Michael Jackson is so unmatched that it's hard to imagine him being influenced by anyone. But before he became the king of pop, he was listening to Motown just like everyone else.
Michael looked up to his brother and bandmate Jermaine Jackson during their time in the Jackson 5.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame cites soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone as a precursor to the Jackson 5. Here, Stone makes his first major public appearance in almost 13 years during a tribute to "Sly & The Family Stone" at the 48th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Feb. 8, 2006.
Michael Jackson named James Brown as one of his musical heroes.
Singer Michael Jackson (L) performs with soul singer James Brown before presenting him with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 3rd Annual BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards in Hollywood, June 24, 2003.
Etta James' success in integrating blues, R&B and jazz opened up a new genre that welcomed the Jackson 5.
When Michael Jackson wanted to reinvent his sound, he turned to the mid-'80s and early '90s trend known as New Jack Swing, pioneered by singer Bobby Brown.
It's no surprise that Michael Jackson called energetic performer Little Richard one of his biggest inspirations.