Michael Jackson's life in video

A brilliant career, from his 1968 Motown audition at the age of 9 to his epic videos of the 1980s and beyond

By Salon Staff

Published June 26, 2009 10:22AM (EDT)

It's rare that the word "icon" feels like an understatement. But Michael Jackson's death, at 50, puts a cap on one of the most spectacular entertainment careers in memory. From his Motown audition at the age of 9 through his genre-busting videos of the 1980s and 1990s, Jackson was a performer so brilliant even his grim tabloid scandals couldn't eclipse his talent. As painful as it sometimes was to watch his private anguish made public, seeing him in his glory was nothing short of pure joy. Here is a video compilation of some of our favorite moments in his half-century career.

Motown audition, "I Got the Feelin'," 1968

Jackson 5, "I Want You Back," 1971

"Ben," 1972

"Rock With You," 1980

Motown's 25th anniversary, "Billie Jean" (debut of the "Moonwalk"), 1983

"Thriller," 1983


Pepsi commercial, 1984

"Black or White," 1991

"Smooth Criminal," "HIStory Tour," 1996

"Beat It," "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration," 2001

Jackson 5, "Never Can Say Goodbye," 1971

Salon Staff

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