On June 25, 2009, the music world stopped spinning when news broke of the death of Michael Jackson. Jackson's unparalleled place in music history was quickly solidified as millions of fans around the world mourned the loss. The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles subsequently sprang into action with the unveiling of the special exhibit, Michel Jackson: A Musical Legacy, which served as a follow-up to the Michael Jackson: HIStyle exhibit that opened in February of that year.
On the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2010, GRAMMY winners Smokey Robinson, Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Usher, and Jennifer Hudson teamed for an all-star 3-D rendition of "Earth Song" in tribute to Jackson, who that year was honored posthumously with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award.
With more than 75 million albums sold in the United States, Jackson ranks No. 7 on the RIAA's list of top-selling artists of all time. As we approach the five-year anniversary of his death, we look back on 10 royal achievements that made Jackson the King of Pop.
1970: First Four No. 1 Hits
Jackson made history with his brothers in the Jackson 5 when they became the first group in pop history to have their first four singles hit No. 1. The songs were "I Want You Back," "I'll Be There," "The Love You Save," and "ABC." The latter earned the Jackson 5 their first GRAMMY nomination for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus.
1982: Thriller Is Released
Following the release of his 1979 hit album Off The Wall, Jackson released Thriller on Nov. 30, 1982. Both albums were inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2008, but Thriller is widely considered Jackson's most successful album. Co-produced by Quincy Jones and Jackson, the landmark album became the first album to generate seven Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. With sales of 29 million copies, Thriller is tied with the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975 as the best-selling album of all time according to the RIAA.
1983: The Moonwalk
Jackson debuted what would become his signature dance move, the moonwalk, during a performance of "Billie Jean" on the May 16, 1983, TV special "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever" in celebration of the label's 25th anniversary.
Later that year, on Dec. 2 Jackson changed the music video world for good when he released the music video for "Thriller." The near 14-minute epic unlocked the unlimited possibilities of music video, while helping to cement the viability of the medium.
1984: Eight GRAMMYs, One Night
Jackson made history when he became the first artist to win eight GRAMMYs in one night at the 26th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 28, 1984. The King of Pop's haul included Album Of The Year for Thriller and Record Of The Year for "Beat It." Jackson is among the artists with the most GRAMMYs won in the '80s with 11.
1984: Hollywood Walk Of Fame X 2
Jackson became the first celebrity to have two stars in the same category on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Before receiving a recording star as a solo artist, he earned his name in cement as part of the Jacksons (previously known as the Jackson 5) in 1980.
1988: GRAMMY Solo Performance Debut
Jackson made his solo GRAMMY stage debut on the 30th Annual GRAMMY Awards, which took place in New York on March 2, 1988. Arguably one of the greatest performances in GRAMMY history, Jackson performed a medley featuring "The Way You Make Me Feel" and "Man In The Mirror."
1993: GRAMMY Legend Award
To date, only 15 individuals have been awarded the prestigious GRAMMY Legend Award — a Recording Academy Special Merit Award that is presented to individuals or groups for ongoing contributions and influence in the recording field. Jackson became the 10th individual to earn this honor in 1993.
1997: The Jackson 5 Enter The Rock Hall
Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the first time as part of the Jackson 5 with his brothers Jackie Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson, and Tito Jackson. He was later inducted as a solo artist in 2001.
2009: 2.6 Million Downloads Sold
In the week following his death, Jackson became the first artist to sell more than 1 million digital tracks in one week. (He sold 2.6 million tracks, easily breaking the old record.) He also became the first artist to have the three best-selling albums in the United States. Two weeks later, he became the first artist to have six of the 10 best-selling albums.
2014: Jackson Makes History … Again
On May 21 Jackson became the first artist in history to score a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades when "Love Never Felt So Good" (from his posthumous release, Xscape) reached No. 9.