He was lauded and ridiculed. He broke down barriers and built them around himself. He soared to heights unimaginable with his music, and he made the ignominious front page of gutter tabloids worldwide.
For Michael Jackson, the spotlight was always present, and the rest of the world followed.
With "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" -- the latter with Eddie Van Halen's scorching guitar solo -- he was almost single-handedly responsible for getting videos by African-American artists on MTV and helped revitalize the moribund Top 40 format in the early 1980s. Read full article »