His voice may have launched his career, but it was his moves that made him legend.
"Michael was the most influential dancer of all time," said Sia Michel, a writer with the New York Times.
No other single artist has merged dance with music quite like Michael Jackson, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.
His cross-over appeal so complete, even Hollywood took note.
But it's on stage, and in music videos where Michael made history.
R&B singer Usher says he grew up studying Michael.
"You can't say you're an artist in this century and was not influence by Michael," Usher said.
For three decades the King of Pop influences today's biggest stars.
From Justin Timberlake, to Beyonce, to Rihanna to Kayne West.
In every performance, you can pick out a Jackson technique. As a kid, Jackson clearly mimicked James Brown, but he has known to have studied everything from street break dancing to Broadway musicals.
Former Alvin Ailey Desmond Richardson danced with Jackson in the "Bad" and Dangerous music videos. He said Jackson worked tirelessly on every dance step.
"Where he threw his hat, that to me was immense, because it was part of Bob Fosse," Richardson said.
"Was he a natual?" Michelle Miller asked.
"Absolutely, I believe that Michael was a natural. Also, I was mesmerized that he could remember movement like he did and he could articulate movement like he did without having formal training," Richardson said.
Who needed it? He had imitators, but two generations of performers agree, no one did it better than Michael.
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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