Saturday, June 27, 2009


Almost immediately upon the announcement of the death of Michael Jackson the comparisons began between the King of Pop and the King of Rock and Roll. But how deep do the comparisons go?

Elvis died at the age of 42 of cardiac arrest at his home. Sound familiar?
Elvis had a history of abusing prescription drugs including pain killers? Sound familiar?
Elvis was surrounded for the most part by yes-men, people who told him whatever they thought he wanted to hear rather than what he needed to hear? Sound familiar?
Elvis died in debt. He spent more money than he earned? Sound Familiar?
Elvis was scheduled to launch a new tour when he passed. Sound Familiar?
Elvis was pronounced dead at 3:30 PM. Sound familiar?
Elvis left a nine year old daughter behind. Sound familiar?

The similarities don't stop there. Elvis unquestionably changed the face of music forever. R&B had been around for years, but Elvis did something a little different with it. Raised on gospel and country music, he combined the influences of all three styles to create a unique sound. Michael Jackson was also a musical genius. His early albums, especially "Thriller", raised the bar for popular music and set a benchmark for all popular music to follow. Not since the Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album or the Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" album, has popular music been so influence.

Neither Michael Jackson nor Elvis Presley were at their peak physical condition. Elvis was overweight and severely out of shape. Now reports are surfacing that Michael Jackson was not in the best of health at the time.

There were so many parallels in the lives of these two legends its almost creepy. The mobs of fans and the worldwide outpouring of grief for Michael Jackson is something that has not been seen since the death of the King of Rock and Roll. Yes, even in death the similarities continue. This will be interesting and most probably sad to see the Michael Jackson saga unfold. Rumors and speculation will fly, just as they did with Elvis. People will come out of the woodwork to try to smear his image, just as they did with Elvis. But most importantly, the gift of genius that Michael Jackson gave the world will never be lost, just like Elvis.

There are countless rock and pop stars out there. Many of them are extremely talented and will have very long careers, but very few of them can be considered legends. Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Elton John, the Beatles, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner... these are just a few undeniable legends and a status not to be taken lightly.

When I first heard of Jackson's death the first person I thought of was Wolf Hudson. Knowing what a tremendous fan he is of Michael Jackson, I could only imagine the pain he was in. Later that night I was chatting with my friend, Jeremy Feist. He asked, "Is it weird that the first person I thought of was Wolf Hudson?" It was strange that we both had the same reaction. I assured him that there was nothing strange about that at all. It just showed our compassion to someone that we both admire and sympathized with his grief.

The first album I ever owned was "Thriller." I can still remember listening to it over and over and over, nonstop. My parents would have to take it from me at night so I would go to sleep. His mark on the music industry will live on forever just as Elvis' legacy will live on forever. The parallels are astounding. Perhaps there is a pattern to true genius. Whatever the the case, both Jackson and Presley will always have a place in the annals of pop culture and the hearts of their fans forever.

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