June 26th, 2009
12:30 PM ET

Top 10 Michael Jackson moments – do you agree?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/06/26/michael.jackson.us.reaction/art.glove.afp.gi.jpg caption="A gloved fan salutes Michael Jackson Thursday night outside UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California."]


From the Jackson 5 to Thriller, from family drama to legal trouble, Michael Jackson has led one of the most tumultuous careers of any modern entertainer.

1. A breakout star

As a scrawny 11-year-old from Gary, Indiana in child-sized bellbottoms and a radiant smile, Michael Jackson first stepped onto the scene at age 11 as part of the unforgettable Jackson 5.

2. Thriller

Jackson's 1982 album Thriller became a worldwide sensation and established the artist as a transcendent superstar. "Jackson is the biggest thing since the Beatles," TIME declared.

3. The single glove debuts

In a 1983 television special commemorating the 25th anniversary of Motown, Jackson debuted the crystal-encrusted glove that would become his most recognizable wardrobe hallmark.

4. Up in flames

A 25-five-year-old Jackson was filming a Pepsi commercial in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 1984 when a pyrotechnic display exploded behind him, burning his glossy Jheri curls as he sang "Billie Jean" in front of 3,000 fans.

5. Moonwalking

All the unverified accusations and nose jobs in the world can't change the fact that when Michael Jackson glided across the floor in skinny black pants and bright white socks, he looked like the coolest person in the world.

6. A private playground

Nestled in the hills of California's Santa Ynez Valley near Los Angeles, Michael Jackson's 2,800-acre estate was a child's fantasy.

7. An unexpected union

It was a match made in tabloid heaven: Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of the King of Rock n' Roll, and Michael Jackson, the eccentric King of Pop, married in secret the Dominican Republic in May 1994.

8. Going over the edge

One minute, Michael Jackson was blowing kisses to fans from the balcony of his presidential suite at Berlin's Adlon Hotel. The next, he was clutching his 9-month-old son, Prince Michael II, with one arm as the child, with its face shrouded in a blanket, dangled precariously over the edge.

9. Living with Michael Jackson

One of the most revealing — and disturbing — glimpses into Michael Jackson's private life came during a blockbuster interview the pop star held with British journalist Martin Bashir in 2003.

10. On trial

In December 2003, months after the airing of a documentary in which Jackson held hands with a child and outlined his habit of sharing a bed with young boys, Jackson was charged with child molestation, alcohol and conspiracy charges that carried nearly 20 in prison.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Michael Jackson
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Angie Shekoo-(Africa)

    Michael was a cross cultural, transcendent mega star. He moved mountains and made still water run by. He gave from his heart and with a smile to charity. He loved God, people , peace, and music. His legend shall ever be!. We have lost a genious, a humanitarian, a brother and a hero. We will teasure his memories forever. None other like him. ...Here today , gone tomorrow, gone too soon, but gone to a better place. RIP-

    angie shekoo. (Nairobi Kenya)

    June 28, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  2. michael

    This is awful. There is no reason to highlight anything but his many positive memories when it's less than 24 hours since his death.

    How about:

    – We are the World
    – Heal the World
    – Man in the Mirror

    – His work with African children

    June 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  3. carol morton

    Michael jackson was a lost boy inside a mans body,i always believed he was very sad and he wasn't comfortable in his own skin, sad eyes with nothing but emptiness behind them, his wild spending sprees just a way of trying to fill the emptiness he felt inside.Very very sad that his life had to end this way. ..Carol ,Canada

    June 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  4. Stacy

    This is a terrible list, so I do not agree. There is not a single word about his unwavering humanitarism and philanthropic work. "We are the World" comes to mind, for one. Typical of our insensitive media to throw such a glaring light on a kind, brilliant, yet troubled man within hours of his passing. 360.com...FAIL

    June 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  5. Jae

    Michael Jackson was a victim of fame from a very young age. He never grew up because he never had to. Irregardless of Michael's personal life, his professional life was amazing. We use music like therapy, every hit song is linked to a memory, good times, bad times, world events. Politics can take a backseat for a couple days, we just lost a friend. Sad story Beautiful person.

    June 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Rosalind

    What I find so shocking is that it was OK for Elvis to be Rammed down everyone's throat, but It's been just a little more than 24 hrs and ppl are crying for a cease and exit! I didn't mention Princess Diana from her Wedding to her Death, and funeral. I think what's wrong you can only bring up the negativity on someone that's not alive. And l know and so many more ppl around the World will remember the good about Michael Jackson! I know he can rest and not hide his face and now it doesn't matter what you print or say about Him. Where he is at Your Words, Papers, Photo's, Negativity can't touch Him. Not that You or Society mattered anyway.

    June 26, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  7. Michelle

    Thriller has to be # 1.I have been on YouTube and watching
    all of the music channels today and noticed that a lot of the
    videos that Jackson did were mini movies.

    June 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  8. Mary

    Astounded at the cross fire here. As several have already stated,
    if you're tired of hearing about MJ, then get off the internet, buy the Wall Street Journal, go to the library, swim, read. It is incredibly sad that so many isndividuals here want to dismiss MJ's passing and feel that coverage of 2 hours is extreme. And, whoever said "let's get over the death and trace back to what destroyed the man in the first place" ought to be ashamed. What does it matter? MJ is DEAD and you want to disucss what destroyed him? I will pray for YOU, my friend.

    AC, it's too hard to attempt to construct an outline like a Letterman's Top 10 of MJ. He deserves so much more.......I'm just so disappointed
    in the people who insist on negativity. People! Your negativity will destroy you! I bid you all peace. Godspeed MJ!

    June 26, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  9. DonnaG

    No matter what anyone thinks of Michael Jackson he set this world afire with his brilliant talent. People wanted to be Michael because they never had seen the likes of this man. Most adored him but others wanted to take his soul and destroy all the good he accomplished. Michael will forever live in the hearts of all the people that love him and nothing can ever take that away. My heart goes out to Michael's children first and foremost and to his family who was always there for him..we'll miss you terribly Michael!!!!!!

    June 26, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
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