeting that decides if someone is guilty or innocent