Page last updated at 00:46 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 01:46 UK

Why Jackson was the King of Pop

By Ian Youngs
Music reporter, BBC News

Michael Jackson at 1984 Grammys
Michael Jackson won a record eight Grammy Awards in 1984 Grammys

When Michael Jackson made his last public appearance, announcing his planned comeback gigs at the O2 Arena in London in March, the fans who there were adamant - he was still the King of Pop.

Asked why they loved him, the same answer came back. He was the complete entertainer - an exceptional songwriter, a dazzling dancer and performer, a perfectionist and a passionate singer.

But it was more than that. His fans cared deeply about him, and believed that he felt the same way about them. To the brilliant music was added an emotional bond that inspired greater devotion that any other artist has enjoyed.

It is no exaggeration to say he was the biggest pop star of his generation.

All music-lovers will recognise his musical gift, everyone has a favourite Michael Jackson song, millions upon millions have his LPs or CDs on their shelves.

For 20 years, from his start as the precocious child in the Jackson 5 to the world's biggest-selling album Thriller in 1982 throughout his continued hits in the 1980s, he was at the pinnacle of the musical world.

The personal problems and eccentric behaviour may have clouded the myth.

Mesmerising figure

But Michael Jackson will be remembered as the slim, smiling figure, in jewelled glove and sparkling jacket, who could barely hold a record eight Grammy Awards in his arms in 1984.

He will be remembered as the man who millions of fans flocked to get a glimpse of in every corner of the globe as he toured the world between 1987 and '89.

He will be remembered as the exciting figure who defined pop music with a slick, mesmerising mixture of soul, disco and polished rock.

And he has been an absolutely huge inspiration for the artists that followed.

Pop stars like Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Ne-Yo and Usher are direct descendents, but his influence spreads far wider - from boy bands to rappers to rock bands - who have taken on elements of songwriting, singing style and smooth performance and production.

New album

He was said to have been working on a new album with the likes of current R&B and soul singers like John Legend, Akon and - all of whom revered him as a legend.

He had not released music for eight years, but the clamour to see him at the O2 Arena proved that massive numbers of people were desperate to see him perform his hits once again.

Many fans at that launch had been following him for decades, but some were barely born when he had his last significant chart success.

His music continued to inspire devotion among new generations, and he will be hugely missed by music fans around the world.

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