Michael Jackson would have turned sixty years old last month, had he not passed away ten years ago at the age of fifty. The King of Pop is still one of the most popular entertainers who ever lived, and is the third-best-selling music artist of all time behind Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Jackson’s influence in the world of pop music was astounding, and the Dangerous singer also permeated other sections of popular culture. It was recently revealed that Jackson made a mystery cameo in The Simpsons, and his legacy also lives on in casino games and merchandise. Around what would have been the singer’s 60th birthday, we take a look at just how much influence Jackson had on mainstream culture.
Jackson’s 60th Birthday
Even though the late singer was not around to celebrate his 60th birthday, fans were out in force to mark the occasion. On the 29th of August this year, the estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music collaborated to put on a huge event at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It included the Diamond Celebration party at Daylight Beach Club, along with the Michael Jackson ONE Cirque du Soleil show which is regarded as essential viewing for Jackson super fans. The show features a number of Jackson’s biggest hits while telling the story of four outcasts who go on a journey to overcome the things holding them back in life. Each person gets one item belonging to the world-renowned singer, including his iconic white glove, his shoes, his standard fedora hat, and his sunglasses.
Jackson’s children Paris and Prince Jackson were in attendance at the celebration and paid tribute to their late father. At the birthday party, the two accepted the Elizabeth Taylor Legacy Award on behalf of their father, who was given the award for his humanitarian work with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
Many major celebrities also paid homage to the man who had such a strong impact on the music industry. Kanye West, for instance, tweeted: “Michael, we love you.” Madonna, Naomi Campbell, Bruno Mars, and American civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton also tweeted messages to show their love and appreciation for Jackson.
Jackson’s Influence on Casino and Other Media
Jackson’s influence in the music industry is highlighted by the sheer volume of music sales and his accumulation of awards. The singer has sold over 750 million albums worldwide, has won 13 Grammy awards, 26 American Music Awards, and his albums have spent an astonishing 4458 weeks in American Billboard charts. But Jackson’s reach went way beyond success in the pop music sector.
As one of the most recognisable stars on the planet, Jackson’s influence has also permeated other sections of popular culture. It was recently revealed by Simpsons creator Matt Groening that Michael Jackson did, in fact, lend his voice to an animated character under the pseudonym of Leon Kompowsky in the episode Stark Raving Dad in 1991. Jackson’s name never appeared in the credits due to a dispute with his record label at the time, but Simpsons fans have long held the theory that the King of Pop did appear on the show.
In The Simpsons, the character that Jackson voiced didn’t look like the legendary singer, but there have been many occasions that Jackson’s world famous image has been used elsewhere. For example, one of the most popular slot games on the market is based on the famous singer. The Michael Jackson slot from Bally Technologies is a great tribute to the Man in the Mirror singer, and features classics like Beat It, Smooth Criminal, and Dirty Diana. There are also some Jackson-specific features such as the Moonwalk Wilds and the Smooth Criminal Free Games feature.
Jackson has also appeared in a number of Hollywood films over the years. In 2002’s Men in Black II, the iconic singer made a cameo as Agent M. Other acting roles included Razamataz in the 1976 Bugsy Malone movie, and Scarecrow in 1978’s The Wiz. While Jackson was best-known for his music, he set the tone in the modern pop industry for stars to boost their appeal on other platforms. Along with TV and film appearances, the Thriller singer had sponsorship deals with various companies, including Pepsi.
A Look at Upcoming Jackson Media
Jackson’s legacy is still going strong, and it is likely that the singer will continue to be remembered for many years. There have been numerous posthumous documentaries since the Earth Song singer’s death in 2009, including Michael Jackson’s This is It in 2009, Bad 25 in 2012, Michael Jackson: The Last Photo Shoot in 2014, and Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off The Wall in 2016. The latter was directed by hugely popular filmmaker Spike Lee and featured all of the Jackson family along with archival footage of the singer himself.
A new film, Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland was released in 2017, and it told the singer’s story through the eyes of his bodyguards Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard. The film, which was based on the best-selling book Remember the Time: Protecting Michael Jackson in his Final Days, aired on Lifetime and was fairly well received.
With the amount of material to draw from, filmmakers are doubtlessly going to continue making films about the immensely popular King of Pop. There are certainly a number of different times in his life which could receive more documentation.
Jackson continues to live on in the hearts of fans all over the world, and he will be remembered by all for many years to come. His legacy is still going strong, and his music continues to influence popular culture today. There is no denying that Jackson’s impact on the world was massive.