Jackson was born 29 August 1958, in Gary, Indiana, to an African-American working-class family. His father, Joseph Jackson, had been a guitarist but had put aside his musical aspirations to provide for his family as a crane operator. Believing his sons had talent, he molded them into a musical group in the early 1960s. At first, the Jackson Family performers consisted of Michael's older brothers Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie. Michael joined his siblings when he was five, and emerged as the group's lead vocalist. He showed remarkable range and depth for such a young performer, impressing audiences with his ability to convey complex emotions. Older brother Marlon also became a member of the group, which evolved into the The Jackson 5.
First taking to the stage at the age of just 11 as part of his family's gig The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson grew quickly into the superstardom which would both reward and plague his life. An apparently unstoppable creative and financial force through the highs of his career, 'The King of Pop' struggled with a confused and turbulent private life that was often made appallingly public. In the wake of his shock death though, it is for his artistry - and not his controversies - that he will be remembered and sadly missed.