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American English Vocabulary from this story

Jehovah’s Witness- A certain Christian religion

to bring someone to tears- to make someone cry

to whip someone- to hit someone with a belt of whip

with a belt in hand- this phrase means he is ready to strike someone with the belt (threatening them with the belt)

pummeled- punched, beaten

to take over the vocals- to take the responsibility of the singing

to sign with- to sign a (recording) contract with someone

hit single- a very popular (single) song

prodigy- a young person with significant talent and abilities

solo tracks- a song (track) performed without the rest of the musical group (featuring one artist)

riff- in this context “riff” means a divide between people/places, a separation

different version- a different variation of the same thing

rhinoplasty- a nose surgery (usually to improve the appearance of the nose)

subsequent- further

Billboard Hot 100 top 10- top 10 of the 100 most popular songs at a given time, according to the Billboard (a system that ranks song popularity)

royalty rate- the rate (amount of money) an artist earns per song or album

a mass of synthesizer pop- all the music of the time was sounding too similar. It had become a conglomerate (a mass) of electronically produced (synthesized) music

signature move- a dance move invented by, or done very well by one person

infamously- well known for its negative characteristics

alcoholism and drug abuse- addicted to alcohol and drugs

third-world- developing countries (economically below the world standard)

cleft chin- a dimple (small dent) in the chin, often considered masculine

skin pigment- coloration in the skin

lupus- an ulcerous skin disease

menagerie- a type of small zoo with animals on exhibition

backfired- when something goes the opposite as planned

to be acquitted- to be found not guilty of a criminal charge

public image- image created by reporters and the media

rehab- rehabilitation, a place or people that offer help and assistance overcoming such things as drug abuse, alcoholism, depression, etc.

molestation- sexual abuse

regressed- falling back to a previous or less developed state

pedophilic- sexually attracted to children

retain- hold on to, maintain

shares of rights- portions of the rights

artificial insemination- a medical procedure to be impregnated (become pregnant) without sexual intercourse

cardiac arrest- when the heart stops beating

revive- bring back (to life), in this case with CPR

comeback- a return to the activity that made him famous

Michael Jackson

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Michael Jackson, known as the King of Pop, was the seventh of nine children. He was born in 1958 in Gary, Indiana. His mother was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. Their father, who often watched over their rehearsals with a belt in hand, abused Michael and his other siblings. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey Michael talked about his father’s abuse, and the subject brought him to tears. Michael’s father admitted to whipping him as a small boy, and his siblings spoke of Michael being pummeled by their father. In the interview Michael talked openly how the abuse gave him nightmares, and how he cried from loneliness. Seeing his father occasionally caused him to vomit from fright.

He started his singing career at the early age of six with his brothers. They changed their name to Jackson 5 when Michael took over the vocals. They performed for a series of black clubs known as the “chitlin’ circuit”. The band signed with Motown Records in 1968. With their hit singles Michael was recognized by the Rolling Stone as a great prodigy with amazing talent. In 1972 Michael began to sing solo tracks. Motown Records refused to give the band much creative input in to their music, and this began a riff. They signed with CBS Records in 1975 and changed their name to The Jacksons. Michael was the lead singer and songwriter. Michael appeared in The Wiz, a musical version of the Wizard of Oz in 1978. He played the Scarecrow. During a complex dance move Michael broke his nose and had to get a rhinoplasty. He was displeased with the results and complained of breathing problems. He had subsequent surgeries by different doctors to try and correct the problem.

Thriller is without a doubt Michael’s major career-altering album. Seven songs from the album have hit the Billboard Hot 100 top 10. It continues to be the best-selling album of all time. Michael took advantage of the success and was able to negotiate the highest royalty rate of the time, about $2 per album. He also made a documentary about the making of the album. He then started to sell Michael Jackson dolls and merchandise. Michael is often attributed to saving the music industry, which around this time had turned into a mass of synthesizer pop. Around this time Michael also performed his signature move, the Moonwalk, which still amazes viewers.

Michael began an earnest interest in the business side of music and started purchasing the rights to music songs. He infamously outbid Paul McCartney (of the Beatles) for the ATV catalogue, which held most of the Lennon-McCartney songs written between 1963 and 1973 along with thousands of other songs.

Michael was a huge supporter for charities, and gave millions of dollars from his tours and other albums’ and songs’ success. He gave to charities that helped people overcome alcoholism and drug abuse. He also gave to hospitals, third-world and HIV/AIDS organizations. He was invited to the White House by Ronald Reagan to receive an award for his charitable spirit.

His appearance has always been known for its many changes. Michael had at least 4 rhinoplasties and surgically added a cleft chin. He was also diagnosed with vitiligo, which causes loss of skin pigment, and lupus. The medications for both conditions further lightened his skin and made him sensitive to the sunlight. He also started a strict vegetarian diet that caused him to lose a lot of weight.

In 1988 Michael began building his Neverland Ranch that would come to include a Ferris wheel, a menagerie, and a movie theatre. He invited many underprivileged children to come and enjoy the place, which later backfired when one of the children accused him sexual abuse. Michael was acquitted of the charge, but the legal battles did great harm to his health and public image. He stopped eating and became addicted to drugs, for which he later went into rehab for. Years later he was again charged for child molestation, but it was also acquitted due to Dr. Stan Katz diagnosis of Michael becoming a regressed 10-year old, who was in no way pedophilic. The ranch was later sold and renamed to Sycamore Valle Ranch Co, though Michael did retain some shares of it.

Michael was married to Lisa Marie Presley for less than 2 years, and they divorced on friendly terms. He later married Deborah Jeanne Rowe and the two had 2 children before divorcing. He later had another child via artificial insemination. He showed the baby to the press with a blanket of its head and held him over the railing. The fall would have been 4 stories, and the act caused a lot of public criticism for which Michael later apologized.

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009 due to cardiac arrest. His personal physician and the paramedics were unable to revive him. At the time of his death he was preparing for a large comeback tour of 50 concerts in London.