Beyonce the new Michael Jackson? Not a chance!

March 17, 2010 § 25 Comments

There is no doubt that Beyonce is supremely talented but the comparisons to Michael Jackson are premature. She is probably the best all rounder at the moment. She sings well, great performer, videos that consume popular culture and the works. She’s the total package. I am almost certain that there is no artist living that devotes as much time to perfecting their craft as much as she does. That was also MJ’s trick. He worked harder than anyone else, even when he no longer needed to.

But let’s get serious she’s no Michael Jackson. No one deserves the throne right now. She is not worthy. No one is. She is probably the closet thing to him at the moment. But 10 steps below – there lies her throne. Even that is debatable because others will ask what about Madonna, Britney, Justine, Gaga and more. No one debated whether MJ was king when he was Beyonce’s age.

When Michael Jackson walked into a room full of movie stars and musicians, they screamed. He is the only one whose groupies included celebrities. What has Beyonce contributed compared to MJ? Allow me to list just a portion of Michael Jackson’s contribution to music by the time he was Beyonce’s age:

1: The industry was a singles dominated industry when Thriller was released, after the success of the album everyone else suddenly realised the significance of albums. He transformed how the industry did business.

2:  MTV wouldn’t play black artists. After seeing the videos that MJ had produced, his record company called up MTV, told them that if they don’t play his songs they would remove all their artists from the channel. Thriller, Beat it and Bellie Jean became the channel’s most request music videos and the popularity of MTV exploded as a result. Michael Jackson made the channel; which is why MTV has an award named after him. He put blacks on MTV too. He was still 25.

3: In 1987 the Bad tour started and ended in 1989. The concerts were attended by more than four million people. It was the most successful in history. He reinvented concerts, they were no longer just musicians performing songs, he made them theatre.

5: Within a year of its release, Thriller became the biggest selling album in history.

6: The Thriller music video is preserved by the US Congress, it is deemed as “culturally significant” because it was the first music video that treated music video as an art form.
7: Thriller sold more than 110 million copies. That is a single album. It’s the biggest selling album of all time. All time. Four of his other albums rank among the world’s best-sellers.

8: Before MJ artists never paid attention to music video making. He turned them to an art form that has a story with a beginning, a middle and an ending. To this day music videos are done the same way he innovated. When his music videos premiered they became an international event. Beyonce, Usher, Justince Timberlake, Britney, Lady Gaga and many others are basically doing what he did, albeit, not as well because he was the original.

Time Magazine described Jackson’s influence in a 1984 as a “Star of records, radio, rock video. A one-man rescue team for the music business. A songwriter who sets the beat for a decade. A dancer with the fanciest feet on the street. A singer who cuts across all boundaries of taste and style and colour too.”

Jackson had created a pivotal turning point in the history of popular music “in that [his performance] marked the shift of emphasis from musical performance to visual presentation.

All this was by the time he was Beyonce’s age. Considering his achievements, Beyonce doesn’t deserve to sit on the throne. No one can claim the right to sit on it just yet.

I have not even factored in his achievements later on.
So, what has Beyonce innovated that she deserves to be on the throne? No way. She is on a throne somewhere below but no one sits on the throne of MJ.

I’ll leave you with this video by George Carlin, the late great American comedian on Michael Jackson

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§ 25 Responses to Beyonce the new Michael Jackson? Not a chance!

  • jossieu says:

    Yes, Beyonce is popular, and started the Bootylicious & Single Ladies dance…but that does not make her a Michael Jackson….far from it.

    She must be in this industry, and be able to peak, for at least two decades, before she can be compared to the King of Pop.

  • Zaza says:

    Thank you for such an insightful, thought provoking context of this -not-sure-what-to-call-it—madness. Of course praying mostly for “B’s sits on MJ’s throne” stunt originator/s to respond too. Not that I think they didn’t know, but they sure had to hear it somewhere… and miss B too :o)…

    Where i’m sitting it seems more of a publicity stunt from B’s people who are desperately trying to steal the sun when not even a candle is due –well 2 any1 as yet. (I’m suspecting it was brainstormed over a glass table pool of ‘morphine’ too -lol!). It’s amazing what other silly cd sales’ strategies turn out 2 be… I will not even waste any of yours and reader’s time by stating the rather too obvious facts supporting ur article, coz in all honesty, you’ve said it all -and well. Another is that attempting the unattemptable has never really been my style (hint: stealing the sun when not even a candle is due :op)… So i’ll let your words speak for me and all who support them…

    Thanx again for this ‘Thriller’ing ep… :o)(o:

  • Buzwe says:

    This is not right. This is not necessary at all. everyone knows the Michael jackson had no competishhh during his time.

    The discussion is almost pointless. Its like comparing the young Obama to the Old Mandela.

    and people should stop comparing too much, especial our kind. no one works hard to be someone else.

    Beyonce not a Michael Jackson.

    • Grace says:

      Well said. I believe MJ did have competition, but he shattered it. I mean, come on, Prince, Madonna, Tina Turner and all those rock bands at their height. If that’s not competition then I don’t know what is. But, MJ was just a different breed. His music came from another world. Just think about it. He was always talking about magic, peter pan, fantasy. When your mind is constantly in that kind of mode, what do you think will come from that foundation? Michael was paying attention to things that other people overlooked like the fact that no one was really integrating different dance styles or using cinematic features for music videos. That was a very huge unfulfilled niche and he capitalized on that big time. Then add to the fact that he was a great dancer, singer, entertainer. You’ve got yourself the world’s greatest star. That is the difference between MJ and all of these new music stars today. They haven’t found that missing element. They’re still trying to do MJ instead of doing them. For that reason alone, Beyonce, Usher, Lady gaga, or any other artist will never achieve a fraction of what Michael did, because they are not looking for it.

  • kalliebree says:

    Thank You!!! For speaking some truth to these people with no context for music history. Even if B were to over shadow MJ in the future, think about how the internet and globalisation has changed the way music and products are disseminated to the masses. MJ accomplished global celebrity before the internet and before the fine tuned onslaught of global mass marketing. You could even say that MJ created the environment for the global mass marketing of music.

    Oh yeah… you left out one thing…MJ broke the INTERNET!!! Literally.Period.

    • Khaya Dlanga says:

      Yes he broke it, but I was just mentioning his accomplishments by the time he was Beyonce’s age. I didn’t want to compare his life time achievements. He has also sold 31 million albums since his death. More than any living or dead artist.

    • Grace says:

      You are so right. Beyonce will never overshadow MJ. He reached a level that very few people reach, let alone music stars. Beyonce is not even that great of an artist. She’s an excellent entertainer, but that’s where it ends. Thanks for your insights.

  • MJ can never be touched, so I feel you on this blog. We should take into consideration that MJ came out when vinyl was in full effect. Many people who bought Thriller had to buy more than one copy as vinyal becomes scratched after continous play. In this era of bootlegging, no artist no matter how popular could ever hope to reach MJ’s sales figures.Tight post Khaya!!!

  • Diasporique says:

    I can’t even believe anyone would compare the two.

    By the way, she could walk through Europe and many people would not know who she is (especially where I live). But if MJ walked through here?? It would be mass hysteria.

    Even in spite of that fact, the two are simply NOT comparable. I’m no MJ fan, but I can’t even see how anyone would think the two are comparable. Strange.

  • […] Africa if I may say that) have written a very straight forward article with the headline “Beyonce the new Michael Jackson? Not a chance!” You can read it […]

  • Lady gaga song is so good quality, i enjoy every of them.

  • lolo says:

    lady gaga video with beyonce telephone is just pure rubbish and other people are calling it the new thriller whiich is an insult to Michael Jackson. Beyonce album sales are mediocre compared to MJ. Beyonce is not a true artist big thighs, raunchy dance moves and skimpy trashy outfits. Beyonce is so overrated even Lauryn Hill beats her on album sales Miseducation alone has sold over 22 million (according to the Rolling Stone August 2008 MOLH album commemoration interview with Commissioner Gordon Miseducation Music Engineer). The Unplugged album that people hated sold more than 4 million copies. Most artists that are currently dominating the industry they even struggle to reach 2 million sales even though they are over hyped. The Fugees Score is the best hip hip album in music history over 22 million copies sold. Beyonce Solo Projects Dangerously in love 11 million, BDay 6 million copies, Sasha Fierce 7 million. I wish Lauryn Hill would have stayed longer, if she was still current people would not even care about beyonce because Lauryn made classic meaningful music.

  • shaun says:

    guys next time when you have opinions on something make sure that you do nt put ur immotions on it everybody knows that mj is untouchable even beyonce herself knows that bt this si the 21st century things change so as the throne somebody else needs to take the light to the next generation just like history ok so whomever said beyonce was the next big thing was right in the 21st century beyonce gisselle knowles is the music industry cause u know why she wrks for her recognition unlike some artists i know

    • Grace says:

      Just because she works hard and outshines all the other mediocre talent doesn’t mean that she is the music industry. That’s pretty stupid to say. She’s made a name for herself and solidified her place in music history, but she, my dear, is not the music industry. It takes a team. There is no “I” in team. And hell no, she is not representative of the next generation. Most people in the world don’t even know who she is and she has not done anything worthy of the respect and loyalty MJ received when he was at his peak. If you think she is that famous, you’re not living in reality.

  • Darslow says:

    I think people are just overly emotional in conjuction with being completely oblivious to the fact that musical history will show you who the best artist/singer is. Back when MJ was 12 years old, he had the world in his hands. Let’s not even mention how much he had the people of the world on their knees by the time he was 25. People were fainting, running on stage, and crying emphatically at his concerts. Beyonce cannot even imagine thiat kind of success. And if all she has sold is 24 million albums of all three of her solo efforts, then why are we even having this conversation? Too many people are drinking “spiked” Beyonce coolaid if they think she has any chance of surpassing the truly original and innovative works of Michael Jackson. Who (besides MJ) has ever appeared on stage with a single spotlight, a drumbeat, and mesmerized millions of people in minutes. Don’t tell me Beyonce has that effect. Michael Jackson was, until his death, the most famous human being on the planet. He has a guinness book record stating such. I guarantee you Beyonce can walk outside, go to the grocery store, and drive her own car without stopping traffic or causing mass hysteria. Could Michael Jackson do that? Absolutely not. If anything, Beyonce should be thankful that she is not as famous as MJ. That kind of life would be a living hell.

  • Darslow says:

    Furthermore, how can people say that she is innovative and original when all she ever does is copy other people. I agree that she works hard than any other artist in the business, but that is not going to get her to where MJ was. Michael was truly gifted. He seemed to have a mind and personality that was unorthodox, which potentially inspired some of the most creative and inspirational art in history. Beyonce may have many awards and she may be quite popular for now, but only a true legend like MJ can hold the title as “King of Entertainment.” Beyonce is no where close. I agree with the person who stated that MJ had no competion, even though artists back in those days were far more superior than the artists we have today. Prince was about a close as it got as far as competition. MJ’s idols were singing his songs (see Sammy Davis Jr. performing Bad), inviting him on stage to sing and dance to their songs because they knew that this man was out of this world. I don’t see how people can even think that Beyonce compares to MJ. Not only could Michael sing, dance, act, and create new artforms, but he also wrote many songs about world peace, hunger, and healing the world. What classic songs does Beyonce have? Does she even write any of her songs besides Bootylicious and independent women? If i had to choose between Halo and Heal the World, I think my choice would be obvious (HTW). This is like comparing moderately known civil rights activist (John Lewis) to Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • I will miss Michael much. I wish he would have lived longer.

  • Beyonce is sexy! Did anyone see the photos of her at the endorsments she did for Pepsi and Tommy Hilfiger. She was looking so eye catching.

  • Zikk23 says:

    DUMB people. You just say this now because his dead. When he was still living did any of you cared to speak about him? Did any of you tried to buy his singles at the time he’s deluged with pedophile controversies? NO. Just now you realize, “Oh, he’s dead, I should buy his things to remember him” some even say “OMG he’s dead. I should write something about him because he’s hot on the net now.” All of you are just stupid and can’t let go of the past. We are in new generation now, how old are you, like 40? this new era of music wants artists like Beyonce, GaGa, Britney, and your blog posts or stupid comments can do nothing about it. Either you accept the fact or go to another world where MJ is there.

  • Darslow says:

    To be honest with you, at the rate the music industry is going, I wish I could escape to where MJ is. I have one word for today’s music “Garbage.” Who in their right minds would think that Beyonce, Britney, Usher, or Gaga are the greatest superstars on earth. Have you seriously listened to their music? Most of their entire albums are about self-aggrandizement, egocentricity, vain desires, and selfish motivation. Why the hell would I want to listen to that. There’s a lot of classic music to still enjoy while we let this unfortunate storm in the music industry pass. Beyonce is horrible! I don’t care how many high notes she can hit.

  • With all due respect to MJ, if I were Beyonce I wouldn’t want to be compared to MJ……she’s got her own thing going, and she’s good at it. Will she ever reach the same popularity levels as MJ? Nope, but that’s OK.

  • la says:

    you cant compare anyone to MJ
    gaga is the most similar thing to him right now
    and beyonce is too
    beyonce does it differently and so does gaga but i see lady gaga being like MJ
    beyonce and gaga will NEVER be as popular as MJ though

  • Grace says:

    Like George Carlin said about Elvis “He never grew as an artist, he just remained an entertainer.” That’s how I feel about Beyonce. Seriously, when was last time she did anything new. MJ mesmerized with each new album. I don’t ever envision her being named the greatest entertainer who ever lived.

  • sandy says:

    I’m so glad that everbody feels the same way about this. cause this is going too far. what the hell are they thinking.

  • S H says:

    MJ always the greatest and always will be….even my kids think so.

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