Gary, Indiana is where it started. A blue collar town in the shadow of steel mills.
In a small neighborhood, a modest one-story home where hundreds came today. It's a place where someone special was born, reports CBS News correspondent Terrell Brown.
"I loved Michael Jackson ... I wanted to meet him,'' said one tearful little girl.
Everyone with a memory of their own.
"They would practice at night in the house. You'd walk by and hear the drums and things ... Yeah,'' said Mable Moore.
Mable Moore, now 83, remembers when Michael and his brothers first went public, performing in local bars.
"People would just throw money over there while they were dancing and singing and playing the music."
After countless auditions and talent show competitions, the Jackson 5 finally cut a record -- produced by Gordon Keith.
"When he started to sing ... You talking about a kid that had great grown-up voice control ok," said Keith.
Gladys Johnson was Michael's principal at his elementary school. She watched the young performer juggle music and math -- without much success.
"I'm Michael Jackson, he would say. I'm Michael Jackson of the Jackson 5," said Johnson. "He didn't need to learn those number facts. ... his manager would count his money."
The Jackson's audition tape moved them from their milltown to Motown. Jackson left Gary in 1969, and seldom returned home. His last visit was in 2003, when he was given a key to the city.
"It's a wonderful feeling. Great to be home," he said in 2003.
Janine Bray grew up across the street from the Jacksons. She said her favorite memory was "giving Michael and Marlon candy and gum so they would sing for me."
She remembers Michael and his family toiling in their basement. Something Michael also never forgot.
"In Gary, I sang in public for the first time, it was the first time I danced with joy," said Michael during his return there. "Gary will always be close to my heart."
And Jackson will always be close to theirs.
More Michael Jackson coverage:
Quincy Jones: "I Miss My Little Brother"
Motown's Gordy On Discovering Jackson
Gary, Indiana Mourns Hometown Star
The Man With The Moves
King Of Pop Lived In Luxury, Died In Debt
Coroner: Cause Of Jackson Death Deffered
911 Caller: Jackson "Not Breathing"
KHOU: Texas MD With Jackson Amid Collapse
A Collection Of CBS Videos Of Michael Jackson
The Death Of Michael Jackson, Full Coverage