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Michael Joseph JacksonAugust 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. Called thhis contributions to music and dance, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.The eighth child of the , he debuted on the professional music scene along with his elder brothers andMarlon as a member of  in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971. In the early 1980s, Jackson became a dominant figure in . The music videos for his songs, including those of  and were credited with breaking down racial barriers and with transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. The popularity of these videos helped to bring the then-relatively-new television channel to fame. With videos such as and he continued to innovate the medium throughout the 1990s, as well as forging a reputation as a touring solo artist. Through stage and video performances, Jackson popularized a number of complicated dance techniques, such as the  and the to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous artists of various music genres.