His mother was a Jehovah's Witness and his father a former boxer-turned-steelworker who played guitar on the side.
Harboring aspirations of musical stardom, Joe shepherded his sons into a musical act around 1962.
Despite its success, Jackson believed Off the Wall was pigeonholed as an R&B record.
Determined to break through this glass ceiling, he reunited with Jones to create Thriller, the 1982 album that shattered every music record on the books.
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.
Two more hits followed --" ABC" and "The Love You Save," both exuberant bubblegum soul -- before "I'll Be There" revealed Michael's facility with ballads.
All this was preamble to Off the Wall, the 1979 album that definitively established Michael Jackson as a force of his own.
Collaborating with producer Jones and songwriter Rod Temperton, Jackson consciously attempted to appeal to multiple audiences with Off the Wall, turning the album into a dazzling showcase of all his different sounds and skills.
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.
After Triumph, Jackson reunited with producer Jones and songwriter Temperton to create the sequel to Off the Wall, crafting a record that deliberately hit every mark in the musical mainstream.
Paul Mc Cartney was brought in to underscore Michael's soft rock leanings, Eddie Van Halen pushed Jackson into metallic hard rock, and the remainder of the album glided from disco to pop to soul in an effortless display of his range.
Jackson parted ways with Jones for 1991's Dangerous, another global blockbuster.
HIStory, a 1995 double-disc set that paired a disc of hits with a new album, produced a couple of international number one singles.