Singer, songwriter, dancer, and choreographer Michael Jackson (1958–2009) had a vocal style that attracted fans from every racial and age group. His album Thriller (1982) was the first to produce five top singles: “The Girl is Mine,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and “Human Nature.” In 1981 the Guinness Book of Records certified Thriller, for which Jackson won eight Grammy Awards, as the best-selling album to date. Guinness also cited Jackson for winning the most awards (seven) at the American Music Awards in 1984. Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, into a musical family. The Jackson brothers—Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael—became known as The Jackson Five and received their first big break at Harlem’s Apollo Theater in 1968. They caught the attention of Motown and its president Berry Gordy, and, in 1969, released their debut album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five. While the group was with Motown (from 1969 to 1975), the Jackson Five scored thirteen consecutive top-twenty singles such as “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There.” Michael Jackson began his solo career by acting in the 1977 movie The Wiz. His enormous record sales and success in concerts earned him the title “King of Pop.” Since his death in 2009, sales of his works have soared.
Starting off her career with the girl group Girls’ Tyme, Beyoncé now has a successful solo career that includes seventeen Grammys and many other awards.