Gladys Knight spotted them at a performance in Harlem and recommended them to Motown presi- dent Berry Gordy. A year later, the Jacksons had moved to California, released their first album and enjoyed their first No 1, I Want You Back, with 11-year- old Michael singing lead vocals. Other hits followed, including ABC and Ill Be There. By 1972, Jackson had recorded his first solo album, including the No 1 single Ben. He was still only 14, a teen- ager ridiculed by his father for his pug nose and acne. The event that transformed Jackson into a pop icon, however, was his decision to quit Motown and team up with producer Quincy Jones. Their first album, Off The Wall, including such hits as Dont Stop Til You Get Enough, sold 19m copies. In 1982 Jackson released Thriller, which remains the biggest-selling album of all time with 59m copies. In essence it was all downhill from there. Michaels skin appeared paler, his nose more aquiline. His best friend was a chimp called Bubbles, who would wear matching outfits, and he took to wearing a surgical mask in public. In 1994, Jackson suddenly married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of Elvis. By marrying the Kings daughter and also in buying a major stake in the back catalogue of The Beatles, Jackson secured his position as musical royalty. It was a short marriage, FOR a pop star who never wanted to grow old, the death of Michael Jack- son at the age of only 50 should come as no surprise. In the quarter of a century since his crowning achievement, Thriller, his life had spiralled out of control. In the final years, addicted to pain- killers, he had led an increasingly bizarre existence. Plastic surgery altered his appearance to such an extent that at times he looked gro- tesque; he had paid millions to fend off lawsuits from families who accused him of paedophilia; the rest of his fortune had been frittered away on Neverland Ranch where he lived with a menagerie of exotic pets and an amusement park. He had three children who would appear with him in public wearing -- like their father -- masks or veils. Yet through all the years of madness Jackson was the greatest pop singer and dancer of his era. He was born in Gary, Indiana, on 29 August 1958, the fifth of nine children. The family lived in a two-bedroom house on a street later renamed Jackson Boulevard. His mother Katherine, a Jehovahs Witness, taught her children folk songs while father Joe, a crane operator and one- time musician, coached Michael and his older brothers Jermaine, Marlon, Jackie and Tito into becoming a sing- ing group. Disciplinarian Joe, who would later be accused by Michael of physical abuse, would stand over rehearsals with a belt in one hand. It was claimed he would shove his sons against a wall if a dance step went wrong. There were times when he would come to see me and I would start to be sick, Jackson once said of his father. Joe retorted in a 2003 interview: I whipped him with a switch and belt [but] I never beat him. You beat someone with a stick. Jackson, cute as a button, was only six when they secured their first gigs, playing strip clubs in their home town. By 1 9 6 8 , t h e y h a d recorded their first singles on a local record label, but the big break came when Call 0800 049 4401 or see Keep your phone. Keep your number. Keep it SIMple. Available to new approved customers. Inclusive calls are for calls to standard UK landlines beginning 01,02,03 & UK mobiles or texts sent from the UK to other UK mobiles. 30 days notice required to cancel plan. Free voicemail from the UK. Unlimited offers subject to fair use policies. UKs cheapest SIM only tariffs claim is correct at time of printing. Service, handset limitations and terms apply. Exclusively at SIMpletalker. Talker 7.50 Talker 10 Talker 12.50 100 minutes 200 minutes 300 minutes 100 texts 200 texts 300 texts SIMpletexter. Texter 7.50 Texter 10 Texter 12.50 300 texts 600 texts Unlimited texts 50 minutes 100 minutes 150 minutes The UKs cheapest SIM only tariffs. From 7.50 a month* . *Short term 30 day notice contract. Unlimited internet 30p a day + free voicemail Friday, 26 June 2009 London Lite Michael jackson 1958-2009 TributesMy heart is overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend Michael. He was an extraordinary friend, artist and contributor to the world. I join his family and his fans in celebrating his incredible life and mourning his untimely passing. Brooke Shields, actress who briefly dated Michael Jackson We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only pop music, but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. Singer Justin Timberlake He was a fun kid and did so much. He always reinvented himself time and time again and certainly was a great entertainer and dancer and great to watch with all that energy. He was excited about getting back to the stage. GoodFellas star and friend Joe Pesci Michael Jackson was extraordinary. When we worked together on Bad, I was in awe of his absolute mastery of movement on the one hand, and of the music on the other. Every step he took was absolutely precise and fluid at the same time. It was like watching quicksilver in motion. He was wonderful to work with, an absolute professional at all times, and -- it really goes without saying -- a true artist. Director Martin Scorsese, who directed the Bad video The icon who never wanted to be an adult by GEORGINA LITTLEJOHN Exotic pet: Jacksons chimp, Bubbles, wore matching outfits rollercoasTer life of supersTardoM, surgery Changing faces: the dramatically different looks of Michael Jackson, from his days with The Jackson 5 in 1972, as a solo artist in 1983, the whiter skin of the Nineties and even whiter during this decade H index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html48.html49.html50.html51.html