They shared more than a close connection to Lisa Marie. Parallels in life and death abound between Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. One was the King of Rock, the other the King of Pop. Both had a profound, deep and lasting affect on the music scene. Both struggled with self image, relationships and health. Both were talented on a level that few can comprehend, yet hid a flipside of “mad” genius. Both died tragically young.
Just as Elvis stormed the music scene in the ’50s, Michael ruled the ’80s. Elvis shocked with the “hip thrust”, Michael wowed with the Moonwalk. When Elvis died tragically in 1977, Michael Jackson began his ascent. He used MTV, revoluntionary dance videos and ground-breaking R&B that changed the genre forever.
I was 13 when Elvis died. It was shocking and profoundly sad. Such a waste of a talent whose star was quenched much too soon. I was aptly affected. While I loved Elvis in the movies and all of his old music, I was also deeply entrenched in The Jackson 5 and knew every word to Rockin’ Robin, I’ll Be There, One Bad Apple, Easy as ABC, Ben and countless others.
I Want You Back
When he went solo in ’79, I wore out Off the Wall.
Workin’ Day & Night
Then came the pivotal Thriller, that catapulted Michael to unfathomable fame…
Then, things started to get really weird. Dozens of plastic surgeries, skin lightening, dalliances with young boys, a sham marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, Neverland Ranch, children with another sham wife, veils and balcony dangling…it never seemed to end.
After losing everything and a brief exile to Bahrain, Michael was reportedly rehearsing heavily for his greatest comeback tour in Europe. While many will refuse to recognize his genius because of his controversial private life — and maybe justifiably — his musical imprint is wide and long. There is no denying that.
At 44, the familar feeling of loss of such a large cultural figure that was so integral to my generation is painfully reminiscient of that awful summer 32 years ago when another king departed much too soon.
Perhaps Michael will finally accept The Man in the Mirror.