Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson the most popular artist in the world?

I have a theory that Michael Jackson is the most popular musician in the world, more popular than Elvis and The Beatles.

I'm not saying that more people have heard of him than The Beatles or Elvis, but that he has more DIEHARD fans across the world that LOVE his music and idolize him.


I once read a story (and now the image is left in my memory) of a man somewhere in the world on a camel with a huge boombox blasting some MJ. I wish I could remember where I read that.

I also heard a story on NPR yesterday that a reporter was at a party with people who were too cool to dance. The DJ, desperate to get the party started, played an MJ track and everyone started dancing. Then he played another and another and another and worked the crowd into a frenzy.

You know, something like this...

Even if you don't own any MJ, you will know it.

Please let me know what you think of this theory. Especially if you do not live in the Western/first world. I'm interested to know.

One thing is for sure, the guy led a tough and misunderstood existence. But he brought the world some amazing music and will be greatly missed.

Thanks for the grooves Michael!

Please share any stories that you might have of being far away from Motown and seeing or hearing some Michael Jackson in a unexpected place. I'd like to know.


So after I posted the original article on, the Beatles Examiner posted this rebuttal. What I noticed about all of the folks who disagreed with me is that no one really understood what I was saying: record sales, money, music industry stuff and ratings prove NOTHING when we're talking about third world and non-western countries. But folks kept quoting numbers and charts.

So I wrote this counter-rebuttal and then the Beatles examiner wrote this second rebuttal. It was fun. My post received a lot of hits and many many of people yelling at me and each other.

I still hold true that Michael Jackson is the most well loved entertainer in the world at this moment. We can look at this topic again in ten years and re-evaluate.


Annie said...

I'm glad you wrote this. My boyfriend and I were discussing last night that Michael Jackson is the most famous celebrity in the history of the world, both in terms of diehard fans and recognizability. With regard to recognizability, this probably has more to do with the media and his distinctive "look," than with any merit. Elvis, the Beatles, and Frank Sinatra did not have the benefit of the internet to spread their gospel -- I added Sinatra to the list because according to the former president of Sony records, he, Michael, and Elvis are the biggest icons of all time. AND, I'm also glad you posted the link from 13 Going On 30 because I was also thinking of that scene last night. I love it!

This is a long comment, but I guess I just wanted to say I enjoyed your post!

Jamie: said...

Thanks for your post Annie!

I've gotten a variety of feedback about this post. It's sort of a ridiculous comparison since the music industry is so different now than it was int he 50s & 60s when Elvis, The Beatles and Sinatra (good call in including him, I hadn't thought of that) were around, but I really appreciate your input.

I especially appreciate that you and your boyfriend were talking about the same idea AND that you love the clip from 13 Going On 30. It really is a good one isn't it?

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