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Ten years ago today, Michael Jackson passed away. With 13 Grammys, he is one of the biggest selling artists of all time. Songs like “Thriller,” “Beat It” and “Black or White” are considered pop classics. In the decade since his death, his legacy has been met with controversy but you can’t argue with his musical history.

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Michael Jackson is the highest-earning deceased artist. Besting the vaunted Rock and Roll artist Elvis Presley and former Beatles member singer-songwriter John Lennon, Michael Jackson has been recognized by the Guinness Book Of World Records in a new category for Highest-Earning Deceased Artist, gaining the top honor. In the first year after his passing in 2009, Jackson’s estate raked in a reported $1 billion.

In addition, while many viewed Jackson as a boyish and playful figure,  underneath that exterior was the mind of a man who made investments that continue to pay off to this day. In 1985, he wisely purchased the rights to 250 Beatles backlogged songs penned by Lennon and Paul McCartney for $47 million. In 1995, Jackson sold a portion of the catalog to Sony for $95 million, resulting in the powerful joint venture music publishing company Sony/ATV, with annual revenues hovering around $1 billion. This doesn’t include his many endorsement deals, licensing, and other streams of revenue Jackson has generated from his name.

He broke several barriers for Black artists. For example, “Billie Jean” was the first video from a Black artist to air on MTV. It was the second single from Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album, “Thriller,” produced by Jackson and the legendary Quincy Jones, the track got the video treatment and sparked off a revolution of sorts. Fans nationwide would seek to imitate Jackson’s hairstyle and dance moves and the video is considered largely responsible for putting MTV in to the mainstream conversation.

Also, MJ owns the distinction of having the biggest recording contract ever. Nine months after his passing, the estate of Michael Jackson signed a deal with Sony Records that gives the company access to a vast vault of unreleased recordings for a whopping $250 million. In addition, with 23 Guinness World Records, 40 Billboard Awards, 13 Grammys, and 26 American Music Awards, Michael Jackson has won more awards than any other musical artist. Jackson has also received congressional honors for his humanitarian outreach efforts.

MJ was also an introspective man who often talked about life, love, fame and more. check out some of his powerful quotes below.

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