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Top 10 Michael Jackson Moments

VO: Matt Campbell
Script written by Sean Harris He held his entire life in the public eye, and remains one of the most talked about celebrities ever to have lived. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Michael Jackson Moments! For this list, we've ranked the most significant, memorable and iconic moments in Michael Jackson's life. Special thanks to our users jackcooper and Arthur Sarti for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest!

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Top 10 Michael Jackson Moments

He held his entire life in the public eye, and remains one of the most talked about celebrities ever to have lived. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Michael Jackson Moments!

For this list, we’ve ranked the most significant, memorable and iconic moments in Michael Jackson’s life. The King of Pop was both exceptionally talented and extremely controversial, and today’s countdown will provide a balanced look at his highs and lows.

#10: The Jackson 5

It’s where it all began for MJ; his road to pop royalty started here. The Jackson 5 formed in 1964, in Gary, Indiana. Jackie, Tito and Jermaine Jackson were the band’s founding members, with Marlon and Michael joining later. The fivesome found worldwide fame after singing for Motown Records in ’69, and releasing “I Want You Back” in the same year. That song soared to number one, as did the three that followed, and the Jackson brothers became household names. Especially fresh-faced vocalist, Michael.

#9: The Baby and the Balcony

An early example of Jackson’s habit for troubling twenty-first century headlines, in November 2002 he impulsively, recklessly and hugely irresponsibly dangled his infant son from a third storey window… And made front page news the world over. The stunt, which took place at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, involved Michael’s third child, Prince Michael II. Before the baby was haphazardly held over Jackson’s balcony there had been mounting speculation that the singer was father to a third child. After these controversial actions, that fact was no longer in doubt.

#8: MJ Catches Fire

From the hair-raising to the hair roasting. While filming a 1984 commercial for Pepsi, a freak firework accident resulted in Jackson’s hair being set on fire. The incident occurred when Michael – then 25 – was performing “Billie Jean” and left MJ with second degree burns to his scalp. Jackson- somehow- remained remarkably calm throughout the commotion, which had occurred when he was at the pinnacle of his career. With eight Grammys that year – he was already on fire, he didn’t need this!

#7: Lisa Marie Presley and that Kiss

Michael Jackson’s marriage to Lisa Marie Presley – daughter of Elvis – was short, sweet and shrouded in controversy. The couple tied the knot in secret, in the Dominican Republic, in 1994. Their first major public appearance together came at the MTV VMAs of the same year, where they made kiss history by awkwardly smooching in front of millions. The couple lived out their union under intense public glare until Presley filed for divorce in early ’96. And to think no one thought this would last.

#6: Plastic Surgery and Changing Skin Color

If there’s ever been a poster boy for the overuse of plastic surgery, then it’s probably Michael Jackson. Michael frequently insisted that he’d only ever gone under the knife twice – for his nose on both occasions – but, even to the untrained eye, the physical evidence clearly contradicts that. The change in Jackson’s skin colour perhaps raised most eyebrows – including his own. The singer suffered from vitiligo, a disease affecting skin pigmentation, and is thought to have purposefully bleached himself beyond his natural colour, in order to escape the symptoms.

#5: Martin Bashir

In February 2003, the “Living with Michael Jackson” interview was watched by over 50 million people in the US and the UK alone. Bashir built the show around Jackson’s changing appearance, the Neverland Ranch, and the singer’s apparent obsession with children. Revelations that Jackson shared his bed with young boys served as firm foundations for the legal troubles which followed. But, Bashir didn’t escape unscathed either, as critics accused him of ‘yellow journalism’, of doctoring the truth, and of intentionally portraying Jackson in a negative light.

#4: The Child Abuse Trial

Easily the most controversial moment in Michael Jackson’s history, in 2005 the dance-floor filler landed in court, accused of a string of child molestation offences. Dubbed the ‘trial of the century’, Jackson was eventually found not guilty on all charges, but his reputation would never recover. In 1993, Jackson was subject to similar allegations concerning a 13-year old boy. That matter was settled out of court, but a massive media frenzy proved unavoidable the second time around. For many, it was Jackson’s final step in a fantastic fall from grace.

#3: Thriller

From the lowest perceivable point in Jackson’s life, to probably the highest! “Thriller” was released on November 30th, 1982. It was MJ’s sixth solo album, but probably the most significant record he ever produced. It’s still ranked as the best-selling album of all time, and is praised for its pioneering post-disco blend of R&B, pop, rock and funk music, as well as for its use of the music video as a promotional tool. If Jackson wasn’t already the biggest act on Earth before Thriller, he definitely was after it.

#2: The King of Pop is Dead

On June 25th 2009, Michael Jackson died at 50 years of age. As news of his death filtered online, many major websites crashed under unprecedented internet traffic, and Jackson’s memorial service remains one of the most watched events in online streaming history. Despite his consistently questionable character, the outpouring of grief was massive. The drama didn’t stop with his death, either. Jackson’s personal physician, Conrad Murray, served two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter, for his part in a lethal overdose of prescription drugs found to have caused MJ’s death.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.


HIStory World Tour

The Glove

Buying and Building the Neverland Ranch

1993 Superbowl Half-time Show

#1: The First Moonwalk

An indisputable icon, Michael Jackson was a man of many trademarks. Although he was known for his ultra-racy, yet iconic crotch grabs, the singer’s most sensational dancing moment came on March 25th, 1983. Jackson first executed the moonwalk during a performance of “Billie Jean” on the TV special, “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever”. As he glided across the stage, seemingly defying gravity, he danced his way into pop culture legend status. We’ve all tried to copy him, some of us even got close, but nobody moonwalks better than Michael!

Do you agree with our list? Which Jackson moment have we missed? For more celeb-inspired top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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