Michael Jackson, one of the greatest pop stars of our time, emerged and reached the peak of his adult career during the 1980’s. Michael’s music that was released during this decade was a major influence on 80’s music and style. People around the world tried to mimic Michael in every way, from the moon walk in his performances to the gloves and jackets that he wore. It was during the 80’s that The Jackson Five started to separate and the performers started seeking their own venues. Michael Jackson decided to emerge with a bad boy personality that became wildly popular during this decade. It can be seen in his album titled “Bad” which included songs such as “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal”.
One of the most famous Michael Jackson songs that shaped this decade was “Thriller”. Thriller was one of the few music videos that were around in all of music, and when it was released for the first time on TV it revolutionized the industry. This fourteen minute long video was watched by people all over and was an instant hit. Its popularity sparked an uncountable number of reenactments and is still being performed today by all of the Michael Jackson fans around the world. Its popularity is shown in this 1990’s newspaper article, “The world buys millions of copies of Michael Jackson’s Thriller album, thanks greatly to the gaining popularity of Music Television” (Resnick, 16). After its release Michael continued to make Music videos that became some of the most watched videos during the 80’s.
Michael did not only break down music barriers, he also broke down racial barriers during his time. Michael was one of the few African American pop stars of his time and he used that to his advantage. His popularity allowed him to be one of the first black musicians on MTV and was one of the first African American artists to be globally known. This quote from David Berman in an 80’s newspaper shows Michael’s influence on society ,“Like Al Jolson, he’s bringing black music to a white audience. And like Jolson, he shows you can come out of the ghetto and if you have the energy, you can do anything. It’s the American dream” (Pareles, 11). Many pop stars such as Usher, Ne-Yo and Kanye West, claim to be directly influenced by Michael’s work. Michael Jackson single handily revolutionized the music industry and the racial view of society during the 80’s. Without his actions and performances the music/pop industry would not be what it is today.
Resnick, Susan. "Flashback: A Video Tour Of the 80's." New York Times [New York] 7 Jan.1990, Sunday ed., L.I. sec.: 16. Print
Pareles, Jon. "Michael Jackson at 25: A Musical Phenomenon." New York Times [New York] 14 Jan. 1984: 11. Print.