Records and Achievements

Michael Jackson was a larger than life figure who, during his 40-year career in the entertainment business, broke an enormous number of records. This page lists his most significant records and achievements. The date in parentheses is the date when the record was established.

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Popularity
Awards
Albums and songs
Films
Live performances
Chart positions
Business deals
Charitable activity
Records of record-breaking

Popularity

  • (2000) The biggest selling artist of all time: more than 380 million records sold with Michael Jackson’s voice and name on them;
  • (2000) The biggest music industry artist/group project of all time: Michael Jackson brought more than $5 billion total income to the industry;
  • (2000) The highest worth artist/group of all time: $3 billion by estimation of Sony Corporation during the negotiations with MJJ Productions;
  • (1997) The most sold international artist of all time: 100 million albums sold outside of the USA;
  • (2000) The biggest selling artist of the 90s: 123 million records, including 95 million albums;
  • (1990) The biggest selling artist of the 80s: 100 million solo records (Epic only, excluding Motown records);
  • (2000) The biggest selling international artist of the 90s: more than 70 million albums sold internationally;
  • (1995) The most albums sold by an artist in one year: 30 million;
  • (1993) The biggest TV talk show audience ever: “Michael Jackson talks to… Oprah” – 100 million. It was also the fourth biggest TV audience ever;
  • (2009) The most downloaded artist of all time;
  • (2009) The first artist to sell more than 2 million downloads in a week – immediately after his death;
  • (2000) The most photographed man form the 60s to date;
  • (2000) The most recognizable man ever.

Awards

  • (2009) The most awarded person/entertainer/artist/group of all time: 372 recognized awards (excluding Gold, Platinum and Diamond certifications);
  • (2009) The most American Music Awards won by an artist: 26 (including 4 posthumous awards);
  • (2009) The most World Music Awards won by a male artist: 16;
  • (2009) The most Billboard awards won by a male artist: 26;
  • (1984) The most awarded and nominated artist in a single year: more than 50 certifications;
  • (1984) The most Grammy awards and nominations for an artist in a single year: 8 and 12 respectively;
  • (1983) The most Billboard awards won by an artist in a single year: 13;
  • (1984) The most American Music Awards won by an artist in a single year: 8;
  • (1996) The most World Music Awards won by an artist in a single year: 5;
  • (1972) The youngest artist ever to win Billboard awards: at age 13;
  • (1984) The youngest artist to receive the American Music Award of Merit: at age 25;
  • (1984) The first person to receive 2 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: as a member of The Jacksons and as a solo artist;
  • (1984) The first artist/group to receive the NARM Gift Of Music awards for both Best Selling Album and Best Selling Single: for the Thriller album and “Billie Jean” single respectively.

Albums and songs

  • (2009) The biggest selling album of all time: Thriller – an estimated 110 million copies sold;
  • (2009) The biggest selling boxed set/double album of all time: HIStory – Past, Present and Future, Book I – 22 million copies sold;
  • (2009) The biggest selling remix album of all time: Blood On The Dance Floor/HIStory In The Mix – 6 million copies sold;
  • (1991) The fastest selling album of all time: Dangerous – 14 million copies were sold within the first 37 days after the album release;
  • (1995) The fastest selling box set/double album of all time: HIStory – Past, Present and Future, Book I – 7.5 million copies were sold within the first 37 days;
  • (1997) The fastest selling remix album of all time: Blood On The Dance Floor/HIStory In The Mix – 2.5 million copies were sold within the first 37 days;
  • (2000) The biggest selling international album of all time: Thriller – 27 million copies sold internationally. The second biggest selling international album is Dangerous with 20 million copies in international sales;
  • (1987) The biggest number of countries where an album reached #1: 25 countries – Bad;
  • (1994, 1999) The most records sold during an album promo campaign ever: During the Dangerous campaign, Michael sold 57 million records: 40 million albums and 17 million singles; the record was surpassed later with HIStory campaign that sold 65 million records: 54 million albums and 11 million singles;
  • (1999) The biggest music industry project of all time: HIStory – Past, Present and Future – Book I brought about $1.1 billion to music industry;
  • (1995) The most expensive album promo campaign in history: HIStory – Past, Present and Future, Book I – Sony reportedly spend $ 40 million on the promotion of the album;
  • (1995) The most expensive album cover of all time: HIStory – Past, Present and Future, Book I – $1 million;
  • (2000) The biggest selling male solo album of the 90s: Dangerous – 26 million copies sold;
  • (2000) The biggest selling international album of the 90s: Dangerous – 20 million copies in international sales;
  • (1990) The biggest selling album of the 80s: Thriller – 52 million copies sold. The second biggest selling album of the 80s is Bad with 26 million copies sold;
  • (2000) The best selling song of all time: “Billie Jean” – 70 million copies sold;
  • (2000) The best selling rock song of all time: “Beat It” – 69 million copies sold. The second best selling rock song is “Black Or White” – 47 million copies sold.

Films

  • (1986) The most expensive video/movie per minute in history: “Captain EO” – $30 million for the 17-minute film;
  • (1996) The two most expensive videos of all time: “Ghosts” – undisclosed figure, and “Scream” – around $7 million;
  • (1991) The biggest audience ever to watch a music video: “Black Or White” – around 500 million during its first worldwide broadcast on November 11, 1991. The video was simultaneously shown in 27 countries;
  • (1990) The two best-selling VHS music videos ever released: “Moonwalker” – 2 million copies by 1990, and “The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller” – 1 million copies by 1985;
  • (1992) The most frequent airplay of a music video on MTV (in the USA): “Black Or White”;
  • (2009) The top-grossing concert film of all time: “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” – earned over $260 million worldwide. It also set a record for concert films with $103.9 million in worldwide ticket sales in its first five days of showing.

Live performances

  • (2000) The most popular performer of all time: more than 17 million people attended his concerts;
  • (1993) The biggest TV audience of all time: US Super Bowl XXVII halftime performance – 133.4 million viewers.
  • (1993) The biggest charity tour of all time: the Dangerous World Tour – 3.5 million attendance raised $70 million for charity;
  • (1992) The biggest cable TV audience of all time: approximately 250 million – for the Dangerous World Tour concert in Bucharest aired on HBO;
  • (1992) The highest-priced concert recording of all time: the Dangerous World Tour concert in Bucharest – the rights to the recording bought for $20 million by HBO;
  • (1997) The biggest artist/group tour of all time: HIStory World Tour attended by 4.5 million people. The previous record was also held by Jackson with the Bad World Tour attended by 4.4 million people;
  • (1989) The highest grossing tour of all time: the Bad World Tour – grossed $125 million. This record was later broken by the Dangerous World Tour (1992–1993) and later broken again by the HIStory World Tour (1996–1997);
  • (1988) The most successful series of concerts at a single venue: 7 Bad World Tour concerts at Wembley Stadium, London attended by 504,000 people.

Chart positions

  • (1995) The biggest number of countries where an album reached #1: more than 25 countries for Bad, Dangerous and HIStory – Past, Present and Future, Book I;
  • (1991) The only artist to have #1 hits on the US Billboard chart for four consecutive decades;
  • (1995) The longest span between the first and the last #1 hit in the career of a solo artist: 22 years and 11 months (from “Ben” in October 1972 to “You Are Not Alone” in September 1995);
  • (1995) The highest debut on the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Charts: “You Are Not Alone” – at #1. The second highest debut was “Scream” that debuted at #5;
  • (1987) The highest quantity of #1 consecutive hits on the US Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart: 6 (singles form the Bad album lead by “We are The World”);
  • (1969) The youngest voice to be on a #1 hit in the USA: “I Want You Back”, a Jackson 5 song. Michael was 11 years old;
  • (1971) The first artist/group to have four consecutive #1 hits in the USA: Jackson 5 (“I Want You Back”, “ABC”, “The Love you Save” and “I’ll Be There”);
  • (1983) The first song/single in history to be #1 on the US Billboard’s Rock Albums, Rock Singles, R&B Albums and R&B Singles charts simultaneously: “Billie Jean”;
  • (1983) The most songs of an artist to be in the Top Ten of the US Billboard Singles chart in a single year: 7 songs – “The Girl Is Mine”, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”, “Human Nature”, “P.Y.T”, and “Say, Say, Say”;
  • (1984) The first and only album in history to start and end the year at #1 on the US Billboard Album chart: “Thriller”;
  • (1990) The most #1 hits by an artist in the ’80s: 10;
  • (1988) The longest time period in history that an album spent in the Top Five of the US Billboard Pop Album chart in history: Bad – 38 weeks;
  • (1983) The first album in history to be #1 on the charts in the USA and Great Britain simultaneously: Thriller;
  • (1988) The first artist to have four #1 singles from one album: (“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man In The Mirror”).

Business deals

  • (1991) The biggest entertainment contract in history: $890 million – a 15-year contract for six albums and films between MJJ Productions/Mijac Music/MJJ Ventures/Optimum Production and Epic Records Group/Sony Music Entertainment/Sony Corporation [Japan]/Warner Timerlane/Warner Chappell);
  • (1995) The biggest music publishing deal ever: merging of Michael Jackson’s ATV Publishing and Sony Publishing in Sony/ATV Publishing with equal share and total value of up to $1 billion. Michael Jackson was paid $110 million for this transaction;
  • (1988) The highest-paid commercial spokesperson ever: Pepsi Cola paid Michael $12 million for 4 TV commercials;
  • (1988) The most expensive rights in book publishing: $5-15 million – from Doubleday Publishing;
  • (1986) The biggest artist/group’s advertising contract: LA Gear – $20 million;
  • (1989) Highest-paid entertainer of the year by “Forbes” magazine: estimated earnings of $125 million;
  • (1992) The most expensive sponsored project of all time: Dangerous World Tour for Pepsi Co. – $12 million. Bad World Tour was the second most expensive project and cost Pepsi Co. $10 million.

Charitable activity

  • (2000) The biggest philanthropist among entertainers/artists/groups/sportsmen: more than $200 million raised from Michael Jackson’s solo projects (excluding collaborative projects);
  • (1985) The biggest charity act in entertainment: “We Are The World” raised $67 million;
  • (1997) The second biggest charity act in entertainment: two-disc boxed set “Diana Tribute” raised $84 million. Michael Jackson contributed song “Gone Too Soon” for the boxed set;
  • (1993) The third biggest charity act in entertainment: estimated $70 million of net income from the Dangerous World Tour;
  • (2000) The largest number of charities supported by a pop singer: Michael Jackson at one time supported 39 charity organizations either by donations or by participating in their anonymous auctions. Amongst these organizations are: AIDS Project L.A., American Cancer Society, BMI Foundation, Inc., Childhelp USA, United Negro College Fund (UNCF), YMCA – 28th Street/Crenshaw, The Sickle Cell Research Foundation and Volunteers of America.

Records of record-breaking

  • (2000) The most records ever achieved by a single person: about 80 global records and hundreds of local records (most of them are not listed here);
  • (2000) The biggest number of mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records in a single year: 10 records in the 2000/Millenium Edition.

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