In 2009 the world lost a music icon when Michael Jackson passed away from heart failure. His life was constantly in the spotlight for 45 out of 50 years he was alive. He was known to have a truly bizarre life, but there are some things you may not know about the legendary King of Pop. From pet snakes, to an interesting diet, these are 20 things you didn’t know about Michael Jackson.
Jackson had a humble upbringing in Indiana with 8 brothers and sisters. When he was 4 he started showcasing his unusual talent of singing. By age 5 his father had formed a band consisting of Michael and his brothers, and made Michael the lead singer. Michael started singing for audiences at the age of 5, and by the time he was 10 years old, he made his television debut. He and his brothers performed “It’s Your Thing” in 1968 and from there; Michael and his brothers were a sensation.
Over the years Jackson would have many more milestones, such as having the first black artist’s music video premiere on MTV. There was a large prejudice on the MTV network when it was first launched, but Michael was able to shatter the racial barrier when MTV premiered “Billie Jean” in 1981. Not to be out done by earlier achievements, Michael also went on to break record books in the music industry. He became the first and only solo artist to win 8 Grammys in one night in 1984. He also is the holder of the largest recording contract ever. 9 months after his death, Michael Jackson’s family signed a $250 million dollar contract with Sony Records. Sony received Jackson’s full recording library, and they are said to release several albums in 2017.
What many people loved about Michael was his kind spirit and giving nature. He was known for his philanthropy work. His song “Man in the Mirror” was the only song he didn’t write on his “Bad” album. He believed in the message of changing the world yourself that the song focuses on, that he donated 100% of the singles profits to charity. He also was an advocate for underprivileged children. In 1988 Jackson started sporting a black armband around his right arm. He was inspired by anti-war protesters in 1960’s who also wore black armbands. Michael claimed that as long as there are underprivileged children in the world, he would continue to bring awareness by wearing the armband.
It was well documented that Jackson believed in God. He had several interviews over the years where he discussed his beliefs. His mother raised him as a Jehovah Witness from the time he was young, until he disassociated himself from the religion in 1987. After his disassociation, his close friend Elizabeth Taylor wanted him to celebrate Christmas, but this turned out to be a tough task. So, in 1993, Taylor took matters into her own hands. While Jackson was sleeping on Christmas Eve, Taylor went to Jackson’s Neverland ranch, and pulled off a full-blown Christmas morning production. She then woke Jackson up on Christmas day so he could celebrate his first Christmas ever.
At the time of his death, Jackson was gearing up for the biggest comeback ever. Many did know this, but sadly what we don’t know is how epic it might have been. Jackson was slated to make $1.5million a show, and was working day and night in London to make sure they were the performances of the century. His tour would kick off with 50 shows in London alone, which proves that Michael was a true entertainer who loved his fans, all the way until the end. We will never know just how amazing this comeback would have been, but the legend that is Michael Jackson still lives on, and the world will never forget their King of pop music.