Michael Jackson's Top 10 Career Highlights

A Look Back at the Amazing "King of Pop"

Since his shocking death on June 25, 2009, we remember the "King of Pop" as the greatest entertainer of our generation.

Michael Jackson is the most awarded artist in history. Among his hundreds of awards are:

  • 13 Grammy Awards including winning a record eight Grammys in 1984. Also, a Grammy Living Legend Award and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 86 Billboard Awards
  • 26 American Music Awards, more than any other artist. He was named American Music Awards "Artist of the Century" and "Artist of the 1980s."
  • 31 Guinness World Records including Best Selling Album in History Thriller which has sold an estimated 65 million copies worldwide.
  • 85 MTV Awards
  • 8 World Music Awards
  • 13 number one singles on the Billboard 100, more than any other male artist

Other major accomplishments include:

  • First artist to have a Billboard 100 top ten single in five different decades: 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
  • Estimated 400 million records sold worldwide
  • Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a member of The Jackson Five and as a solo artist
  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Jackson Five and as a solo artist

Here is a list of Michael Jackson's top 10 career highlights.

of 10

Jackson Five Debuts With Four Number One Hits 1970

The Jackson Five. Michael Ochs Archives

From the album Diana Ross Presents The Jackson Five, the first single, "I Want You Back," hit number one on the Billboard  Hot 100 in January 1970. The group's next singles "ABC" and "The Love You Save" from their ABC  album also hit number one. The following single, "I'll Be There" from The Third Album, continued their dominance at the top of the charts. The Jackson Five, with eleven-year-old Michael as their lead singer, became the first recording act to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with their first four singles.

of 10

"Motown 25-Yesterday, Today, Forever" 1983

Michael Jackson performing at the "Motown 25-Yesterday Today Forever" celebration March 25, 1983 in Pasadena, California. Michael Jackson

One of the most memorable performances of Michael Jackson's legendary career took place on March 25, 1983, during the taping of the Motown 25-Yesterday, Today, Forever TV special at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. The program aired May 16, 1983, and was viewed by 47 million people.

After Michael performed with his brothers, he commanded the stage solo and electrified the audience. His performance of "Billie Jean," featuring the debut of his signature dance move, the "moonwalk," earned him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. 

Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr. said, "From the first beat of 'Billie Jean,' I was mesmerized, and when he did his iconic moonwalk, I was shocked. It was magic, Michael Jackson went into orbit, and never came down."

of 10

Record Eight Grammy Awards February 28, 1984

Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones pose with their Grammys on February 28 1984 at the 26th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles,. Getty Images

Thriller was released November 30, 1982, and became the best selling album in music history selling an estimated 65 million copies worldwide. The album earned Jackson seven Grammys and eight American Music Awards, including the Award of Merit.

He also won an additional Grammy in 1984 for Best Recording for Children, "Someone In The Dark" from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial storybook

Thriller topped the Billboard 200 chart for 37 weeks and was in the top 10 of the 200 for 80 consecutive weeks. It was the first album to contain seven Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles. 

Jackson also starred in the fourteen-minute Thriller mini-movie that defined music videos.

Thriller was one of three Jackson albums produced by Quincy Jones. Off The Wall in 1979 was the first album with four number one hits: "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough," "Rock With You," "She's Out Of My Life" and the title tune. Bad in 1987 broke that record as the first album with five number one singles: "Just Can't Stop Loving You," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Man In the Mirror," "Dirty Diana," and the title tune.

The Bad concert tour spanned 16 months, included 123 concerts witnessed by 4.4 million fans across 15 countries.

1984 Grammy Awards Won By Michael Jackson:

  1. Album of the Year-Thriller
  2. Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male-"Thriller"
  3. Record of the Year-"Beat It'
  4. Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male-" Beat It"
  5. Best Rhythm and Blues Song-"Billie Jean"
  6. Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male-"Billie Jean"
  7. Producer of the Year (with Quincy Jones)
  8. Best Recording for Children-"Someone In The Dark"
of 10

Victory Tour 1984

Michael Jackson and The Jacksons at the opening of the Victory Tour on July 10, 1984 in Kansas City, Mo. WireImage

The Jacksons reunited for the "Victory" stadium tour in 1984 featuring 55 concerts enjoyed by two million people. It was the only tour featuring all six Jackson brothers-- Michael, Jermaine, Marlon, Tito, Jackie, and Randy. The tour, which was the group's final tour with Michael, kicked off July 6, 1984, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri and ended December 9, 1984, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The concerts grossed $75 million and Michael donated his share of the proceeds, estimated at $3 to $5 million, to charity.

Although it was a group tour, it is best remembered for Michael's solo performance of his songs from Thriller and Off The Wall.

of 10

"We Are the World" Released March 7, 1985

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. Archive Photos

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote "We Are The World," produced by Quincy Jones, which earned $63 million for famine relief in Africa and the United States. The song for the USA For Africa project was released March 7, 1985, featuring 45 stars including Jackson, Richie, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers and Diana Ross. It sold 20 million copies and won three Grammys, including the 1985 Song of the Year.

of 10

Super Bowl 27 Performance January 31, 1993

Michael Jackson performs during halftime of Super Bowl XXVII on January 31, 1993 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California. WireImage

On January 31, 1993, Michael Jackson performed the halftime show of Super Bowl 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and set the standard for Super Bowl entertainment.

Jackson was the NFL's remedy for the television audience dwindling during halftime, and he became the first superstar to perform solo during a Super Bowl halftime. It was the first Super Bowl where the ratings increased during halftime.

Jackson sang "Jam," "Billie Jean," "Black or White," and "Heal the World." The performance catapulted his Dangerous album 90 positions up the Billboard 100 album chart.

of 10

Grammy Living Legend Award February 24, 1993

Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson during The 35th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. WireImage

On February 24, 1983, Michael Jackson's sister Janet Jackson presented him with the "Living Legend Award" at the 35th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. He is one of only fifteen artists to receive the honor which recognizes "ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field."

of 10

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 1997 and 2001

Berry Gordy Jr. of Motown Records with Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Jackie Jackson of The Jackson 5 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame May 9. 1997. WireImage

Michael Jackson was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, first as a member of The Jackson Five on May 9, 1997, and again as a solo artist on March 19, 2001.

In 1997, Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. presented the award to the group. Gordy stated, "They not only had hit records, they were a cultural revolution. For the first time, young Black kids had their own heroes in their own image to idolize and emulate."

Michael said, "I'd like to say to our family, our children and, most of all, our mother and father: You were there to protect us with unselfish love, and because you were there, we are here."

In 2001, Michael Jackson was inducted into the Hall of Fame by 'NSYNC member Justin Timberlake who said in his introduction, "There ain't no stoppin', there ain't no enough, he's the King of Pop, the one, the only, Michael Jackson."

In receiving the honor, Michael said, "For me, the gift of music has been a blessing from God from the time I was a child."

of 10

Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary Concerts September 2001

Michael Jackson during Michael Jackson's 30th Anniversary Celebration at Madison Square Garden September 7, 2001 in New York City. WireImage

On September 7, 2001, and September 10, 2001, two concerts celebrating Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary as a solo artist were taped for a TV special at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Called Michael Jackson: An All-Star Salute, the concerts featured a who's who of entertainment including Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Marlon Brando, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, 'NSYNC, Destiny's Child, Luther Vandross, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, and Slash from Guns N' Roses.

The Jacksons performed several of their hits including "ABC," "The Love You Save," "I'll Be There," I Want You Back," and "Shake Your Body." This was the first time Michael sang with his brothers since the "Victory Tour" in 1984. He dazzled the crowd with his solo hits "Beat It," "Billie Jean," "Black or White," "The Way You Make Me Feel," and "You Rock My World." The show closed with several artists joining him in singing "We Are The World."

The morning after the final concert, terrorist attacks shocked the United States on September 11, 2001. Jackson responded by helping to organize the "United We Stand: What More Can I Give" benefit concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The concert took place on October 21, 2001, and included performances from dozens of artists. Jackson performed "Man In The Mirror" and was joined by all the artists for the finale, "What More Can I Give." 

of 10

American Music Awards "Artist of the Century"

Michael Jackson accepts the Artist of the Century Award at the 29th Annual American Music Awards January 9, 2002 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. WireImage

On January 9, 2002, Michael Jackson received the American Music Award for Artist of the Century from comedian Chris Tucker at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. He was previously named The American Music Awards Artist of the 1980s. Jackson is also one of only seven artists to receive the American Music Awards International Artist Award of Excellence. During his career, he won a record 26 American Music Awards.