[[caption-width-right:350:The King of Pop.]]

->''"I'm starting with the [[TitleDrop man in the mirror]]\\
I'm asking him to change his ways\\
And no message could’ve been any clearer\\
If you wanna make the world a better place\\
Take a look at yourself, then make a change."''
-->-- [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90C-Wx_uGdM&spfreload=1 "Man in the Mirror"]]

Originally a member of the Creator/{{Motown}} act Music/TheJacksonFive, Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) debuted as a solo artist in 1971 -- the year he turned thirteen. His full-fledged solo career took off in the late [[TheSeventies 1970s]]. Though songs from his first serious solo effort, ''Music/OffTheWall'' (1979), were extremely popular, he reached unprecedented superstardom in 1982 with his album ''Music/{{Thriller}}''. ''Thriller'' is still the best-selling album of all time today, and won a total of 8 Grammy Awards.

Jackson was, perhaps, the definitive celebrity of TheEighties. His singing voice and dance moves (especially his SignatureMove, the MoonwalkDance) gained iconic status. His unusually elaborate music videos were something of a KillerApp for the emerging MTV. In particular, [[MichaelJacksonsThrillerParody the one for "Thriller"]] is probably the most famous music video ever made. He had also been one of the first African-American artists to receive heavy rotation on the channel. By the end of the decade, he had another successful album in ''Bad'' (the first album to yield five number one singles on the Billboard charts), a [[Film/{{Moonwalker}} direct-to-video movie]] and even [[VideoGame/MichaelJacksonsMoonwalker video games]].

As TheNineties rolled around, Jackson had another success with the album ''Dangerous''. However, within a few years media attention had turned on his health and appearance, his personal life and some allegations of sexual abuse against children. Jackson did release two more albums but for the rest of his life was OvershadowedByControversy (or perhaps just eccentricity). In 2009, he looked set for a comeback after booking a 50-show farewell concert engagement in London, England.

It was not to be. He died due to an overdose of propofol (a hospital-grade anaesthetic) a few weeks before the first concert, at the age of 50. The doctor who administered the medication was later found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Jackson's family sued tour organizer AEG for negligence, but lost that case in 2013. Jackson's memorial service that July 7 was broadcast live around the world; he is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Later that year, the first of many posthumous Jackson-related projects, ''[[Film/MichaelJacksonsThisIsIt This Is It]]'', compiled from rehearsal footage of the aborted London shows, was released.

Not for nothing... he's the King of Pop!

TropeNamer for MichaelJacksonsThrillerParody, TropeCodifier for MoonwalkDance.

!!Studio Discography:

* 1972 - ''Music/{{Got To Be There}}''
* 1972 - ''Ben''
* 1973 - ''Music And Me''
* 1975 - ''Forever, Michael''
* 1979 - ''Music/OffTheWall''
* 1982 - ''Music/{{Thriller}}''
* 1987 - ''Music/{{Bad}}''
* 1991 - ''Music/{{Dangerous}}''
* 1995 - ''[[Music/HistoryPastPresentAndFutureBookI [=HIStory=]: Past, Present And Future, Book I]]'' [[note]]The first half of the album is a compilation[[/note]]
* 2001 - ''Music/{{Invincible}}''

!!{{Remix album}}s:

* 1986 - ''The Original Soul of Michael Jackson''
* 1997 - ''Blood On the Dance Floor: [=HIStory=] in the Mix''
* 2009 - ''The Stripped Mixes''
* 2009 - ''The Remix Suite''

!!Posthumous Discography:

* 2010 - ''{{Music/Michael}}''
* 2014 - ''{{Music/Xscape}}''

!!Notable Compilation albums:

* There were a lot of these released during his lifetime and even more after he passed away:
** 1972 - ''A Collection of Michael Jackson's Oldies'' [[note]]Issued only in the US.[[/note]]
** 1975 - ''The Best of Michael Jackson''
** 1981 - ''One Day In Your Life'' [[note]]Motown was trying to capture some of the success Michael was having with ''Music/{{OfftheWall}}'' at the time.[[/note]]
** 1986 - ''Anthology'' [[note]]Later reissued in 1995 and in 2008 as part of the '''''Gold''''' series by Motown. [[/note]]
** 2000 - ''20th Century Masters - The Millenium Collection: The Best of Michael Jackson'' [[note]]Later reissued as '''''Icon''''' in 2012.[[/note]]
** 2001 - ''Greatest Hits: [=HIStory=], Vol. 1'' [[note]]It was a reissue of the first disc from ''[[Music/HistoryPastPresentAndFutureBookI [=HIStory=]: Past, Present And Future, Book I]]''[[/note]]
** 2003 - ''Number Ones''
** 2004 - ''The Ultimate Collection'' [[note]]This is a comprehensive 4-disc box set. Later re-released digitally in 2013 as the '''''Ultimate Fan Extras Collection'''''.[[/note]]
** 2005 - ''The Essential Michael Jackson'' [[note]]It also had a deluxe edition issued in the United States.[[/note]]
** 2008 - ''King of Pop'' [[note]]Fans got the chance to vote their favourite songs in many different countries.[[/note]]
** 2009 - ''Hello World - The Motown Solo Collection'', ''The Definitive Collection'', ''The Collection'', ''Michael Jackson's This Is It''
** 2013 - ''The Indispensable Collection''
** 2017 - ''Scream''
* 1978: ''Film/TheWiz''
* 1986: ''Film/CaptainEO''
* 1988: ''Film/{{Moonwalker}}''
* 1997: ''Film/MichaelJacksonsGhosts''
* 2009: ''Film/MichaelJacksonsThisIsIt''

!!Notable Advertisements
* Advertising/TheChase



[[folder:Tropes Associated with his works:]]
* SeventiesHair: The afro he sported with The Jackson 5.
* EightiesHair: His trademark Jheri Curl, as seen in the image above.
* AlbumFiller: Or more specifically, a noted lack thereof early on. In later interviews towards the end of his life, he specifically noted this trope as the impetus to his work on his three biggest albums ''Off the Wall'', ''Thriller'', and ''Bad''. He stated he asked himself, "Why can't there be an album where '''every song''' could be released as a single?" He seems to have done well with his goal there: ''Music/OffTheWall'' was the first album ever with four Top Ten singles, Music/{{Thriller}} had '''seven''' Top Ten singles (of nine total songs on the album), and ''Bad'' was the first album to have five #1 hits in America (only Music/KatyPerry matched it, nearly 25 years later). In fact, 10 out of the 11 songs on ''Bad'' were released as singles ("Speed Demon" being promo only), which is still the record for the most singles from an album.
%%* AnimalMotifs: Tigers, Panthers.
* AncientEgypt: The "Remember the Time" music video took place in an ancient Egyptian court, full of pharaohs and the like. No mummies, though.
* AngryBlackMan: Rarely ever acted like this in real life, but he does in his videos for ''They Don't Care About Us'', ''Scream'' and ''Bad''.
* TheBabyTrap: "Billie Jean", Inspired by all the times he saw girls try this on his older brothers during the "Jackson 5" years. It's a song about a woman who claims her child is his, which he denies.
* BeingWatched: Rockwell's "Somebody's Watching Me" as well as his own "Who Is It?" video has a face in the wall of the main character's apartment. The face seems to imply he knows what his lover has been doing to him. The lover in the short film is a high profile prostitute.
* BrotherSisterIncest: Latoya Jackson plays Michael’s love interest in the video for “Say Say Say.” [[DownplayedTrope In the video, however, they are not (apparently) related, and thankfully they only flirt]].
* TheCameo: There is nothing to say here besides, well... ''VideoGame/SpaceChannel5''. Especially Part 2. Yes, that really is his voice.
** He also appeared as himself in ''Film/MenInBlack2'', and as a hidden boxer in ''VideoGame/Ready2RumbleBoxing: Round 2''.
** He also had a role in ''Miss Cast Away'', made in 2004. He was prominently featured on the cover as a selling point (but then, according to reviews, it had nothing else to offer).
** The music video to "Liberian Girl" is all about this. Seriously, there a couple of dozen of celebs featured in just this one video, like Whoopi Goldberg, John Travolta, Steven Spielberg, you name it. The video can be simply refereed to as Michael Jackson's "Look how many 80's A-list celebrities I'm friends with!"
* CelebrityStar: ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stark_Raving_Dad "Stark Raving Dad"]] has Homer meeting a man named "Leon Kompowsky" who thinks he's Michael Jackson. The voice actor credited with the role was "John Jay Smith," but aside (ironically) from his singing it is Jackson's actual voice -- he was a huge fan of the show who also co-wrote [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_the_Bartman "Do the Bartman"]] under a pseudonym.
** And even though he didn't sing it, the episode also gave us one of the show's Crowning Moments of Everything in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alTfC-L2W1c "Lisa, It's Your Birthday".]] He apparently didn't do the singing parts because Sony would not allow him to, though another story floating around is that Michael wanted to prank his family with the sound-alike singer (Kipp Lennon).
* {{Claymation}}: In the video for ''Speed Demon'', Michael encounters several claymation characters and ends up on the run from them. When he enters the wardrobe, he becomes one himself -- a motorcycle-riding rabbit named Spike.
* ClothesMakeTheLegend: White socks, short trousers, black trilby, and single sparkly white glove; also a red leather jacket, military jackets, etc. And let's not forget his "Smooth Criminal" attire.
** His vests and floppy hats during the Jackson 5 period, too.
* ConceptAlbum: ''Music/OffTheWall'' is about the ups and downs of partying while ''Blood on the Dance Floor'' as an EP (without the remixes) could very well be a concept album on inner demons such as lust, addiction, jealousy, and masochism.
* ConceptVideo: Most of his music videos, [[InsistentTerminology which he preferred to call "short films"]].
%%* CoolShades: Ray Bans aviators.
* CrucifiedHeroShot: Jackson often did this at the end of performances for his more inspirational, “world-saving” songs, such as “Man in the Mirror,” “Heal the World,” and “Earth Song.”
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJqIEU6RfUo This performance]] of “Earth Song” [[ExaggeratedTrope takes this trope]] UpToEleven, helping feed accusations of having a [[MessianicArchetype Messianic complex]]. [[spoiler:Music/JarvisCocker certainly thought so, [[HostileShowTakeover invading the stage]] and giving Jackson [[FlippingTheBird the V sign]].]]
* CuteKitten: On the 25th anniversary edition of ''Thriller'''s cover, Jackson is holding a tiger cub.
* CookingDuel: Several of his appearances and works has Michael's character resolve a potentially violent conflict through dance battles:
** In ''Film/{{Moonwalker}}''.
** Also in ''Beat It'', where he defuses gang fights by stepping in and starting to dance, and in ''Bad''.
** His appearances in ''VideoGame/SpaceChannel5'' and its sequel, which is a game of dance battles.
** ''Film/CaptainEO''
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Bad'' was supposed to give him an "edgier" image, but it didn't take. Later albums did delve into this trope more effectively (i.e. "Who Is It" from ''Dangerous'').
** Also, Thriller is very edgy comparing to his earlier more light-hearted albums, with the darker subjects of zombies, babies trap and gangster violence.
* TheDeadCanDance: His ''Music/{{Thriller}}'' video is the TropeCodifier, with many subsequent "zombie dances" [[MichaelJacksonsThrillerParody mimicking moves from the video]]. Done again in ''[[Film/MichaelJacksonsGhosts Ghosts]]''.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The videos for "Scream", "Stranger In Moscow" and the TalkyBookends of "Bad".
* DistinctDoubleAlbum: ''[=HIStory=]'', one disc being old "greatest hits" material, the other being new music.
* DolledUpInstallment: The "This Is It" song that was released at the same time as the ''This Is It'' movie. It was originally recorded in 1983 under the title "I Never Heard" and it was chosen because it happened to have the phrase "This is it" opening each verse.
* EpicRocking: ''Dangerous'' has ten songs over five minutes long (though "Will You Be There" stole some Beethoven for its intro). Disc two of ''[=HIStory=]'' has three numbers over six minutes (including "Earth Song"), and ''Invincible'' opens with the 6:25 "Unbreakable".
** Would also draw out live performances, fake-ending them several times, similar to James Brown.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: He wore silver sequins on his glove and socks for this reason; with sparkly white socks, viewers could pay attention to his dance moves more easily.
* EverythingsBetterWithSpinning: He employed this often in his music videos and dance routines.
* EverythingsDeaderWithZombies: ''Thriller'' features not only dancing zombies, but Jackson himself becoming a zombie.
%%* FacelessMooks: His background dancers in "They Don't Care About Us" from ''This Is It''.
* FaceRevealingTurn: The music video for "Thriller" has possibly the most famous (and most frequently parodied) use of the trope of all time.
* FakeShemp: Famously, when he wasn't available, the video for the Jacksons' "Torture" used a wax dummy and elaborate costumes.
** Michael had also used an impersonator for his "Who Is It?" video because he was busy with the ''Dangerous'' tour at the time. That same impersonator (E'Casanova Evans) also stood in for MJ in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII''.
%%* FedoraOfAsskicking: In the videos for "Smooth Criminal " and "You Rock My World".
* FunnyAfro: His and his brothers' hairstyle in the last years of the Music/TheJacksonFive. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb1u7wMKywM See them in the "Blame it on the Boogie" video.]] It enhances their approachability and safe persona.
* GemEncrusted: Most of his costumes as time went on. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI7uqnyfv18 The ones he would have worn in the This Is It tour]] would bring it UpToEleven.
* TheGeneralissimo: Jackson’s motif for the ''[=HIStory=]'' album, but even for years prior to this album, he was known to wear fancy military attire.
* GiantSpider: ''This Is It'' features a giant black widow spider in the ''Thriller'' segment. Not only is one on screen (this would have been in 3D, no less), but one scurries on stage that opens up to reveal Jackson.
* GrandFinale: ''This Is It'' ''was'' going to be a GrandFinale for his career; [[{{Retirony}} he died before it could start]].
* GreatestHitsAlbum: ''[=HIStory=]'' has this as a first disc and an album of new material as a second disc. The first disc became available separately some time later.
** For straighter examples, popular examples are ''Number Ones,'' ''The Ultimate Collection'' (actually a career-spanning box set), ''The Essential Michael Jackson'' (which is part of Sony's acclaimed Essential series), and ''King of Pop'' (which had different versions in many differeny countries due to fans voting their own selection of songs). There's also all manner of compilations covering his material as a child star.
%%* GreenAesop: "Earth Song" and Jackson's final message in the ''This Is It'' film.
* {{Guyliner}}: Wore it from the mid-80s onward, allegedly having tattoos on his eyelids to resemble this in his later years.
%%* HydePlaysJekyll: In ''Music/{{Thriller}}''.
* InsistentTerminology: From the ''Music/{{Dangerous}}'' era onwards, he stopped calling his music videos "music videos," exclusively referring to them as "short films" (technically he wasn't wrong, but by and large they still wholly fit into the "music video" category), even the ones that were just bare-bones footage of him performing; even his official Vevo channel gets in on the act! Similarly, his songs with the Jackson 5 were always called "the Old Songs," with his solo works being "the New Songs."
* IntercourseWithYou:
** A few songs seem romantic, but are clearly this trope. At the very least, ''Invincible'''s "Break of Dawn" doesn't hide it, [[LyricalDissonance despite the sombre mood]].
** Subverted with "The Lady in my Life,". It was one of two tracks not released as a single from Thriller, and has uncharacteristically sexual lyrics.
* LicensedGame: ''VideoGame/MichaelJacksonsMoonwalker'', his appearance in ''VideoGame/SpaceChannel5'' and most recently [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson:_The_Experience a dancing/karaoke game]] developed by Creator/{{Ubisoft}} in light of the RhythmGame craze.
* ListSong: "Why You Wanna Trip On Me" is a list of things Michael thinks people should worry about more than his personal life. "Earth Song" has a similar list near the end of the song of things Michael thinks we should worry about involving the Earth's ecology.
* LoudOfWar: The video for "Black or White" opens with a father insisting his son turns his music off, only for the son to set up a ridiculously large guitar amp and crank it all the way to "[[UpToEleven Are You Nuts!?!]]", with rather destructive effects.
* LyricalDissonance: "The Girl Is Mine" is light light light '80s pop about two guys fighting over a girl who is probably playing them both for someone less obsessive than either of them. "Billie Jean" is an upbeat dance number about an obsessive fan.
* MadonnaWhoreComplex: Jackson's songs involving women are typically either [[SillyLoveSongs saccharine love songs]]—"Lady in My Life," "The Girl is Mine," "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," "You Are Not Alone"—or portrays them as overly sexualized, untrustworthy manipulators—"Billie Jean," "Dirty Diana," "Dangerous," "In the Closet." Given that he never really had a chance at a normal dating experience and his only relationships were with [[LoonyFan obsessive female fans]] or other pop superstars[[note]]This included the ''actual'' Music/{{Madonna}} for a brief time, though it was presumably nothing more than a publicity stunt to get the two biggest pop singers of TheEighties together. By all accounts, Madonna ''terrified'' him.[[/note]], it's often theorized that he wasn't just a prude and was ''actually'' afraid of sex.
* MediumBlending: The claymation, blended with real backgrounds and people, in the video for "Speed Demon".
* MetalScream: "Dirty Diana" has some surprisingly epic ones toward the end.
* MichaelJacksonsThrillerParody: Trope originator, obviously. There are countless parodies of dancing zombies that can be directly traced to "Thriller."
* MohsScaleOfRockAndMetalHardness: The hardest Michael's music ever got was a 4, thanks to "Beat It" which featured an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. Of course, he wasn't the least bit shy about dipping down to a 1, such as "She's Out Of My Life."
* MoonwalkDance: Didn't invent it, [[TropeCodifier but popularized it]], performed it at every live concert, and it became one of his immortal trademarks.
* TheMovie: ''Film/{{Moonwalker}}'' and/or ''This Is It'' can apply.
* NewJackSwing: The undisputed best selling artist of the genre during the 90s with a combined total of 58 million albums sold worldwide between 1991-97[[note]]32 million for ''Dangerous'', 20 million for ''[=HIStory=]'' and 6 million for ''Blood On The Dance Floor''.[[/note]] Jackson also wrote and produced tracks for several new jack swing artists such as Ralph Tresvant and Blackstreet.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''Off the Wall'', a pop-R&B album, was this to his previous solo work as a "bubblegum" child act. From that point on, his work followed the trends of pop music in general, with each subsequent album taking on a new sound.
* NiceHat:
** His black Trilby. In several concerts, he threw it into the audience.
** The white fedora from "Smooth Criminal" can also qualify.
* NoAnimalsWereHarmed: A disclaimer at the end of the music video for "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7z_w83fSjM Earth Song]]" says that no animals were harmed during the making of the video, though an unnamed poacher had killed an elephant within a mile of the shot.
* ObsessionSong: "Baby Be Mine", "Billie Jean", "The Girl Is Mine", "I Just Can't Stop Loving You", "Dirty Diana", "Streetwalker", "Can't Let Her Get Away", "Remember the Time", "Who Is It", "Give In to Me", and "Dangerous".
* OneManSong: ''Ben''.
* OneWomanSong: ''Billie Jean'', ''The Lady In My Life'', ''Liberian Girl'', ''Dirty Diana''.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: His youngest son, Prince Michael Jackson II, is known as "Blanket".
* OurFounder: The trailer for his ''[=HIStory=]'' album shows him heading an army and erecting a giant statue of himself. That statue trick (it served as the cover of the album, and actual replicas of it were circulated on his tour) was criticized even by his fans as being too SmallNameBigEgo.
* PassThePopcorn: Sorta does this in the "Thriller" video, noshing away at popcorn while his girlfriend recoils in terror during the movie. An animated gif featuring this scene has become a ''massive'' meme.
%%* PepTalkSong: "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'", "Keep the Faith", and "On the Line".
* PopStarComposer: In the mid 2000s, it was discovered that Jackson had a hand in composing some of the soundtrack of ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic the Hedgehog 3]]'', with most evidence pointing to the fact that most of the songs are either uptempo or {{Suspiciously Similar Song}}s of tracks from his ''Dangerous'' album. He is not credited in the game itself, with the official reasons being that he disliked the low-grade sound equipment used to make [[UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis Sega Mega Drive]] music, but given that he had somewhat bigger things to worry about in early 1993, it's easier to see the true reasons behind his abandoning the project. He later lent his voice and likeness to another Creator/{{Sega}} project, ''Space Channel 5'', but it's not known if he provided any music.
** Despite evidence of his involvement, there has been no actual confirmation of what songs, if any, that he composed made it into the game. That said, technically it was his personal songwriter at the time, Brad Buxor who composed the songs during his involvement.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbVM-l2Oku4 Shortly after his death, it was revealed that he did work on ''Sonic 3''.]]
* PrecisionFStrike:
** During the 2nd chorus of "Scream":
-->"Stop pressuring me, stop pressuring me, stop ''fucking'' with me."
** The very last line of "Earth Song": “Do they give a ''damn''?!”
** In a [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKE1Sc0wPLE interview around 2004]], Michael was asked about his depiction in {{Music/Eminem}}'s "Just Lose It" music video. Though he kept it fairly civil throughout, he quoted Music/StevieWonder's stance on Eminem:
----> '''Michael:''' Stevie said "He's bullshit", that's what he said...
%%* ProperlyParanoid: Some of his most popular [[SignatureSong signature hit songs]] had this atmosphere.
* PunBasedTitle: ''[=HIStory=]'', which can be interpreted as "history" or "his story".
* RearrangeTheSong: From the ground up! The demo for "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" was a smooth [=R&B=] jam, virtually an entirely different song to the fast-paced dance number on ''Thriller''. In actuality, frequent collaborator Quincy Jones wasn't keen on the demo itself but loved the title so much that he created a much more upbeat song with the same title. Thanks to ''The Ultimate Collection,'' fans got to hear the original in 2004.
* RemixAlbum: Four of them. ''The Original Soul of Michael Jackson'' (1986), ''Blood On the Dance Floor: [=HIStory=] in the Mix'' (1997), and ''The Stripped Mixes'' and ''The Remix Suite'' (both 2009).
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: "Leave Me Alone," of course, directed at the media and tabloids, who in 1987 had already begun playing up the whole Wacko Jacko schtick.
* SelfBackingVocalist: You can pick up his own distinctive voice in the backing vocals to a majority of his songs, starting as early as "Got to be There" and "Rockin Robin". He also commonly provided his own backing "vocal instrumentation" with beatboxing and the like (as in ''Tabloid Junkie'').
* ShoutOut:
** Many of his music videos are shout outs. Music/{{Bad}} is a shout-out to Cool from ''Theatre/WestSideStory'', "Smooth Criminal" is a shout out to Fred Astaire.
*** Even "Beat It" is reminiscent of ''Theatre/WestSideStory'': What if Tony had stopped the fight?
** The "Thriller" section of ''This Is It'' starts out in Rides/TheHauntedMansion -- ghosts having a party in a ballroom, and the "narrator" implied to have hanged himself -- and ends like [[Disney/{{Fantasia}} Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria]] -- the ghosts return to their graves at sunrise; there's also "dead bride and dead groom" "kites" that resemble the ghosts in "Night on Bald Mountain".
* SignatureMove: The moonwalk.
* SingingVoiceDissonance: Zig-zagged. As mentioned above, the powerful, masculine-sounding voice he sang with was also his real speaking voice. That notoriously feminine-sounding falsetto he was known to speak with? That was a put-on.
%%* SnakeOilSalesman: He plays the accomplice of one of these (played by Music/PaulMcCartney) in the "Say Say Say" music video.
* SomethingCompletelyDifferent: In his last years, he was experimenting with very different styles of music and art. He considered film acting and directing but he was too much in debt to open a film company.
%%* StalkingIsLove: The music video for "The Way You Make Me Feel" gives off this vibe.
%%* TheSomethingSong: "Earth Song". Inverted with “Wanna Be Startin’ Something”
%%* SpecialGuest: Many of his music videos have celebrity cameos.
%%* StalkerWithACrush: "The Way You Make Me Feel", "Billie Jean", "Dirty Diana".
* TakeThat: The song "D.S.", from the ''[=HIStory=]'' album. The lyrics say that someone named "Dom Sheldon" is a cold man, but if you listen to the song, he's clearly saying "Tom Sneddon", the Santa Barbara DA who went after him for child molestation back in the '90s and again in 2005 -- in fact, some people believed that Sneddon had a vendetta against Jackson because of this song, and it was at least part of the reason he took him to trial.
* TalkyBookends: Popularized this trope with the "Thriller" clip. The film opens with a short skit, ends with a short skit, and in between is music video magic.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: The song "Stranger In Moscow" has Jackson being stalked by a KGB agent with the song presumably ending with the KGB agent interrogating him about trying to subvert the pro worker regime. The song came out a few years after the USSR collapsed in 1991, making the KGB and the Soviet regime a thing of the past. Although somewhat subverted in that it apparently takes place is pre Glasnost Russia.
* TitleTheAdaptation: ''Michael Jackson: The Experience'' (a video game).
* TropeCodifier: For the modern, plot-driven type of music video (ones previous to him were mostly just shots of the band playing), for the modern style of pop performances (one of the first to have synchronized choreographed dance while singing), and for the modern pop artist image and persona.
* TruckDriversGearChange: "Man in the Mirror" contains a gear change, even being quite highly regarded by the [[http://web.archive.org/web/20140517092136/http://gearchange.org/ gearchange.org site]] which is critical of the technique in general. It occurs on the word "change", which combines a lampshading with a FunnyAneurysmMoment, considering what was happening to Michael at the time.
%%** Also happens towards the end of "Rock With You".
* VerbalTic: "HEE HEE!", "I don't know!", "CHAMONE!", "WOOH!" and his fairly unique vocal "hiccup" style also qualify.
* VocalEvolution: He sounded a lot more nasal, weak and forced on the live tracks for "Michael Jackson's This Is It". Especially noticeable since he sounded more or less exactly the same sans stylistic changes from ''Off the Wall'' through ''Invincible''. It's also the reason why some of the more recent tracks on his first posthumous album, ''Michael'' are often believed to have been recorded by an impostor.
* WhatMeasureIsANonCute: Subverted with his song "Ben", which, despite being about a rat from a horror movie of the same name, is quite heartwarming.
%%* YouAreNotAlone: Had a hit song by this title, penned by none other than Music/RKelly.
* {{Zipperiffic}}: The red jacket he wore in the "Beat It" video was covered in zippers, and was iconic enough that it's a likely trope codifier.

[[folder:Tropes Associated with portrayals of Michael Jackson:]]
* AmbiguouslyBrown: How he looked in the late '80s as the vitiligo began to lighten his skin and his cosmetic surgeries made him look more racially ambiguous, leading to many works referencing his changing skintone. For example, ''Film/HotTubTimeMachine'' had the time-travelling heroes confirm their travel to the past by asking a passerby what color Michael Jackson was.
* DeadArtistsAreBetter: His death had increased his popularity to be greater than ever, in fact, it also changed the reputation of him being labeled a freak.
* DudeLooksLikeALady: His plastic surgeries, long hair and makeup made him look increasingly feminine by the 1990s, to the point that his appearance was compared to that of his older sister [=LaToya=].
* {{Fangirl}}: In the 1980s manga and anime series ''Gu Gu Ganmo'', Ayumi, the male protagonist Hanpeita's crush, is a major Michael Jackson fan. The anime aired in 1984, at the tail end of the ''Thriller'' era.
* FormerChildStar: He managed to remain highly successful even as an adult, but many of his cameos or fictional portrayals present him as as forever scarred by not having been allowed to be a kid when he was a kid. He was also close friends with a number of ex-child stars such as [[Film/HomeAlone Macaulay Culkin]] and Creator/ElizabethTaylor.
* GuestFighter: In ''Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Part 2''. Let's be honest, [[MundaneMadeAwesome we all wanted to use him beat the crap out of scary Russian Boxers, Shaq and Bill Clinton.]]
* ManChild: The unfortunate side effect of being forced into show business at the age of '''six''' and therefore never getting a chance to experience childhood when he actually was a child; this dysfunction happened to be so prominent for Jackson that he even wrote a song about it, appropriately titled "Childhood". Neverland Ranch, named after [[Literature/PeterPan a story about a certain young boy who never grew up]], is often seen as his attempt to "buy back" his youth. An entire episode of ''WebVideo/AfterHours'' is devoted to this idea of him reclaiming his lost youth.
* NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead: Michael spent the last two decades of his life being [[MemeticMolester the butt of molestation jokes]], among other things, with his musical career being largely ignored. Even though he was seen a bit more positively when the child molestation charges were dismissed in 2005, it wasn't until after he passed away that these negative comments about his personal life almost completely disappeared. Fictional references to MJ evolved from molestation jokes to, at worst, ManChild jokes or simple reverence for his work and ignoring his personal life.
* OneOfTheKids: He identified strongly with ''Literature/PeterPan'' and preferred being around children since, as he saw it, they liked having fun, didn't talk to him about adult things that made him feel uncomfortable, and were less likely to judge him for what the media said about him. Unfortunately, this led to the child molestation accusations that plagued him until his death.
* ReclusiveArtist: Became one after allegations of child molestations until after his untimely death.
* TheRival: The aforementioned Music/{{Prince}} was often presented as this in the press. Music/MCHammer thought himself this in the early and mid-'90s, and repeatedly tried to call Jackson out, though it seems to have mostly one-way. Jackson reportedly enjoyed the MJ call-out at the end of ''2 Legit to Quit'', in which a Jackson stand-in makes the titular hand gesture.
%%* TheRockStar: Even now he's still known worldwide.
%%* RummageSaleReject: Some of his costumes looked like this. And still managed to look cool.
%%** See the ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'' episode "Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket?"
* ShoutOut: The episode "Doug's Garage Band" of the 1990s Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} KidCom ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' features a music video with a "shape shifting" sequence seemingly inspired by the "Black or White" video.
* StrongFamilyResemblance: Many of the Jackson brothers looked strikingly alike when they were children. Back in the '90s, the RunningGag was that Michael's public appearances were actually his sister [=LaToya=]. At one award show, he appeared next to his other sister [[Music/JanetJackson Janet]] and joked "See? We ''are'' two different people!" Michael and Marlon apparently looked similar enough to be mistaken for twins when they were younger.
* TheTysonZone: A shining example, where basically everything about his life, no matter how weird, was easily believed. To the point [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity Jackson himself fabricated some rumours the tabloids disseminated in the 80s]].
->''Who's bad???''