Michael Jackson’s Explosion Injury Left Him Sporting Wigs for Life

One of the most well-known musicians and celebrity figures in the history of entertainment is the enigmatic Michael Jackson. The controversial singer is responsible for many of the highest-grossing albums and singles of all-time, and he is considered as one of the best pop singers and dancers of all-time. Jackson’s high-profile status made him an extremely desirable option for companies looking for celebrity endorsement. One of Jackson’s most well-known endorsements was for Pepsi. Jackson was able to add to his massive wealth with the various soda advertisements, but one commercial shoot resulted in an injury that marked the entertainer for the rest of his life. 

Michael Jackson on stage, head turned, with his mouth open
Michael Jackson | Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Who is Michael Jackson? 

The pop megastar got his start in the music industry as a member of the group The Jackson 5, which consisted of Michael and his brothers Jackie, Marlon, Tito, and Jermaine with appearances by their sisters LaToya and Janet. The group was active while the Jackson siblings were teenagers. The Jackson 5 were extremely popular and even had their own television program, appropriately named The Jacksons. The group of brother and sister entertainers was originally managed by their father Joe Jackson. Joe Jackson was later accused of physical and emotional abuse of his children. Eventually, the group members split off to begin their own careers, some as singers and celebrities.

Michael, Janet, and LaToya had massively successful careers as solo artists following the group’s breakup. Michael’s career was perhaps the most successful, as his many hit albums and songs earned him the moniker ‘The King of Pop.’ Some of his biggest hits include popular songs “Thriller,” “Beat It,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Billie Jean,” among many others. These hits helped Jackson win 13 Grammy Awards in his long and productive career. Jackson was so popular he nearly starred in a Star Wars movie with fellow musician Tupac. Jackson was also a highly desirable celebrity endorsement for many well-known companies. 

Jackson’s Pepsi commercial accident 

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Jackson was a spokesperson for a variety of major companies and appeared in many commercials to promote them. His status as a celebrity in the 1980s and into the 1990s and 2000s was almost unparalleled, and many large companies wanted to use Jackson to endorse their products and services. These companies included well-known businesses including Sony, Suzuki, California Raisins, and others. Jackson’s made many commercial appearances, but perhaps the memorable series of appearances was in a series of Pepsi advertisements. One of the Pepsi commercials resulted in a dangerous accident, which left Jackson scarred for the rest of his life. The accident happened during a commercial shoot in January 1984. The commercial involved Jackson performing on a stage that was surrounded by fireworks. Jackson’s jacket and hair caught fire after the Grammy-winner danced toward the pyrotechnics, which resulted in second-degree burns on Jackson’s head and scalp. 

How Jackson’s accident impacted the rest of his life 

Following the accident, the singer was forced to wear a wig due to scarring from his burns. Known for his interesting cosmetic choices, Jackson had no issue wearing a wig throughout the rest of his life. Jackson was physically scarred, but always had a positive attitude about the accident. According to a 1984 New York Daily News article about the accident, Jackson was smiling during his ambulance ride while he was being transported to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Part of the reason Jackson may have been so chipper about his burns is the $10 million that was standard for the artist to receive for an advertisement. Jackson of course went on to have huge success in the music industry following the event, releasing many iconic albums and songs. Jackson died as a result of cardiac arrest in 2009, at the age of 50.