Before becoming the “King of Pop”, Jackson was exposed to the music industry from an early age. But what exactly was the first-ever song he was involved in?
Michael Jackson was originally a member of The Jackson 5 band with his family. The first official song he ever sang and released with the band was in 1968, and it was called “Big Boy”. As for his solo career, Jackson’s first song was “Got to Be There” (1971), but his first big hit was “Ben” (1972).
Read more to discover Jackson’s early music career, and how he quickly became one of the most substantial figures in the music industry.
Thrust Into The Spotlight
At just 7 years old, Michael was the youngest person in his family pop group, The Jackson 5, when they formed in 1965. The other four members were his brothers Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, and his younger brother Marlon who joined later.
“Big Boy”, or otherwise known as “I’m a Big Boy Now”, was gained attention from locals in the Chicago-Gary area, before reaching national status through selling thousands of the track.
The Jackson 5 made their first appearance on America’s TV screens in 1969 following their switch to Motown record label. They performed on the Miss Black America Pageant.
1970 was the year that they really broke through and shot to fame. In January, their single “I Want You Back” was their first track to get to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the US, staying for a total of four weeks.
They continued performing on TV, seen here on the Carol Burnett Show in 1975.
While the band was dropping major hits left and right, Michael established his own unique style and voice, emphasizing his status as “a prodigy” as described by Rolling Stone magazine.
A Solo Star is Born
The early ‘70s is where Michael’s solo career began to take off. While he was still a part of the family group, he began showing more interest in becoming a stand-alone artist.
His first official single as a lead musician was “Got to Be There” in 1971, which reached 4th place on the US charts.
“Rockin’ Robin”, “I Wanna Be Where You Are”, and “Ain’t No Sunshine” were released in ‘72, although his first big hit in relation to widespread attention was “Ben” in that same year. It topped the charts in Australia and the US, and got to 2nd spot in the Netherlands.
“Ben” is a pleasant song to listen to, although it has an intriguing, yet bizarre, backstory.
The tune was nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards, and Michael even sang it at the ceremony.
In the wake of the success of “Ben”, the King of Pop continued releasing songs and even starred as “The Scarecrow” in the film musical The Wiz with Diana Ross, Nipsey Russel, and Richard Pryor in 1978.
By ‘79, Jackson published his album “Off the Wall”, including massive hits like “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You”. The move skyrocketed his presence as never before.
Two of the songs peaked to number one in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Spain, plus they secured second and third positions in Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK.
1982 eventually arrived, where “Thriller” came out and immediately took over the world. It sold 32 million copies by the end of the next year, and it remains to be the best-selling album of all time.