Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson!

Today (August 29), globally beloved singer and entertainer Michael Jackson would have celebrated his 53rd birthday if not for his untimely and tragic passing in June of 2009. The King of Pop leaves behind a staggering legacy of music and memories spanning his 40-plus years in music. Recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records, Jackson has released influential works and introduced dance routines that current entertainers still try their best to respectfully mimic.

Born in Gary, Indiana, in 1958, Jackson’s humble Midwest roots were coupled with the driving force of his musician father Joseph corralling Michael and his brothers – collectively known as musical troupe The Jackson 5 – into the entertainment business, although as later revealed through interviews, Michael’s relationship with his father was strained amid allegations of physical and verbal abuse. However, Jackson would go on to credit his father for much of his musical success.

1972 was when Jackson went solo, releasing two hit albums that year in Got To Be There and Ben. It was 1979’s Off The Wall, however, that paved the way for much of Jackson’s future hits and formed an early blueprint in the singer becoming a global icon – to date the album has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. For some fans, Jackson’s signature work and career defining album would be his follow up Thriller. With unconfirmed reports stating the album has sold in a range of 65 to 110 million units worldwide, it is currently the highest selling album of all time.

Jackson went on to enjoy more fame with his releases Bad and Dangerous faring well on the charts. His last studio release in 2001, Invincible, didn’t have the impact as some of his earlier smash albums although the release went on to sell 13 million copies around the globe. Invincible was also Michael Jackson’s more notable forays into injecting Hip Hop into his usually glossy pop sound, with one track featuring a posthumous verse from the late Notorious B.I.G.

While gone, Michael Jackson is hardly forgotten as legions of fans continue to honor and celebrate the man. From his soul-stirring Motown 25 performance to his signature dance moves and even his sequined gloved hand, Michael Jackson sits at the top as one of the greatest – if not the greatest – entertainers of all time.

Happy Birthday, Michael Jackson!