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45 Interesting Facts About Michael Jackson (The King Of Pop)

Michael Jackson is known as the King of Pop, and he’s been in the public eye for years, but how much do you know about him? We’re going to tell you 45 interesting facts about Michael Jackson (The King Of Pop), so read on to find out more about his life below! 

Michael Jackson Brought Llamas To The Recording Studio 

March 28, 2019 – Llama. Image source: PA, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

We all know that Jackson loved animals and had his own petting zoo, but did you know he had llamas that he would bring with him into the recording studio? Famously, he brought two of them, Louis and Lola, with him while recording with Freddie Mercury of Queen in 1983. Mercury was not a big fan of these llamas, and he said that was part of the reason why he never finished his recordings with Jackson. 

Shamone Was Invented by Michael Jackson In Bad 

Michael Jackson - Bad (Official Video)

If you’ve seen any Jackson clips or parodies, you’ve probably heard the word “shamone,” which is a word he invented. It’s found in the song Bad, and the word is not only an homage to Mavis Staples, a legendary singer of soul, but also it’s supposed to be an alternative word for “come on.” 

He Wanted To Emulate Fred Astaire 

One interesting fact about Jackson was that he really liked Fred Astaire and often wanted to emulate the various dance moves Astaire was known for, which is how he got some of his most famous moves. 

Michael Jackson Was Inspired By Charlie Chaplin 

April 11, 1915 – Charlie Chaplin. Image source: P.D Jankens, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jackson drew inspiration from a few different actors and musicians, and one of his biggest inspirations was Charlie Chaplin, the well-known silent film star who created the persona dubbed “The Tramp.” 

Multiple Figures Were Created For Madame Tussauds 

January 29, 2012 – Michael Jackson figure in Madame Tussauds, London. Image source: Abi Skipp, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jackson doesn’t just have one figure at Madame Tussauds, he has multiple ones that have been created in his likeness which exist in multiple museums of Madame Tussauds all over the globe. This should tell you all you need to know about how popular he was and how significant he was to the music culture. 

He Helped Mainstream The Robot Dance 

Jackson 5 - Dancing Machine (Live)

It’s thanks to Jackson when he was a part of the Jackson 5 and appeared on Soul Train in 1974 that the robot dance became mainstream. He did the robot dance while grooving to the song Dancing Machine and would later use these same dance moves as a solo artist, which all helped the robot dance become a part of pop culture. 

Michael Jackson Had a Chimpanzee Named Bubbles

Some people are not aware that Jackson had a chimpanzee as a pet, which he had with him until the day he died. Bubbles was the name of this chimp, and he would often go on tour with him up until 2005. After he died, Bubbles went to live in Florida at a place for apes called Center For Great Apes. 

He Loved Mexican Food 

Jackson usually followed a strict diet during his tours and other work-related projects, but when he went off his diet or had a cheat day, his favorite was Mexican. That’s far different from his usual vegetarian diet during his intense work schedule. 

Billie Jean Took Over 90 Mixes To Produce

Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (Official Video)

Jackson worked with Quincy Jones, a producer, to create Billie Jean. It seems it was not the easiest song to produce since it took them 91 times specifically to mix the track before the two men agreed on the final version.

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Michael Jackson Won Eight Grammys In 1984

During the 1984 Grammy Awards, Jackson won eight awards, which was a record-breaker for the awards show. This was the 26th annual Grammy Awards, and he took home a win in categories including Record of the Year for Beat It and Album of the Year for Thriller. He also won a Grammy for Billie Jean for the Best Male Vocal R&B Performance category and Best Rock Vocal Performance for a Male for the song Beat It.

He Used To Sleep In a Hyperbaric Chamber

Unknown – Hyperbaric chamber. Image source: Intermedichbo at sr.wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 RS, via Wikimedia Commons

Jackson wanted to stay young-looking and live as long as possible, so for many years, he slept in a hyperbaric chamber. However, at some point, he would donate this oxygen tank to a hospital out in California, so that it could be used to treat people with severe burns.

He Was a Pioneer At Addressing Political And Social Issues In Music

He was one of the first musicians to address both political and social issues in his music, and this helped bring important topics to the mainstream. We probably wouldn’t have artists singing about these topics without Jackson paving the way. 

He Was Supposed To Be In The World Trade Center on 9/11

March 2001 – World Trade Center, New York City. Image source: Jeffmock, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of people don’t know that Jackson was supposed to be in the World Trade Center on 9/11 because he had a meeting in one of the buildings. He ended up oversleeping and never made it to that meeting. 

His Hair Caught Fire And He Was Severely Burned 

During the shoot for a Pepsi commercial in 1984, Jackson’s hair caught on fire, which left him with both second-degree and third-degree burns on his head. Pepsi would go on to pay him $1.5 million in damages for his burns. 

Michael Jackson Wore Wigs To Cover Burns On His Head 

May 14, 1984 – Michael Jackson. Image source: White House Photo Office, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ever since that Pepsi commercial incident in 1984, Jackson wore wigs on his head to cover up the bald spot and scarring that he had as a result of his hair catching on fire. 

Michael Jackson Donated $1.5 Million To a Hospital After His Burn Incident 

Jackson was known to donate money to worthy causes so when he got burned in the 1984 Pepsi commercial incident, he wanted to give back to the hospital that had treated him. The $1.5 million that he had received from Pepsi would be given to that hospital, which was Brotman Medical Center. 

Brotman Medical Center Renamed Burn Unit After Michael Jackson

We’re going to give you an interesting fact, which is that the burn unit at Brotman Medical Center was renamed to Michael Jackson after he donated $1.5 million. You will now hear this burn unit called the Michael Jackson Burn Center as an homage to his generosity in supporting and giving back to the hospital.

Michael Jackson Was a Self-Taught Dancer 

Michael Jackson's Top 10 Signature Dance Moves | MJ Forever

We all know that Jackson could move, but did you know he was never trained or went to school for dancing? All of the dance moves that he performed were self-taught, which makes it even cooler that he pulled off amazing stunts like he did. 

He Had Special Shoes That Allowed Him To Moonwalk 

While we are on the subject of his moves, it was special shoes that allowed Jackson to perform his famous moonwalk. These shoes were designed with slots in them so that they could be clipped onto the stage for him to stay balanced while he performed the moonwalk. 

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk Shoes Were Patented 

Keeping with this theme of the moonwalk, Jackson owned a patent, which was number 5,255,452 from the US Patent Office for the shoes he used in his performances. Without this patent, he may not have been able to pull off the lean as well as he did. However, when he missed a payment on the patent for these shoes in 2005, it was then released so that anyone could design and replicate the moonwalk shoes. 

He Wanted To Buy Marvel Comics To Play Spider-Man

July 192013 – Spider-Man at San Diego Comic Con International for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Image source: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Marvel Comics filed for bankruptcy in 1996, and when this happened, Jackson had the idea to purchase the business. He wanted to buy it so that he could play Spider-Man, but this wasn’t an idea that his production team and fans were into at the time. Thankfully, he did not purchase Marvel Comics just to make himself Spider-Man. 

He Auditioned For Professor X 

How Powerful is Professor X?

Sticking with the comic book genre for a minute, when Jackson found out that another X-Men film was being shot, he wanted to be a part of it and auditioned for the role of Professor X. However, he ended up not being chosen for the movie. 

His Net Worth Hit $2.1 Billion After Death 

Soon after Jackson died in 2009, his net worth grew substantially to the point that he was worth $2.1 billion. This was because so many people were purchasing memorabilia and collectibles including his white gloves and red suit. Fans from all over the globe were seeking out anything they could related to him and were willing to pay big bucks to get it, 

Michael Jackson Was Given an Elephant As a Thank You Present 

May 1, 1986 – Elizabeth Taylor at the 75th anniversary of Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Image source: BobHopeElizabethTaylorUSOMay1986.jpg: PH1 Blakemorederivative work: Lady Whistler, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s not every day that someone gives you an elephant as a thank-you present, but that’s what happened to Jackson in 1991. He had let Elizabeth Taylor, an actress and his friend, use his property to host her wedding. She was very much appreciative of the ability to use the ranch so she sent him a living 5,000-pound elephant as a thank you. The elephant was named Gypsy and stayed on his property. 

He Purchased Elephant Man’s Remains 

1889 – Joseph Merrick, sometimes called Elephant Man. Image source: Unknown. No photographer credited in the British Medical Journal article of 1890., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

While odd, this next fact is also very interesting, which is that he put in a bid and purchased the remains of the man who was nicknamed Elephant Man. He had become obsessed with Joseph Merrick, the guy nicknamed Elephant Man, and felt that he was a misunderstood and beautiful person even with his deformities. It’s alleged that Jackson would spend hours with Merrick’s skeleton once he purchased it. 

Michael Jackson Broke His Nose During a 1979 Dance Rehearsal

Jackson ended up breaking his nose in 1979 during a dance rehearsal soon after Off The Wall came out. According to speculation, this would become the catalyst that would set off years of further nose jobs and likely put him down the path of plastic surgery. For the broken nose, he would need surgery to correct the severe damage so that he could breathe properly again, and his nose changed a lot during the next several months after that incident. 

He Received Three Presidential Awards In His Lifetime 

Michael Jackson - Beat It (Official 4K Video)

It’s not every day that a musician is given awards by the President of the United States, and it’s even rarer that someone receives three awards, but that’s exactly what happened to Jackson. Beat It was used in a drunk driving advertisement in 1984 after he gave permission, which led to him receiving the Presidential Public Safety award from then-President Ronald Regan. Interestingly, during Regan’s speech, he commended the singer for living a drug and alcohol-free life and said he’s proof sobriety can lead to success. 

Additionally, George Bush gave Jackson the Artist of the Decade award in 1990, and two years later, he received an award acknowledging him as a Point of Light ambassador for his work of helping the poor and disadvantaged by giving the children access to Neverland Ranch. As far as entertainers or musicians go, he would be the only one to ever get the Point of Light Ambassador award. 

His First Performance Was at Age Five 

December 16, 1969 – Jackson 5 photo announcing their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Image source: Bernie Ilson, Inc., public relations, New York., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

If you know anything about Jackson, it’s that he was part of a group years ago called the Jackson 5, which consisted of him and his four older brothers. They formed in 1964 under the leadership and direction of their father Joe Jackson, and at this time, the King of Pop was only five years old. 

Michael Jackson Owned The Rights To Over 200 Beatles Songs 

Jackson purchased a catalog that gave him publishing rights to music in 1985, and in this $47.5 million purchase were more than 200 songs by The Beatles. Paul McCartney had talked to Jackson and was the one who suggested he begin investing in publishing rights, which is a very interesting twist considering he’d end up owning the rights to The Beatles music thanks to this idea. 

He Purchased an Oscar 

April 17, 2010 – Decorative trophies. Image source: Prayitno, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s not a surprise that someone like Jackson would just pay millions of dollars to own something he felt was significant or a part of history. In 1999, he would pay $1.54 million to own David Selznick’s Oscar Award that he had won for Gone With The Wind. 

Michael Jackson Had Married Lisa Marie Presley And An Infamous Kiss Ensued 

Jackson had married Lisa Marie Presley in 1994, although at the time no one knew they had tied the knot. It wasn’t until the 1994 MTV Music Awards when the two were on stage together and famously engaged in a lip-locked kiss that their marriage became public.

March 15, 2014 – Lisa Marie Presley at Quantum Collective’s SXSW Invasion in Austin, Texas. Image source: David French, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Later on, Presley would talk about how she had wanted a private wedding where the media and paparazzi weren’t bugging them, and that’s why it was such a secret. They divorced in 1996 but remained friends and even got back together here and there until Jackson met Debbie Rowe around 2000. 

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Michael Jackson’s Net Worth In 2022 Was $500 Million

More than a decade after Jackson’s death, he is still one of the biggest and richest celebrities out there with his estate having an estimated net worth of about $500 million. Sure, this isn’t the $2.1 billion net worth from right after his death, but it still shows how popular and beloved he is given he died in 2009. 

He Often Could Be Found at Studio 54

You might have heard about Studio 54 before as this was one of the most popular disco clubs in the 70s and was famously right in the middle of Manhattan. It was a club where a lot of the musicians would go when they were younger, including Woody Allen and Freddie Mercury, with some of them not even being famous yet. Jackson was a regular at this iconic club through the years and enjoyed this entertainment hotspot. 

Michael Jackson Was Given More Than 100 Awards In His Lifetime 

While you can say some things about Jackson and his behavior, one thing is for sure, which is that he was one of the biggest celebrities and musicians of all time. During his lifetime, he would have more than 100 awards given to him for various achievements, from philanthropy to his record sales. 

April 3, 2017 – Michael Jackson star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California. Image source: FeldBum, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For example, he earned 26 American Music Awards, 40 different Billboard awards, and won 13 Grammy Awards during his life. He even is in the Guinness Book of World Records over 23 times, including for the title of Most Successful Entertainer of All Time. Jackson was a known philanthropist and had supported 39 charities, which also put him in the Guinness Book of World Records for most charities supported by a pop singer. 

Michael Jackson Loved The Character Morph 

MORPH | CLASSIC CLIPS | MORPH'S FIRST TAKE HART APPEARANCE

If you’re old enough, you may remember the children’s cartoon called Take Hart, which featured a character called Morph. This character was done using claymation, and Jackson was a big fan of it and would consider Morph to be his favorite of all cartoon characters. 

He Named His Autobiography Moonwalk 

Moonwalk became the title for Jackson’s autobiography, which was released in 1988 and featured celebrity contributions such as from Stephen Davis and Jacqueline Kennedy. In this book, he talked about growing up and being in the Jackson 5, including the abuse he suffered from his father, Joe. It hit the number one spot on the New York Times Bestseller list just five months later, and when Jackson died, Moonwalk once again landed on the best-seller chart.

His Black Armband Was For Remembrance 

Jackson wore a black armband, and this armband was supposed to represent all of the children all over the world who were suffering. It was an armband meant for remembrance and the hope was that it would also be a way to gain public attention about the humanitarian crisis affecting children. 

Michael Jackson Suffered From Vitiligo And His Skin Color Dramatically Changed 

Jackson was constantly accused of bleaching his skin in an effort to become white, but the reality is that he suffered from vitiligo. This skin condition dramatically changed the color of his skin tone, and he was very blotchy because of it.

Unknown – A hand of a person with Vitiligo. Image source: James Heilman, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

For years, Jackson was accused of trying to become white because of self-hate, but after he died, the autopsy confirmed he did have vitiligo, which does change your skin color. He may have had his skin completely bleached, but it was because vitiligo was changing it anyway, and bleaching it would have made it uniform and one color. 

He Suffered From Body Dysmorphia

Sticking with the theme of Jackson’s body for a minute, he did suffer from various mental health issues, notably, body dysmorphia. Body dysmorphic disorder is when you perceive a flaw with the way you look and go out of your way to fix it, such as through multiple cosmetic surgeries.

January 1988 – Michael signing an autograph at Kahala Hilton Hotel. Image source: Michael_Jackson_gives_autograph.jpg: Alan Lightderivative work: Rodhullandemu, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

BDD is also common among people with anorexia and bulimia because they think they are fat so they will go to extremes to lose weight, even when in reality it makes them appear gaunt or sick. It’s thought that all of his nose surgeries and other physical changes were the result of body dysmorphic disorder.

His Final Album Was Released in 2001 

Michael Jackson - Unbreakable (Audio)

Jackson released his last studio album in 2001, which was several years before his death in 2009. It was called Invincible, and artists such as Santana were featured in it. 

He Earned $125 Million in One Year 

There was one year when Jackson earned $125 million, which put him at the top of the list as the most-paid in entertainment. This happened in 1989, and he would never match his earnings of that year for the rest of his career. 

The FBI Had a File On Michael Jackson

Jackson had a file on him over at the FBI because there were so many attempts to extort and blackmail him for money through the years. Not to mention, he was such a celebrity that a lot of allegations were made in an effort to shake him down. 

Neverland Ranch Comes From Peter Pan

August 7, 2008 – Train station on Neverland Ranch near Los Olivos, California. John Wiley User:Jw4nvc – Santa Barbara, California, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You probably know Jackson had Neverland Ranch, which is where he resided and children often went, but did you know this comes from Peter Pan? Neverland was the place that was famously mentioned in the fictional story. 

Burial Delays Were A Result of Janet Jackson And The Funeral Home

Janet Jackson had put down almost $40,000 for Jackson to be buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery, but she wanted the money paid back by his estate before the funeral would be allowed to occur.

He Loved Comedy 

Mid-1930s – Trade card of The Three Stooges. Image source: Columbia Pictures/Pillsbury, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jackson loved comedy and was a known connoisseur of all things related to comedy, such as comedic films and television shows. In fact, one of his favorite comedic entertainers was The Three Stooges.

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