Did MJ need death to outsell all?


Did MJ need death to outsell all?
THE man in the mirror had four reflections. Two public, and two private.
By Sylvia Toh Paik Choo
03 July 2009

THE man in the mirror had four reflections. Two public, and two private.

In public there was the Michael Jackson of the music clips, macho persona of street gangs, bad attitude and dangerous to know. Outside the music videos there was his princess Diana persona, all humility and fragility, the childlike voice, the body language begging for public sympathy.

In private Michael Jackson was the savviest and most cunning of businessmen. Compared to him, Madonna would come off like Beatrix Potter. In tandem with that drive he suffered the Peter Pan syndrome – the boy who would not grow up.

The boy also wanted to be white.

The greatest black artist in the world was white.

Michael Jackson was born black but he wanted to be white. Not a black singer who entertained whites, in the fashion of Cotton Club, or like Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles and James Brown.

MJ wanted to be white himself.

So he effectively set about changing the way he looked and was, skin colour, cleft chin like Kirk Douglas, upturned nose (because his father always mocked his ‘flat nose’).

He was the first black artist of the globalisation era, only if you count it from day 1 of MTV (’81), his music videos were sensational and he became phenomenal.


But pre-MTV, there was another first black artist to impose his music into mainstream white, and that was Stevie Wonder.

Next to his blanco morphing, MJ had an ego that would have eclipsed Napoleon’s. Now paleface was not enough, nor was having No 1 in the charts, he had to be the biggest and the greatest across the universe.

MJ had to outpace and erase the competition: The Beatles.

Thriller (’82) became the largest-selling album of all time . Then, MJ outbid Paul McCartney for Northern Songs (catalogue owned by ATV with publishing rights to all Lennon-McCartney songs).

Imagine. Paul now worked for Mike, Jackson collected royalties and paid MacCartney a share. Macca asked for more, MJ blew him off.

He may have tamed the Beatles, but there was still another king to conquer – Elvis.

In 1994, Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley, the ‘king’s’ daughter.

(Please don’t e-mail me about Nat King Cole.)

There are two ways to extend one’s kingdom, by the sword (on Paul McCartney) or by annexation (marriage to Miss Presley).

The question remains: Did MJ have to die to outsell his only rivals the Beatles and Elvis?


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