Mike Preston's report card in Week 3
The Baltimore Sun

Michael Jackson: A brilliant but bizarre life

Michael Jackson didn't just leave his stamp on pop music -- he irreversibly changed it.

From his early days as the pint-sized, Afro-sporting lead singer of the Jackson 5 to his astronomical success as a solo artist in the 1980s, Michael Jackson undeniably earned his title as the King of Pop.

If you listened to top 40 radio in the '70s, '80s or '90s, Jackson was inescapable. His album sales topped 750 million worldwide, and his 13 No. 1 singles and Grammy awards made him into a global celebrity.

In 1983, Jackson stunned audiences with the moonwalk, which, to this day, remains one of pop culture's most famous and enduring dance moves.

But as Jackson's popularity grew, his eccentric behavior and ever-changing physical appearance began to overshadow his many musical achievements. A chilling 2003 documentary with Martin Bashir titled Living With Michael Jackson foreshadowed a trial for child molestation. Jackson was later found not guilty, but the negative perception would plague him for the rest of his life.

In recent years, Jackson struggled financially, and was said to be on the brink of bankruptcy. His death today at age 50 is an abrupt end to a brilliant but bizarre life.

(AP photo)

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