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