The King Is Dead: Michael Jackson (1958-2009)



Headlines: It's the story in popular music. Actually, it's the lead story, period.

Of course it is. He was the King of Pop, an entertainer who set a new standard for fame (and, yes, weirdness) and sold something like 750 million records worldwide. "Thriller" is, on any given day, either the best-selling or second-best-selling album in U.S. history. (On this day, it's No. 2 on the RIAA scoreboard, trailing the Eagles' "Greatest Hits 1971-1975" by the unfathomable score of 29 million to 28 million.)

The man was a cultural icon whose life happened to be an ongoing circus. Thus, blowout coverage everywhere, including Right Here: The obit, a Wil Haygood riff on Jackson's meaning to the black community, a piece on the worldwide reaction, a sampling of TWP's coverage of Jackson's art over the years, an old Donna Britt column, a Post Mortem flashback on Ronald Reagan and Jackson's Victory tour, a photo gallery, an interactive guide to Jackson's life and career and, of course, the obligatory piece on all the blowout coverage, this one by Tom Shales.

A local angle? Seth Hurwitz, the 9:30 club honcho/cupcake czar, says that as of Thursday morning, 600 tickets had been sold to tonight's 9:30 concert by Who's Bad, which calls itself "The World's #1 Michael Jackson Tribute Band." A couple of hours after Jackson's death, the show sold out. The club has since added a late show, Seth says, with doors at 11. Should be an interesting scene, to say the least.

Rolling Stone compiled quotes from the music world and Time collected celebrity thoughts from Twitter. One of the best of both: "MICHAEL JACKSON the first 2 english words i eva spoke. the future sucx!" -- M.I.A.

Two titans of the critical class weigh in: Jon Pareles and Ann Powers.

MTV considers Jackson's music-video legacy.

Jackson was a force on TV, and not just on the music-vid channel.

Billboard declares Jackson the king of its own pop charts. The trade mag also reports that AEG Live is in deep with Jackson's planned 50-show run at the O2 Arena in London, which would have been the highest-grossing single concert engagement ever. "As much as $30 million has already been spent on production, according to sources close to the situation. So what's at stake for AEG, the world's second-largest concert promoter, can't be overstated."

Glastonbury is making tribute plans.

Fans hoping to pay tribute to Michael on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were delayed by the ramp-up to last night's premiere of "Bruno." The Sacha Baron Cohen film was screened at the Chinese Theatre, "which is almost directly in front of Jackson's star." Meanwhile, a scene in which Cohen interviews LaToya Jackson apparently has been cut from the film.

The Guardian publishes a collection of Jackson's own quotes from throughout the years.

Rolling Stone has its old MJ cover stories online, including one from 1971 ("The Men Don't Know But The Little Girls Understand") and another from 1983 ("Life in the Magic Kingdom").

Interestingly, "Thriller" received four stars (out of five) from the mag, which still found it in its editorial heart to place the epochal album at No. 20 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Martin Bashir, who conducted a rather infamous interview with Jackson at Neverland Ranch, looks back.

Shocking: Perez Hilton is an ass.

By J. Freedom du Lac |  June 26, 2009; 6:15 AM ET Morning Mix
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Other than the 9:30 Club, are any clubs in DC doing Michael Jackson tribute nights?

Posted by: brownljb | June 26, 2009 9:24 AM

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