Michael Jackson vs. Elvis Presley

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the most successful artist of all time. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he is identified as the most popular artist in the history of the entertainment industry and the most famous man in the world.

In the 1980s, Michael Jackson became a major figure in pop music and one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century. He revolutionized the music industry, including developing music videos comparable to short-length films, such as Beat It, Billie Jean, Thriller and Bad. During his concerts, videos and public appearances, he popularized many dance steps, including the moonwalk, which became his signature dance style. Having merged the genres of soul, funk and rock, his vocal and musical style continues to influence many artists in hip-hop, pop music and R’n’B.


Nicknamed “The King of Pop”, Michael Jackson broke many records for the music industry. In total, sales rise to almost 800 million copies, which ranks among the three biggest record sellers of all time, alongside the Beatles and Elvis Presley. “Thriller”, with sales varying between 65 and 118 million, is the best-selling album in the history of music. Michael Jackson has won more awards than any other artist and was voted Artist of the Millennium at the World Music Awards in 2000.


Michael Jackson has given more than $ 400 million to charity, notably through his Dangerous World Tour. However, his public image was greatly tarnished because of some aspects of his private life, including his fondness for plastic surgery, his eccentric lifestyle judged by the tabloids, and two allegations of child sexual abuse. In one case, no judicial action was taken and the other led to a trial, for which Jackson was acquitted. In 2010, the FBI released the record of Michael Jackson, where authorities say they found no evidence or behavior that would support Jackson’s past charges.

The funeral ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles was broadcast worldwide on July 7, 2009.


Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley’s influence on musical culture is global, as he is to be considered one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century.

In his lifetime he sold 700 million records. At present, it is estimated that 1 billion were sold worldwide. He played in 31 movies, gave 1156 concerts in the United States and three in Canada and 525 performances in Las Vegas. He was the first artist to give a concert broadcast by satellite. The concert took place January 14, 1973 in Hawaii and is said to have been viewed simultaneously by one and a half billion viewers in 43 countries: a record audience never equaled. He appeared in seven television shows. At his death, his personal wealth was estimated at $ 100 million.

Often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King”, Presley had a versatile voice and his music encompassed many genres, including country, pop ballads, gospel, and blues. He was nominated for 14 competitive Grammys and won three, and also received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36.

For 22 years, Elvis served music but also those around him. Few accomplishments are missing from his remarkable career. Maybe just one tour in Europe, Asia and Australia, but eventually they were made possible: in 1997, technology was used to put up an extraordinary concert called Elvis in Concert ’97 at the Mid-South Colloseum in Memphis.


Last but not least, we can talk about what is less known about Elvis. It is said that he had the habit of giving Cadillacs, cash and jewelry, often on the spur of the moment. What is less known is that apart from charity concerts which he gave periodically, he financially supported those around him: friends, family, even strangers, paying their bills and debts, admissions, buying their houses or feeding their families. For many years he had given more than a thousand dollars a year to each of the guitarists who lived in Memphis and his charitable work continues today through the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation.

Alongside Michael Jackson, he is a solo artist who has sold the most records worldwide during his lifetime, as well as after his death. For four consecutive years, he was the deceased artist who brought the most money.


Between the “King of Rock and Roll” and the “King of Pop”, the similarities go far beyond the nickname. Thirty years apart, both men had a similar fate in many ways.

From the musical point of view. Both artists were able to mix “white” and “black” sounds, blues and rock for Elvis, R’n’B and pop for Michael Jackson. “Elvis was a white man who wanted to be black, and Michael was just the opposite”, said French electronic music pioneer Jean Michel Jarre at the news of the singer’s death.


“All great American musicians are ones that made the link between black and white music, and Michael was obsessed with that colour change, both physically and musically,” Jarre added.

On stage, what the two men have in common is the quality of “performers” who unleashed the crowds. Elvis scandalized as he impressed with swaying his hips. The second marked the history of music with his “Moonwalk”.

Both entered the pantheon of music through their timeless tubes, they are among the solo artists who sold the most records in history: more than $ 700 million for both artists, an international success leading to a real hysteria among fans.


To escape the delirious crowds, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley once again opted for the same solution: hiding. Each built his fortress: Graceland for Elvis and Neverland for Michael. Soon, their lifestyles and their health – mental and physical – were subjects to all the rumors. Under the eyes of the world, they physically changed: Elvis doubled in size, Michael Jackson appealed to plastic surgery.

Chaos reigns on both sides, but the marriage – and divorce – of Michael Jackson and Lisa Maria Presley, sole heir of the “King”, is an interesting visible connection between the two great artists.



In the end, both are again in unison in death as they died prematurely – Presley at age 42 and Jackson at 50. Happening unexpectedly, their deaths shocked America and the whole world. Tearful fans, tributes and rumors of plots followed, marking the seal of immortality on these two similar fates.

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