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"I Want You Back," a song written and produced by Motown's new crew the Corporation, saw release in October 1968 when Michael Jackson was just 11 years old.By January 1970, "I Want You Back" rocketed to number one on both the pop and R&B charts, and the Jackson 5 became a sensation, crossing over from R&B to AM pop radio with ease.His first solo single, "Got to Be There," arrived at the end of 1971, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100, and then a cover of Bobby Day's chestnut "Rockin' Robin" peaked at two in early 1972.Later that year, "Ben," the title theme ballad to an exploitation movie about a killer rat, earned Jackson his first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song (he would lose).
Impressed, Taylor brought them to the attention of Berry Gordy, Jr., who signed the group to Motown in March of 1969 and then sent them out to Los Angeles, where he helped mastermind their national launch.
The pair hit it off and decided to work on Jackson's next solo endeavor, but first the Jackson 5 released Destiny, which raised the profile of both the band and Michael himself.
All this was preamble to Off the Wall, the 1979 album that definitively established Michael Jackson as a force of his own.
Seven of its nine songs were Top 10 hits, it earned eight Grammy awards, and topped the Billboard charts for 37 weeks, matching its American success internationally to become the biggest-selling album of all time, earning 32 platinum certifications in the US and moving over 100 million albums worldwide.
Such a phenomenal triumph pushed Jackson into the stratosphere and Bad -- the eagerly-anticipated 1987 sequel to Thriller, co-produced once again with Quincy Jones -- kept him there, generating five number one singles on the Billboard charts and selling 30 million copies internationally, two thirds of which were outside of the US.