Early Solo Work

A Star On His Own Too

As time progressed, Michael Jackson became the main attraction of The Jackson Five. After extensive touring and recording, young Michael was hailed as a prodigy by many, and many saw Michael's early solo work to begin. In fact, in 1971, at the age of 13, Michael Jackson's solo work began. He released a number of highly successful solo tracks as the product of lucrative marketing and songwriting by Motown Records executives. These early solo’s would pave the way for Michael’s Solo Career and Thriller, as well as Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall tour. Some of Michael's solo work included “Got to Be There,” a cover of “Rockin’ Robin,” and “Ben,” the theme music of the 1972 movie with the same name. His managers, including parents Joe and Katherine, and Motown supervisors, largely controlled his work. The lack of creative control seen by Michael and The Jackson Five was the main reason for their split from Motown, leading to their eventual downturn in sales.

Although The Jackson Five were in decline after a long and successful run at the soul and pop music business, there was no end in sight to Michael Jackson’s increasing popularity.

Despite his immense public appeal and sales, Michael Jackson was only just beginning to taste fame. Michael Jackson's early solo work did more for him than just generate revenue; it helped the nation grow to love him as a person and a performer. It seemed as though his time in the then fading Jackson Five had been more of a stepping-stone to solo notoriety than anything else. Michael continued making solo albums from his thirteenth until his 17th birthdays, while at the time the Jackson Five were producing their final album and disbanding. It was not until 1977 that Jackson began to develop a new and different facet of his solo career, acting. It was in that year that Michael first took a role as the Scarecrow in the offbeat remake of the Wizard of Oz, titled The Wiz.

From the age of 11 until his unfortunate end, Michael Jackson's solo work was truly his claim to fame.