For the first of our four-part series on the King of Pop, writer, professor and critic Emily Lordi joins Pop Pantheon to help us begin to untangle one of the most knotty legacies in pop history: the story of Michael Jackson. Emily and DJ Louie discuss Michael’s extremely strict upbringing, sadistic abuse at the hands of his father Joe, and the creation of The Jackson 5, from playing the Chitlin' Circuit to landing a Motown deal and kicking off one of the greatest single runs in history, beginning with 1969’s “I Want You Back.” Next they dig into The Jackson 5’s prolific Motown output, the marketing of Michael as a child sensation and how Jacksonmania made the Jacksons into a symbol of post-civil rights promise in America. Finally, they work through the band’s rebrand as The Jacksons, their post-Motown work, late '70s comeback and how the group’s monumental success set Michael up for solo superstardom. 

Join us next week for Part 2, in which we will be talking about Michael’s early solo work and his breakthrough as a solo star, 1979’s Off The Wall. 

Listen to Pop Pantheon's Michael Jackson Essentials Playlist

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