Icon, phenomenon, movement -- these are just a few of the words that have been ascribed to Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop,” and one of the greatest performers of all time. Even after his death, Jackson, who turned out hit record after hit record during his 45-year career, continues to inspire artists around the world with his lyrics, dance moves and personal life.

No pop artist has eclipsed Jackson in terms of star power and all-around talent. His contributions to the music industry and dance -- he gave the world such gifts as the “moonwalk” and “robot” -- were many, and his talent garnered him a level of fame that was both splendid and terrifying all at the same time. His 1983 hit music video “Thriller,” a 14-minute horror parody that featured Jackson undergoing a full shapeshift into a werewolf, remains the most popular music video in history, according to Vanity Fair.   

Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana, in 1958 to a working-class family. He first became a household name at the age of 11 as the frontman of Motown’s the Jackson 5. Not long afterward, Jackson, whose penchant for performance was apparent from the beginning, took off as a solo artist.

Jackson’s childhood wasn’t always glamorous. His father, Joseph Jackson, allegedly beat his sons with a belt if they stepped out of line while practicing their Jackson 5 routines. “I remember singing at the top of my voice and dancing with real joy and working too hard for a child,” Jackson recalled in his autobiography, “Moonwalk,” published in 1988.

Jackson died June 25, 2009, of cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home. He was 50. Here are seven of his best music videos to commemorate the King of Pop. 

‘Smooth Criminal’

‘The Way You Make Me Feel’

‘Beat It’

‘You Rock My World’



‘Black Or White’