He's going to be 50 next year - and he wears reading glasses. As he approaches the half-century mark, Michael Jackson is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his album "Thriller," which has sold more than 104 million copies worldwide and is the top-selling album in history according to Guinness World Records. That's just part of the more than 750 million albums he has sold worldwide.
Despite his status as an icon (or perhaps because of it), Jackson's legal battles and speculation about his private life have outweighed any news about his music in recent years.
In his first U.S. magazine interview and cover story in more than a decade, the Grammy-winner told Ebony magazine, that he's "just about wanting to do wonderful music."
Jackson didn't say if and when he'd have a new album coming out, though.
He did talk at length about the making of "Thriller," his unveiling of the moonwalk during the 25th Motown Anniversary Special, and breaking barriers at MTV.
"I'm very proud that we opened doors, that it helped tear down a lot. Going around the world, doing tours, in stadiums, you see the influence of the music," he said. "When you just look out over the stage, as far as the naked eye could see, you see people. And it's a wonderful feeling, but it came with a lot of pain, a lot of pain."
Jackson explained that being a pioneer and "on top of your game" makes artists targets to people that want to "get at them." Still, Jackson said that he's grateful.
"All those record-breaking things, to the biggest albums, to those No. 1's, I still feel grateful," he said.
Looking ahead to the future, Jackson doesn't see himself performing in 30 years.
"The truth is, umm, no. Not the way James Brown did, or Jackie Wilson did, where they just ran it out, they killed themselves. In my opinion, I wish [Brown] would have slowed down and been more relaxed and enjoyed his hard work."
So, what does Jackson think about all the rumors about him?
"I don't pay attention to that. In my opinion, it's ignorance. It's usually not based on fact. It's based on, you know, myth. The guy who you don't get to see. Every neighborhood has the guy who you don't see, so you gossip about him. You see those stories about him, there's the myth that he did this or he did that. People are crazy!"
The interview with Jackson, which includes a photo spread, is featured in the December issue of Ebony, on newsstands Nov. 12.