Today marks what would have been the 65th birthday of the legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson tragically passed away on June 25, 2009.
The official cause of Michael Jackson’s death was determined to be cardiac arrest caused by an overdose of the sedatives he regularly consumed. Widely considered to be one of the greatest vocalists of all time, MJ captivated the globe with his powerful singing and electrifying performances.
With an estimated 400 million album sales globally, Jackson is one of the most successful musicians of all time. He was the first performer to have a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in five separate decades and had 13 Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles, third most of any artist. In addition to 39 Guinness World Records, he has received 15 Grammy Awards, six Brit Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and the title of “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time.”
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Despite his passing over a decade ago, contemporary artists continue to strive to match his seamless ascent of the musical ladder. Even in death, MJ is still breaking records.
Today, on his posthumous birthday, The PUNCH highlights the pop legend’s five major milestones he has achieved after death.
- Thriller continues to break record: MJ’s 1982 album still holds the title for best-selling album of all time with 70 million copies sold. The titular music video was also the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry. It has been named the greatest music video of all time by various publications and polls.
- Album sales: According to Nielsen Music, Jackson has sold 16.1 million albums in the U.S. since his death.
- Billie Jean: The music video for the 1983 song crossed 1 billion YouTube views in 2021 making it one of the first songs from the 1980s to do so.
- Posthumous collaboration: Justin Timberlake and Drake released songs featuring the late icon in 2014 and 2018 respectively. The songs were reworked from unreleased vocal recordings. Both songs entered the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
- Top-earning dead celebrity: MJ consistently topped the list of highest-earning dead celebrities from 2010- 2020 (with the exception of 2012 when he was displaced by Elizabeth Taylor). His estate is able to generate revenue through music and streaming, royalties, posthumous albums, merchandising and licensing.
Jackson’s influence on the globe continues to resonate even after his death. His legacy continues to inspire new generations, making him an irreplaceable figure in the history books.
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