Back in 2007, while Michael Jackson considered his own legacy, the King of Pop stated: “Music has been my outlet, my gift to all of the lovers in this world. Through it, my music, I know I will live forever.”
Although only time will tell if this statement was accurate, there seems to be little chance of Michael Jackson disappearing from popular culture anytime soon. During his lifetime, Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards, sold 750 million records, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on two separate occasions and was ultimately named the most successful entertainer of all time by The Guinness Book of World Records. He was undeniably the subject of global fame on a level that may never be equalled.
Since his untimely death in 2009, there have been a number of tributes dedicated to Jackson by his fans. These include a number of biographies such as Michael Heatley’s Life of a Legend and King of Pop by Emily Herbert. Although if you wish to delve into a reliable, solid biography about Michael Jackson’s life then J Randy Taraborrelli’s 1991 release The Magic and the Madness still remains a favorite.
Even more modern establishments continue to adopt Michael Jackson’s legacy. For example, there’s the Michael Jackson King of Pop slot, a five-reel game featuring MJ himself as well as his iconic trilby and sunglasses as symbols, all while his most famous songs play in the background. Fans of MJ can find this title on specific sites such as Fabulous Bingo, home to a number of slot games with a musical theme like Britain’s Got Talent.
As technology continues to develop, it will be very interesting to see if fans of the King of Pop will continue to create media centered on him. Will Jackson have his own virtual reality game or will holograms continue to do concerts for fans of the deceased superstar?
The Next Generations of Pop
Of course, MJ’s legacy stretches far beyond media platforms, as the King of Pop is also recognised as an influence by a plethora of other music stars. Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Madonna, Lady Gaga and a number of other artists have all named Michael as one of their main influences. You can see his influence in the way Bruno Mars sings, in the way Justin Timberlake dances, in what Madonna wears and in the themes behind many of Lady GaGa’s songs. In fact, you could say that the success of these artists implies that we as consumers are eager to embrace the Michael Jackson of the new generation. For as long as these artists continue to make music, tour the world and create content inspired by the King of Pop, Jackson’s legacy will continue to live on.
Even for those that do not consider Jackson to be an influence, surely his level of fame is something they aspire to. After all, these days it is not difficult to be well known, but it is more difficult than ever to be well liked and Jackson was well and truly loved by billions of people around the globe.
The Privacy Problem
Unfortunately, not all of Michael Jackson’s influence on popular culture has been positive. While individuals in the spotlight have been demonized in different ways throughout history, few attracted as much global concern and criticism as Jackson. His eccentric behaviour and the media’s obsession with covering it led to a complete overhaul of privacy and the boundaries between the famous and the media. Still, Jackson was never quiet about his disdain for the paparazzi as you can see in the song Leave Me Alone above.
These days, there is an almost constant stream of news covering celebrities, with some even recreating Jackson’s most famous stunts. You may remember Justin Bieber had a monkey for a little while, possibly paying homage to Jackson’s love for his pet chimp. Even Bieber, though, has not managed to penetrate the media as pervasively as Jackson did, and it seems that there will never be another superstar who will rock the world with their scandals quite like Jackson did.
For now, Michael Jackson continues to live on through his fans and his music, and while he himself may be lost to the flow of time, his influence will not be forgotten.