Michael Jackson Timeline
Timeline Description: Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009) is known as the "King of Pop" for his legacy as a singer, dancer, songwriter, producer, and actor. He made the bestselling album of all time (Thriller), and is the only artist to have been inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. However, Jackson also struggled with multiple allegations of child molestation and other challenges. His death in 2009 caused an outpouring of grief around the world.

Date Event
August 29, 1958 Michael Jackson is born.

The eighth of ten children in a working class family, Michael Jackson is born in Gary, Indiana. His parents both have musical ambitions and set demanding expectations on their children for performing musically. Michael is beaten when he doesn't perform well enough.
1965 Michael joins the Jackson Brothers as a backup musician.

In 1965 Michael and his brother, Marlon, join their three other brothers, Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine, in their band, the Jackson Brothers, as backup musicians who play the tambourine and the congas. They are later promoted to lead singers, and the group becomes the Jackson 5. They set records for getting their first four singles on the Billboard Top 100 charts, and Michael quickly becomes the lead star of the bunch.
January 24, 1972 Michael Jackson releases his first solo album, Got to Be There.

Though still tied to the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson starts releasing his own solo albums, starting with Got to be There on January 24, 1972. This represents a shift from child star to teen heartthrob in Michael's career.
June 1975 The Jackson 5 moves to Epic Records.

The Jackson 5 moves to work with Epic Records in June 1975, though Jermaine chooses to stay with Motown. Randy joins instead, and the band changes their name to the Jacksons.
October 24, 1978 Jackson stars as the Scarecrow in the movie, The Wiz.

Jackson stars as the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz remake, The Wiz, which comes out on October 24, 1978. It is a financial disaster. However, Jackson makes contact with Quincy Jones on the set, and he starts producing Jackson's next album, Off the Wall.
August 10, 1979 Jackson releases his solo album, Off the Wall.

Quincy Jones co-produces Off the Wall with Jackson, which releases on August 10, 1979, and it is a hit that establishes Jackson as a solo performer. It is also a critical success, winning multiple AMA and Billboard awards.
November 30, 1982 Jackson releases Thriller.

In continued collaboration with Quincy Jones, Jackson releases Thriller on November 30, 1982. It becomes the bestselling album worldwide the next year, as well as the first album with seven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles. It wins a plethora of awards, including Grammies for producing, best vocal pop, and best album of the year.
December 2, 1983 Jackson releases the Thriller music video.

On December 2, 1983, Jackson releases a fourteen-minute-long music video to accompany Thriller, which is directed by John Landis. It revolutionizes the genre and draws attention to the fledgling MTV.
March 25, 1983 Jackson participates in the live Motown 25 special.

Aired on NBC, the live special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever reunites Jackson with the Jackson 5 on March 25, 1983. He is initially reluctant to be in the special because he is worried that he has been on television too much, but he negotiates a solo in exchange for his appearance. His solo performance of Billie Jean becomes iconic. He debuts his legendary moonwalk dance move on the performance.
March 8, 1985 Jackson works with Lionel Richie to co-release We Are the World.

Jackson develops a name for himself in charity work. In particular, he works with Lionel Richie to co-release the hit single, We Are the World, to raise money for African famine relief. The single releases on March 8, 1985.
March 1988 Jackson purchases the land to build Neverland Ranch.

After purchasing land near Santa Ynez, California in March 1988, Jackson builds his iconic home, Neverland Ranch. It includes a carousel, a Ferris Wheel, a small zoo, and a movie theater.
August 21, 1993 Police raid the Neverland Ranch.

After accusations of child molestation by thirteen-year-old Jordan Chandler and his father, Evan Chandler, police raid Jackson's home with a search warrant obtained on August 21, 1993. They find incriminating photos of young boys, but since they are not illegal to own, Jackson is not indicted. He is later strip-searched by the police, and although Chandler's descriptions match him, he is not convicted.
May 26, 1994 Jackson marries Lisa Marie Presley.

Jackson and Presley had been childhood friends years ago, but then reconnect and start a friendship over the phone. Presley offers emotional support to Jackson during his trial, and eventually they get married on May 26, 1994. The marriage lasts about two years.
January 31, 2005 Jackson's second child molestation trial begins.

After a documentary in which Jackson is filmed holding hands with a thirteen-year-old and talking about sleeping arrangements, Jackson is again accused of child molestation. He is put on trial for seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating substance in relation to the boy in the film. He is acquitted of all counts, and subsequently leaves the country.
June 25, 2009 Jackson dies.

After struggling with money issues, Michael Jackson passes away due to intoxication following cardiac arrest in a rented mansion in Los Angeles. His personal physician is convicted of involuntary manslaughter and serves two years for his death. Jackson's death triggers unprecedented sales of his music.