Is Michael Jackson Still the ‘King of Pop?’
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the tragic death of Michael Jackson.
But now, half a decade after the world lost one of the most popular entertainers in history, is it still fair to call Jackson "The King of Pop?"
Getty Images[/caption]"We're still hearing music by major artists at the top of the charts that is shaped by their experience, their love, their reverence for Michael Jackson. So his style and his influence has by no means faded away," Billboard Editor Joe Levy told ABC News Radio. "Calling Michael the King of Pop is a clear reference to Elvis Presley.
"And we could have an argument: Is Elvis Presley still the King? Maybe not. It's been a long time. But Michael? Still the King of Pop."
One reason for this may be that in the years since his death -- and especially since his physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, was convicted and jailed for involuntary manslaughter -- the scandals that surrounded Michael's life have faded somewhat, leaving everyone with memories of what truly matters: the music.
"The tabloid factor has died down just a little bit and the music has come up," Levy said. "I think people will continue to play Michael music around the time of his death. I think they'll continue to play it all year long. ... Whatever you think of Michael, whatever you think of all that attention around that very circus-like life -- the music is something different."
Jackson's fellow artists agree.
"That man has made more of an impact in the music industry than any other artist ever. Period," rapper and actor Ludacris told ABC News Radio.
Asked if Jackson is still the King of Pop, he replies, "One hundred percent."
Comedian and movie star Kevin Hart told ABC News Radio: "Michael Jackson is the greatest entertainer to ever entertain. ... Those coming behind him can only wish to do what he's done and achieve what he's achieved."
"Michael Jackson was just a brilliant soul, this man will forever be missed," Michelle Williams, of Destiny's Child, told ABC News Radio. "He had such an impact on culture, on music, on how people lived." She adds that his passing "broke so many hearts."
Kandi Burruss recalls a special Jackson memory of performing with her group Xscape in front of him at the Essence Awards.
"When we first started singing, I think the music messed up and so we had to start over and that was so embarrassing," said the star of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." "By the time we got into the song, he was standing up on his feet and he was waving his hand from side to side, singing along with us. I was like, 'Oh my God! Michael Jackson was singing our song!' I was going crazy."
While musicians who are Jacksons's artistic heirs -- like Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams -- top the charts, the King of Pop himself continues his hitmaking ways. "Xscape," the most recent posthumous Michael Jackson release, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard album chart. The album's first single, "Love Never Felt So Good," helped Jackson set a chart record: he's now the only artist ever to score top 10 hits in five different decades.
Meanwhile, we're still waiting to see if the eerily realistic hologram of Jackson that performed at last month's Billboard Music Awards will appear elsewhere at some point in the future.
While more posthumous releases are planned, some question whether Jackson, who was 50 years old at his death, would really want these songs to be released.
One music legend who knew Jackson says keep it coming.
"I love it. ... I think if they can put out genuine music that he did back in the day, that he wouldn't be ashamed about being released now, I think it's wonderful," Patti LaBelle told ABC News Radio. "Keep him alive. Elvis was kept alive, and a lot of people see a negative in that, but I don't. If it's in the can, bring it out. Let people hear more of Michael."
"He meant a lot to the world. He is so missed and there will never be another one."
Forbes estimates that since Jackson's death, his estate has earned about $700 million. In fact, Forbes says that when Jackson passed away, he was in financial trouble, and it was only after his death in 2009 that he once again started earning nine-figure sums annually.
Among the things that have fattened his bank balance in the past five years: a new $250 million record deal; the documentary "This Is It," which grossed more than $260 million; two popular Cirque du Soleil shows based on his music; and the 2010 video game, Michael Jackson: The Experience.
-- Erick Oloo, The Touch Radio
Source: The Touch Radio