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Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009) The King of Pop

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Michael Jackson (1958 – 2009)

The King of Pop

  1. Who is this? What do you know about him?

  1. Read Michael Jackson’s biography below. Find out:

  • where Jackson was born and his star sign

  • how many brothers and sisters he had

  • how old Jackson was when he started to sing and dance

  • if he sold many records

  • the name of his house in California

  • what these words mean: to perform, a competition, a record /an album, a scarecrow, financial problems, to accuse, try and to acquit.


Michael Joseph Jackson was born on the 29th of August 1958 in Gary, Indiana, USA. He was the seventh of nine children. Michael began to perform at the age of 5. He was the lead singer of the pop group Jackson 5. In these early years Michael and his brothers, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito and Marlon played in Gary and competed in talent competitions.



In 1968 the Jackson 5 signed a record contract for Motown and moved to California. Their first four singles, "I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There" were all US No1 hits. The Jackson 5 recorded 14 albums with Motown.
In 1977 Michael made his first film debut when he starred in the musical 'The Wiz' playing Scarecrow with Diana Ross in the lead role of Dorothy. The film was based on the book The Wizard of Oz.
Michael began his solo career and in 1982 he released the world's largest selling album of all time, “Thriller”. This album sold over 50 million copies worldwide. In 1983 Michael danced and performed the moonwalk for the first time at the Motown 25 years’ anniversary show. This performance made Michael a superstar.
In 1988 Michael bought his house, Neverland. It was a huge house and garden with a zoo, a train and amusement park.
In 1991 Michael released his fourth solo album, “Dangerous”. He toured the world again in 1992, taking his concerts to countries that had never before been visited by a pop/rock artist. Also Michael founded the “Heal the World foundation” to help improve the lives of children across the world.
Michael was accused and tried for child abuse in 1993 and 2003, but acquitted. After this Michael isolated himself. He also had financial problems.
In March 2009, Michael announced he would be playing in London in July 2009. Over 750,000 tickets were sold for 50 performances. Tickets sold out within minutes of being released. However, on June 25th 2009 Michael Jackson died suddenly of a reported cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old.
Adapted from


  1. Do you think Jackson was still popular in 2009? Give reasons for your answer.

  1. Find out which book the name Neverland comes from. Use the internet. What is the book about? Why do you think Jackson chose the name for his house?

  1. See Jackson’s life story in pictures and words:

  1. See a collection of Jackson’s music with pictures:
See a Time line with video clips:

Jackson, the Humanitarian

Michael Jackson used a lot of time and money on a wide range of charities. He had special rooms at his home Neverland where sick children could stay and visit. He was listed in the 2000 edition of the Guiness Book Of World Records for breaking the record for the "Most Charities Supported By a Pop Star". Michael Jackson supported 39 charities. He also set up the Heal the World foundation.
We are the world

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me


  1. Tell a friend: If you had lots of money which charity would you give your money to, and why?

  1. See We are the world, song and video

Jackson, the Environmentalist and Peace-maker

One of the most effective ways to get a message across to people is through music. The words of “Earth Song” are deep yet simple. This is because Jackson wanted non-English-speaking fans also to sing along. He wanted to reach as many fans as he could with his pro-environmental and world peace message.

Earth Song

What about sunrise
What about rain
What about all the things
That you said we were to gain.. .
What about killing fields
Is there a time
What about all the things
That you said was yours and mine...
Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we've shed before
Did you ever stop to notice
The crying Earth the weeping shores?

Aaaaaaaaaah Aaaaaaaaaah

What have we done to the world
Look what we've done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son...


  1. See the video Earth Song:

  2. Which environmental issues does Jackson take up in the video?

  3. Look at the last part of the video. What do you think Jackson hopes will happen to the Earth?

Jackson and Racial Equality

Black or White

They print my message
in the Saturday sun
I had to tell them
I ain't
i second to none.

and I told about equality

and it's true
either you're wrong
or you're right…

….it don't matter if you're

black or white…

Rap: Protection
for gangs, clubs
and nations
causing grief in
human relations.
It's a turf warii
on a global scale.
I'd rather hear both sides
of the tale.
See, it's not about races
just places
Where your blood
comes from
is where your space is.
I've seen the bright
get duller
I'm not going to spend
my life being a colour…


  1. Tell a friend: All his life Jackson was different to other people. In what ways do you think he was “different”?

  2. What opinions does Jackson express in the excerpt from Black or White?

  3. Look at the video Black or White.

  4. How are Jackson’s opinions expressed in pictures?

  5. Which kinds of dancing can you see on the video? What do you think it means for minorities to see Jackson doing their dances?

Jackson and Fame

Michael Jackson was a child star and a superstar. He earned fame and became very rich. There was a price: childhood. "I never had the chance to do the fun things kids do," Jackson once explained. "There was no Christmas, no holiday celebrating. So now you try to compensate for some of that loss."
Jackson was followed by reporters and the paparazzi his whole life.

  1. Discuss this statement:

"Anyone who's a celebrity in this day and age knows this is part of what being a celebrity is, for better or worse. It's a 24-7 job." Janice Min, editor at US Weekly.

Do celebrities have the right to privacy? What do you think?

  1. Read this song lyric. Use it as the starting point for role-play about a star meeting the paparazzi.

Beat it
They told him don't you ever come around here
Don't wannaiii see your face, you better disappear
The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear
So beat it, just beat it

  1. Many think that success means being a celebrity. What is “a celebrity”? What is your idea of being a success?

  1. Jackson was not only a singer but also a dancer. He is famous for introducing the moonwalk. Learn how to moonwalk. See

  1. Use these lyrics and make a BSL translation.

You Are Not Alone

Another day has gone
I'm still all alone
How could this be
You're not here with me
You never said goodbye
Someone tell me why
Did you have to go
And leave my world so cold

Every day I sit and ask myself

How did love slip away
Something whispers in my ear and says
That you are not alone
For I am here with you
Though you're far away
I am here to stay

But you are not alone

For I am here with you
Though we're far apart
You're always in my heart
But you are not alone…
See this example if you want:

i Ain’t = am not

ii Turf war = fight for territory/land

iii Wanna = want to

Fire’s = fire is

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