Michael Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana.
Michael Jackson wins his first Grammy: Best R&B Performance for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough." Other winners include Donna Summer (Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for "Hot Stuff"), Earth, Wind & Fire (Best R&B Group Vocal Performance for "After the Love Has Gone"), and The Doobie Brothers (Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "What A Fool Believes").
The first single from Michael Jackson's Thriller album, the Paul McCartney duet "The Girl Is Mine," enters the Hot 100 at #45. With the exception of a two-week stretch between "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" and "Thriller," at least one song from the album is on the chart every week until May 19, 1984.
Less than two years after its release, the RIAA certifies Michael Jackson's Thriller album with sales of 20 million copies in America, introducing a new designation, "Double Diamond." The stratospheric sales of Thriller are unprecedented, and keep climbing to well over 30 million. It isn't until 1994 when another album gets the Double Diamond designation, and that's a greatest hits package: Eagles - Their Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975.
Michael Jackson is awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame directly in front of Mann's famous Chinese Theatre, creating the largest-ever crowd for such an unveiling.
Three years after their duet "The Girl Is Mine," Paul McCartney advises Michael Jackson to invest in publishing. Jackson makes a winning bid of $47.5 million for the rights to over 250 Lennon-McCartney Beatles songs owned by ATV publishing, which turns out to be a great investment, but kills their friendship.More
Michael Jackson begins construction on his 2,800-acre ranch and private amusement park in Santa Barbara, California, which he names "Neverland" after a fantasy location in his favorite book, Peter Pan, a place where children never grow up.
Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana" hits #1 on the Hot 100, making him the first artist to score five #1 singles from the same album (Bad).
Michael Jackson signs the largest contract renewal in history to the time, inking a $65 million deal with Sony.
Michael Jackson's "Black Or White" music video, directed by John Landis, debuts simultaneously on MTV, BET and Fox - a strategic move that marks his ascension to the pop throne. The 11-minute clip, however, lands Jackson in hot water with viewers who complain about his excessive crotch-grabbing and gratuitous displays of violence.More
Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch is raided by police after a child who stayed there comes forward with allegations of molestation. Jackson lets police strip search him, which he finds very humiliating. No charges are filed, but Jackson will later deal with more allegations.
Lisa Marie Presley files for divorce from Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson's first child, a son named Prince, is born. The mother is his second wife, Debbie Rowe, who later relinquishes custody.
Michael Jackson announces that wife Debbie Rowe is pregnant with his first child, denying tabloid reports that Rowe was paid to be artificially impregnated and carry the child to term.
After returning to his Neverland home following a raid on it a few days before, and in response to an arrest warrant, Michael Jackson is charged with child molestation in Santa Barbara, California. The singer is immediately released after posting three million dollars' bail.
Michael Jackson is officially charged with child molestation after a California grand jury determines there is enough evidence to proceed with allegations made against him for time spent at his Neverland Ranch.
After a five-month trial, Michael Jackson is cleared of all charges of child molestation.
In Notttingham, England, 1,227 people in zombie garb perform the dance from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, setting a new Guinness World Record for largest gathering of zombies. The stunt pushes the song back into the UK chart, where it lands at #35.
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