Mark Kessler, owner of Recycled Records in Springfield, Ill., shows off
a Michael Jackson album he is auctioning off on eBay. Jackson, 50, died
in Los Angeles on Thursday. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
The answer, of course, is the Beatles. You know that. We know that.
Our SF Music Examiner thinks it's Jackson. Her right to do so.
We can't let that go unchallenged. So here's why she's wrong.
First, the Beatles had a much bigger impact overall than Michael Jackson. Though both had a huge cultural impact, no denying that, the Beatles' impact on culture, politics and society was much more visible. The Beatles literally transformed the '60s into their decade. It was all about their hair, their clothes, their styles and most importantly, their music. (Even Elvis' influence was more wide-ranging in the '50s than Jackson's was, overall, because Elvis pushed the boundaries of music, clothes and sex, all of which were restrained before he came along.)
Not to say Jackson didn't: Watching some of his videos clearly shows his music and dance styles influenced many performers. And not saying Jackson didn't have a white hot period. He did -- the "Billie Jean" moonwalk video from the 1983 Motown 25 TV special was when the full impact of the Jackson explosion hit.
But the Beatles' influence was much more wide ranging. It still goes on, even today. Michael Jackson's glow faded in the wake of his personal troubles. He rarely recorded and performed in recent years. He had finally decided to do live shows this year, while Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney have been consistently doing records and concerts. Not to mention the marketing of the Beatles by Apple Corp. in "One," "Love" and now "The Beatles: Rock Band." (Jackson was the subject of a Sega Genesis game called "Moonwalker," profiled by the NY PC Games Examiner.)
There are songs and albums of Jackson's that will never fade.
But it's the Beatles that will always rule. You just can't beat that argument.
Update: A second rebuttal
- A few of Michael Jackson's greatest TV performances
- Looking for Michael Jackson on DVD? You can't beat these
- More coverage on the death of Michael Jackson: http://www.examiner.com/category-michael_jackson.html
- More coverage on the death of Farrah Fawcett: http://www.examiner.com/category-farrah_fawcett.html