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Michael Joseph Jackson born on the 29th of August 1958 in Gary, Indiana. He was the 7th of nine children. (brothers: Sigmund "Jackie", Toriano "Tito", Jermaine, Marlon, Steven "Randy", and sisters Rebbie, Janet and La-Toya Jackson. Michael began his musical career at the age of 5 as the lead singer of the Jackson 5 who formed in 1964. In these early years the Jackson 5, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and lead singer Michael played local clubs and bars in Gary Indiana and moving further afield as their talents grew and they could compete in bigger competitions. From these early days Michael would be at the same clubs as big talented stars of their days, such as Jackie Wilson and would be learning from them even back then. Their father Joe, determined to see his boys succeed, had been acting as their manager and drove them to venues in Chicago and New York to widen their appeal. In 1966 they won a talent contest at the renowned Apollo theater in New York's Harlem district and within a year had supported Gladys Knight & The Pips, with Gladys recommended them to Motown boss Berry Gordy Jr. Their debut single with Motown "I Want You Back" shot to number one in 1970 and was followed by "ABC". During those first few years of success Motown had realized that Michael had the greatest fan appeal and the best possibility of a long career and he was groomed by the company for a solo career to run in tandem with the group. Michael's solo debut was "Got To Be There" in 1971. In 1975, the Jackson 5's contract with Motown had expired and they signed to Epic under the name The Jacksons with Michael also signing as a solo artist. A decade later, after already having enormous success, Michael's albums Off The Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory have changed the face of pop music by not only becoming Multi-Million selling releases but also accessing a rock audience which had previously seen no connection between black music and their own interests. On June 25th 2009 Michael Jackson died suddenly of a reported cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old.