Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer-songwriter, entertainer, dancer, arranger, music producer, choreographer, actor, businessman, musician, and philanthropist. Often referred to as the "King of Pop", or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. The eighth child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971. In the early 1980s, Jackson became the dominant figure in popular music. The music videos for his songs, including those of "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and "Thriller," were credited with breaking down racial barriers and transforming the medium into an art form and promotional tool. The popularity of these videos helped to bring the then relatively new television channel MTV to fame. With videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" 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 robot, and the moonwalk, to which he gave the name. His distinctive sound and style has influenced numerous hip hop, post-disco, contemporary R&B, pop, and rock artists. Jackson's 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world's best-selling. Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first and only dancer from pop and rock music. Some of his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records; 13 Grammy Awards as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; 26 American Music Awards, more than any other artist, including the "Artist of the Century" and "Artist of the 1980s"; 13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career, more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era; and the estimated sale of over 400 million records worldwide. Jackson won hundreds of awards, which made him the most-awarded recording artist in the history of popular music. In what would have been Jackson's 52nd birthday on August 29, 2010, he became the most downloaded artist of all time. Jackson constantly traveled the world attending events honoring his humanitarianism and the 2000 Guinness Book of Records recognized him for supporting 39 charities. Aspects of Jackson's personal life, including his changing appearance, personal relationships, and behavior, generated controversy. In the mid-1990s, he was accused of child sexual abuse, but the case was settled out of court for about $25 million and $2 million and no formal charges were brought. In 2005, he was tried and acquitted of further child sexual abuse allegations and several other charges after the jury found him not guilty on all counts. While preparing for his concert series titled This Is It, Jackson died of acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication on June 25, 2009, after suffering from cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County Coroner ruled his death a homicide, and his personal physician was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's death triggered a global outpouring of grief and a live broadcast of the public memorial service viewed around the world. In March 2010, Sony Music Entertainment and Jackson's estate signed the largest music contract ever, with a $250 million deal to retain distribution rights to his recordings until 2017, and to release seven posthumous albums over the decade following his death.
Prince Rogers Nelson (born June 7, 1958), known by his stage name Prince, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist and actor. He has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. He established his own recording studio and label; writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of the instruments on his recordings. In addition, he has been a "talent promoter" for the careers of Sheila E., Carmen Electra, The Time and Vanity 6, and his songs have been recorded by these artists and others (including Chaka Khan, The Bangles, Sinéad O'Connor, and Kim Basinger). He also has several hundred unreleased songs in his "vault". Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prince developed an interest in music at an early age, writing his first song at age seven. After recording songs with his cousin's band 94 East, seventeen-year-old Prince recorded several unsuccessful demo tapes before releasing his debut album, For You, in 1978. His 1979 album, Prince, went platinum due to the success of the singles "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover". His next three records, Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982) continued his success, showcasing Prince's trademark of prominently sexual lyrics and incorporation of elements of funk, dance and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as The Revolution and released the album Purple Rain, which served as the soundtrack to his film debut of the same name. After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded and Prince released the critically acclaimed double album Sign "O" the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting the The New Power Generation band in 1991, which saw him changing his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol known as "The Love Symbol". In 1994, he began releasing new albums at a faster pace to remove himself from contractual obligations to Warner Bros, releasing five records in a span of two years before signing to Arista Records in 1998. In 2000, he began referring to himself as "Prince" once again. He has released thirteen albums since the beginning of the 21st century, including his latest, 20Ten, released in 2010. Prince has a wide vocal range and is known for his flamboyant stage presence and costumes. His releases have sold over 80 million copies worldwide. He has won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year he was eligible. Rolling Stone has ranked Prince No. 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Prince's music has been influenced by rock, R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, blues, new wave, electronica, disco, psychedelia, folk, jazz, and pop. His artistic influences include Sly & the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, Todd Rundgren, Duke Ellington, Curtis Mayfield, and Stevie Wonder. Prince pioneered the "Minneapolis sound", a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and new wave that has influenced many other musicians.