Robbie Fulks: Michael Jackson "better than Elvis"

In a thoughtful eulogy for Michael Jackson, country crooner Robbie Fulks explains the origins of his fascination with the King of Pop:

In 1999, Peter McDowell at the Chicago Cultural Center had me put together a performance in honor of Michael’s birthday. That was the beginning of my long “tribute CD” odyssey, and it got me to thinking a little about him, because I hadn’t, much. I hadn’t theretofore bought his records, or learned any of his songs to perform, or considered myself a fan beyond the J5. Yet I found that I knew lots of his songs just from constant ambient reiteration, and, when I listened to them more purposefully, found them exquisitely assembled and compelling in some hard-to-define way. In other words, I discovered the basic and obvious qualities that had long ago endeared this music to everyone else around the world. At that time it occurred to me that Michael was my generation’s Elvis. He was our common musical denominator, originator of the template, pointer of the path, the central guy that we all grew up with and of whom nobody could live in ignorance. In fact the only reason I wouldn’t overplay the comparison is that I think he was better than Elvis artistically. Better dancer, better singer, better song guy; and he stayed better at it all longer (even outliving him, a little). Let the squabbling begin…

I never really considered the fact that Michael Jackson was pretty on top of his game, as Fulks points out, from about 1970 to 1990. That’s twenty years! Can you think of any other artist who was that solid for that long? With no periods of crapiness? If you can think of anybody, be sure to give the date range you’re talking about. Twenty years! I can’t think of many with a perfect ten year streak

Robbie Fulks: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki, web.

Previously: Robbie Fulks Guides Fellow Musicians to Misery; Robbie Fulks Bloodshot Sampler.

61 thoughts on “Robbie Fulks: Michael Jackson "better than Elvis"”

  1. I think Elvis was better than Michael Jackson. So I didn’t bother reading the article. It’s not an intellectual thing where you can give reasons why one is better than the other. It’s intangible. It’s something you feel.

  2. Elvis music style came straight from African Americans at a time when rock and roll was considered to be satanic. Michael is a WORLD WIDE phenomenon! He was a TRENDSETTER, and a humanitarian. If Elvis lived longer he would have been eventually faded.

  3. “Elvis stole from the black man” is such a tired white liberal cliche. If Elvis were an alleged child molesterfrom the east coast white liberals would love him. It pisses them off that there were pretty little thigns waiting for The King down in the jungle room. And don’t give me that shit that “Scilla” was 13 when he met her. It was a different time and a different culture. I love everything about Elvis–Clambake, Suspicious Minds, Burnin’ Love,Don’t Cry Daddy. And oh yeah–The Rolling Stones weren’t influenced by the black man’s music at all. If these anti-Elvis, anti-South child molester sympathizers had their way the only thing white people would ever listen to was Pat Boone.

  4. saying that Elvis stole from the blacks is racist, it implies that one group can only do one type of thing, Elvis had a tremendous amount of respect for African Americans and probably did a ton to help them up in a time when. Both Elvis and Michael were innovators at their peak. I think Jackson will be our generations Elvis, though i see no followers

  5. First thing first, I liked elvis, but he was a the michael for whites. Blacks had been hearing that type of music in the jook joints long before elvis, which is where elvis said he got the sound. Elvis was protested against because whites said he was playing N music and moved like a N. You can reseach the fact that rock and roll was called N music. Heart Break Hotel is a Blues song. So i understand when whites sat elvis was better a white person that can perform like a black person, back in those days was like mana from heaven. All white singers copied black artist (fact). Chubby checker gave whites there first real dance (the Twist). Michael wrote and produced, Elvis did not,Micheal created moves Elvis copied, just becuase white had not seen it before does not mean that it was not happening and elvis says that’s where he got it from. So don’t make yourself feel better by bringing up the bad about Michael to justify saying Elvis was better.

    1. Bullshit!-you have no clue!-jacksin copied elvis moves and fred estair and jackie wilson and james brown. Jackson could not sing very good. Elvis could sing 100x better than jackson. Susliciius minds is better than any jackson song. Elvis is in the hall if fame rock country gospel and blues jackson is not. Elvis very handsome. Jackson ugly as sin elvis 39 movies jackson none. Kacksin could not sing elvis songs. Elvis pure live. Jackson pre recorded live jackson dodsnt belong in the samelong room with elvis. Mick jagger better than jackson. Tom jones better than jackson. Elton john better songs and singer than jackson. Freddie mercury better than jackson in and on and on.

  6. “Not That” Bill Wyman argues that Elvis is better than Michael:

    What Presley invented with his voice was something that, in a sociological sense, was the internet of its time—by which I mean that it carried in it the seeds of its own revolution, and grew in power in the face of opposition. It did it by being so right—with the clarity of its conception and the audacity of its idea: Bringing those musics, and cultures, together. I think we can agree the rock era’s effect on society was definitive.

    Wyman goes on to dismiss Jackson’s achievements as “merely…commercial.” Not sure I buy that. Surely, Jackson had a huge impact on cultural segregation in America. Not just via MTV, but come on: Thiller won over my Aunt Bonnie!

    I sometimes even wonder if we’d have the president we have in the White House today had it not been for Michael Jackson… That might be taking it a bit far, but you know: butterfly effect, etc. Who knows?

  7. Hell yea michael was bigger than elvis everybody knows that. Elvis was big in america michael was a world wide phenomenon. YOu can go to the smallest island tuck away in the darkest corner of earth and ask any inhabitants who michale jackson is and they would know. Asia , europe , india ,the middle east united states, latin america he recieve maguines book of world records for being the most famous man alive. And most number 1 hits period. He has the biggest selling abulm of all time and biggest selling tour of all time. He outsold ELVIS I think that sums it up. And thats the FACTS!!!!

  8. elvis paved the way for all singers no matter what kind ofsong you sang.he went through embarassment on T V.he was and still is the undisputed king.he could sing and dance.and did not sleep with little boys in the bed with him.

  9. Michael Jackson was truly better than Elvis. Sure you have to give Elvis his credit when it comes to how popular he was BUT so was Michael Jackson..and still is. Elvis didnt write his own music, Michael did. Elvis didnt have to go through all the nonsense rumers that Michael had to go through. Even though people tried to bring down Michael Jackson he still remained strong, and kept giving..yup i said it GIVING! MJ gave to countless charities and not to mention hade one of his own. Everywhere Michael performed he left it as a better place..how? Because instead of his taking his resting time, he went to foster cares, and struggling towns to help in anyway he could. So Elvis will be rememberd for his music, but Michael Jackson will be rememberd for his music AND him being a GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN:)

  10. Ok, I will put it like this. I had this arguement a long time ago with some of my white friends. You know it kills me, that the white people I have seen that say Elvis is better than Michael is just thinking with their hearts and not their minds. To me, Elvis couldn’t sing. Listen to his voice, it sounds stupid. I mean really. The only thing I can give Elvis credit for is bringing rock n roll, the way white people singing, to the forfront of where it is today. Even though black people came up with the music first. If you think that I am racist, well then think again. Trust me on this, do your research. I gurantee somebody ignorant on here will have something vulgar and stupid to say. But hey, that’s what I expect. Especially in the type of world we live in today. Pure evil seems like. Michael Jackson CRUSHES! Elvis. It’s not even a comparison. Michael can really sing, and nobody touches Mike in dancing. Nobody! I have not seen anybody like Mike with that much talent and coordination before ever! Michael writes his own music and at times produces it too. Then just for the icing on the cake, hit is a great humanitarian. Do I need to say more. I really can, but for any of you nay sayers that have any smarts at all, then you should all ready know about the all time selling albums, tours,etc…I watch on tv this Elvis/Michael thing that they are doing now and I lmao! They try to make Elvis look good by saying that his music reach across the world like Michael did. That is a straight lie! My wife is from Kenya, and she told me that she had never heard of Elvis until she came to this country. Wow…But you can ask anybody around the world who Michael Jackson was, and I bet you they can tell you. Well anyway, I’ve proved my point. Let the hating begin… Lol…. Boy these people kill me. Lol!

    1. Mindless comments from the people trying to make Michael seem *better* by way of pointing out Elvis shortcomings as a performer. The minute anyone tries to disparage another artist (to make themselves feel better about anoher) they’ve taken the low-road and have already lost.

      And some of those listed supposed shortcomings of Elvis weren’t even historically accurate. Example : “Elvis didn’t even write his own music”.

      Ummm … So. Elvis was a Producer & Arranger. And anyone knows anything about the creative process in music knows that you can’t qualify between these things as to which makes an artist more legit or not. Not if they want to be taken serious anyway.

      I’ll give some basic history both of EP as culture value as well as artist… for those that have basic research problems… or suffer from bullsh!titis

      Elvis was credited by most muscians in the industry during his career as being one of the most under-rated producers in the business. He may still be one of the most under-rated in music history. Engineer Felton Jarvis personally witnessed Elvis rework multiple arrangements throughout the years with Elvis sitting at the piano or guitar on his lap in the studio and playing through the songs in another key and then having musicians follow his lead on a few rough run throughs.
      Lengendary Producer Bones Howe said Most singers in the 50’s walked into a studio and sat down. The Producers hired by the record company told the singers where to sit, when to stand, when to sing, when to stop singing, how to sing it…etc.
      But that all stopped with Elvis. At 21 years of age (and only being in the business for 3 years) he already had the instincts of a veteren when he first started out. He walked in and ran the sessions. Politely asked the record company’s hired producer to stand down and relax. Then he spent personal time with the musicians and basically took over. HE told engineers when to “get ready” and roll tape. HE decided if song needed a key cahnge. HE decided if instruments needed added or backed out to add to certain songs.

      Bones Howe said after Elvis started doing this EVERYBODY in the business started following suit.

      Most people aren’t aware of this, yet can easily be verified with internet basic research. But there in lie’s the problem…. people are better at acting like they know what they’re talking about or living of of old misinformed talking points … instead of doing basic, honest research.

      Beyond Elvis being a better creative entity than many realize …. his cultural impact is beyond measure. For anyone to even try to deminish it would make them appear ignorant of basic American history.

      What I mean is early civil rights activists (Rev Milton Perry, Ernest Withers, John Lewis, Robert Booker, Black Panthers leader Eldrige Cleaver … and many others) have ALL pointed out Elvis’ positive impact and being a powerful positive cultural force by way of being a white guy that spoke respectful of black folks and hung out with them at a time when most whites simply did not. The fact that the KKK and White Citzens Counsils HATED Elvis backs this up. Manistream America was dominantly white … and racists back then. Elvis was wayyy ahead of the social arc by being different (in a good way) and treated blacks as “equals” (BB King, Milton Perry, Soul Brother James Brown and many others attest to this) and it pissed off and angered the dominant white bigots of the day. That’s why when we research it we see many blues greats like Little Milton say “If people would research it they would learn & see Elvis had a hard time his first few years and it took guts for him to do what he did”.

      Michael was great… not question. But different era and different times. Can’t put comparison. To try to do so is nothing short of pathetic.
      Here’s something to keep in mind. Anyone knows anything about Micheal knows that of all of his influences, James Brown was probably the biggest and the one Michael spoke the most about.
      *By the way Elvis was one of Michaels also. Anyone in denial about that, sorry to break to them but his own siblings have, in many interviews, said Elvis was another influence on him.*
      Same as Elvis was had impact on Jimi Hendrix (his brother, father and sister said in 3 separte interviews how much respect Jimi always held for EP. From Elvis start in the 50’s to right on through to 1969 ..right before Jimi died… he was listening to Elvis’ 1969 soul album “In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, Don’t Cry Daddy, Only The Strong Survive” and loving it). Same as Dylan, the Beatles, Freddy Mercury, Otis Redding, and about 100 other future legends. If people reserached it ‘honestly’ they would see that EP’s impact an inspriation on future artists seems almost endless, even new young artists invoke his name as inspiration in the new mellinium.

      Throughout his career he continued to impact. In the 70’s just a few years before he died, as an indicator of his global appeal, 49 countries and approx 1 billion people tuned in to watch his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii benefit for cancer concert. And he had a #1 record in America.

      A #1 record. A #1 record. A #1 record.
      Just stressing that for mindless people that like to act like Elvis wasn’t relevent after the 50’s. Almost 20 years after he first showed up he was so relevent that he had a #1 record in the country. They don’t give away #1 records, they’re earned.

      Then there’s his cultural impact that black civil rights activists (as mentioned above) and blues, r&b, and soul artists all spoke glowingly and supportively of Elvis. Even Muhammad Ali was a proud friend of Elvis. BB King, James Brown, Sammy Davis jr, Cissy Houston (Whitneys Mother, was a great soul singer back in the day), Etta James, Jackie Wilson, Issac Hayes, Al Green. They all adored and respected Elvis and spoke quite openly of their respect for him.

      People in this modern era simply know nothing of this because they don’t research it… and they keep getting their info from other less informed people. We need to respect the reporters (especially the black reporters) from back then that wrote about the *help* Elvis was at time when segragation was being challenged and America needed a famous white guy out there stirring the pot. Rev Milton Perry wrote a open letter wishing more White Americans would follow Elvis example.
      Hello??

      Many Social activists and historians have since pointed out how Elvis was one of the biggest, most positive, cultural forces of the 20th century. (Some other folks have played ignorant about this history but they simply don’t know the history… and actually when they under rate Elvis what they really are doing is disrespecting the words of those great black folks who knew better, and had praised Elvis).

      And then I haven’teven scratched the surface of Elvis’ global impact. Anyone wants a wake-up call… just google it. There are statues of Elvis all over the world in many cities honoring him and his music, including major state cities in other countries. Elvis’ humanitarians efforts (of which he was given award for during his own lifetime in 1971) stretched beyond just national. People in Russia, Asia, China, Japan and Australia have spoke for decades about the tremendous ripple effect of Elvis. Many people from these countries have even reported that they learned to speak english through listening to Elvis’ music so much. This was happening BEFORE Michael Jackson came along.
      So you see, there simply is no way to compare famous artists from separate era’s. It’s just plain silly.

      Elvis’ impact from his era is simply beyond measure. … And just needs to be respected for what it was. To undermine that with naive debates of comparison are only disrespectful to the other legends of the past who have praised him.

      Michael had his own era and his own impact … which was also huge… and we could also write dozens of paragraphs about what he brought to the world. But we need to learn to have perspective and realize the pettiness sometimes of comparisons. To say “this artists is better than” is NOT an opinion… it’s mindless chatter. If people want to be taken serious in these conversations they need to know basic music and cultural history

    2. Mindless comments from the people trying to make Michael seem *better* by way of pointing out Elvis shortcomings as a performer. The minute anyone tries to disparage another artist (to make themselves feel better about anoher) they’ve taken the low-road and have already lost.

      And some of those listed supposed shortcomings of Elvis weren’t even historically accurate. Example : “Elvis didn’t even write his own music”.

      Ummm … So. Elvis was a Producer & Arranger. And anyone knows anything about the creative process in music knows that you can’t qualify between these things as to which makes an artist more legit or not. Not if they want to be taken serious anyway.

      I’ll give some basic history both of EP as culture value as well as artist… for those that have basic research problems… or suffer from bullsh!titis

      Elvis was credited by most muscians in the industry during his career as being one of the most under-rated producers in the business. He may still be one of the most under-rated in music history. Engineer Felton Jarvis personally witnessed Elvis rework multiple arrangements throughout the years with Elvis sitting at the piano or guitar on his lap in the studio and playing through the songs in another key and then having musicians follow his lead on a few rough run throughs.
      Lengendary Producer Bones Howe said Most singers in the 50’s walked into a studio and sat down. The Producers hired by the record company told the singers where to sit, when to stand, when to sing, when to stop singing, how to sing it…etc.
      But that all stopped with Elvis. At 21 years of age (and only being in the business for 3 years) he already had the instincts of a veteren when he first started out. He walked in and ran the sessions. Politely asked the record company’s hired producer to stand down and relax. Then he spent personal time with the musicians and basically took over. HE told engineers when to “get ready” and roll tape. HE decided if song needed a key cahnge. HE decided if instruments needed added or backed out to add to certain songs.

      Bones Howe said after Elvis started doing this EVERYBODY in the business started following suit.

      Most people aren’t aware of this, yet can easily be verified with internet
      basic research. But there in lie’s the problem…. people are better at acting like they know what they’re talking about or living of of old misinformed talking points … instead of doing basic, honest research.

      Beyond Elvis being a better creative entity than many realize …. his cultural impact is beyond measure. For anyone to even try to deminish it would make them appear ignorant of basic American history.

      What I mean is early civil rights activists (Rev Milton Perry, Ernest Withers, John Lewis, Robert Booker, Black Panthers leader Eldrige Cleaver … and many others) have ALL pointed out Elvis’ positive impact and being a powerful positive cultural force by way of being a white guy that spoke respectful of black folks and hung out with them at a time when most whites simply did not. The fact that the KKK and White Citzens Counsils HATED Elvis backs this up. Manistream America was dominantly white … and racists back then. Elvis was wayyy ahead of the social arc by being different (in a good way) and treated blacks as “equals” (BB King, Milton Perry, Soul Brother James Brown and many others attest to this) and it pissed off and angered the dominant white bigots of the day. That’s why when we research it we see many blues greats like Little Milton say “If people would research it they would learn & see Elvis had a hard time his first few years and it took guts for him to do what he did”.

      Michael was great… not question. But different era and different times. Can’t put comparison. To try to do so is nothing short of pathetic.
      Here’s something to keep in mind. Anyone knows anything about Micheal knows that of all of his influences, James Brown was probably the biggest and the one Michael spoke the most about.
      *By the way Elvis was one of Michaels also. Anyone in denial about that, sorry to break to them but his own siblings have, in many interviews, said Elvis was another influence on him.*
      Same as Elvis was had impact on Jimi Hendrix (his brother, father and sister said in 3 separte interviews how much respect Jimi always held for EP. From Elvis start in the 50’s to right on through to 1969 ..right before Jimi died… he was listening to Elvis’ 1969 soul album “In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, Don’t Cry Daddy, Only The Strong Survive” and loving it). Same as Dylan, the Beatles, Freddy Mercury, Otis Redding, and about 100 other future legends. If people reserached it ‘honestly’ they would see that EP’s impact an inspriation on future artists seems almost endless, even new young artists invoke his name as inspiration in the new mellinium.

      Throughout his career he continued to impact. In the 70’s just a few years before he died, as an indicator of his global appeal, 49 countries and approx 1 billion people tuned in to watch his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii benefit for cancer concert. And he had a #1 record in America.

      A #1 record. A #1 record. A #1 record.
      Just stressing that for mindless people that like to act like Elvis wasn’t relevent after the 50’s. Almost 20 years after he first showed up he was so relevent that he had a #1 record in the country. They don’t give away #1 records, they’re earned.

      Then there’s his cultural impact that black civil rights activists (as mentioned above) and blues, r&b, and soul artists all spoke glowingly and supportively of Elvis. Even Muhammad Ali was a proud friend of Elvis. BB King, James Brown, Sammy Davis jr, Cissy Houston (Whitneys Mother, was a great soul singer back in the day), Etta James, Jackie Wilson, Issac Hayes, Al Green. They all adored and respected Elvis and spoke quite openly of their respect for him.

      People in this modern era simply know nothing of this because they don’t research it… and they keep getting their info from other less informed people. We need to respect the reporters (especially the black reporters) from back then that wrote about the *help* Elvis was at time when segragation was being challenged and America needed a famous white guy out there stirring the pot. Rev Milton Perry wrote a open letter wishing more White Americans would follow Elvis example.
      Hello??

      Many Social activists and historians have since pointed out how Elvis was one of the biggest, most positive, cultural forces of the 20th century. (Some other folks have played ignorant about this history but they simply don’t know the history… and actually when they under rate Elvis what they really are doing is disrespecting the words of those great black folks who knew better, and had praised Elvis).

      And then I haven’teven scratched the surface of Elvis’ global impact. Anyone wants a wake-up call… just google it. There are statues of Elvis all over the world in many cities honoring him and his music, including major state cities in other countries. Elvis’ humanitarians efforts (of which he was given award for during his own lifetime in 1971) stretched beyond just national. People in Russia, Asia, China, Japan and Australia have spoke for decades about the tremendous ripple effect of Elvis. Many people from these countries have even reported that they learned to speak english through listening to Elvis’ music so much. This was happening BEFORE Michael Jackson came along.
      So you see, there simply is no way to compare famous artists from separate era’s. It’s just plain silly.

      Elvis’ impact from his era is simply beyond measure. … And just needs to be respected for what it was. To undermine that with naive debates of comparison are only disrespectful to the other legends of the past who have praised him.

      Michael had his own era and his own impact … which was also huge… and we could also write dozens of paragraphs about what he brought to the world. But we need to learn to have perspective and realize the pettiness sometimes of comparisons. To say “this artists is better than” is NOT an opinion… it’s mindless chatter. If people want to be taken serious in these conversations they need to know basic music and cultural history

  11. yo, Rekus-go to any carnival and see which tent has the longest line…yeah, that’s right-the freak show. It’s like comparing Barry Bonds to Babe Ruth-sure, Bonds has more taters, but the Babe gets all the legend status. If you want to be objective, which I don’t think you do, tell us something you don’t like about Mike.

  12. As a matter of fact, Nate dog, if you can tell me anything that Elvis can do better than Mike, I will be the bigger man and mature man and agree with you. Honestly tell me. Come on. Because to be honest with you, I am not going to get into no argument. I have seen how all these types of boards can get. I have been there before, and I am not going to waste my time. The proof is there. So, tell me what you go, so I can see if I can’t be objective. Man please..

  13. And one more thing, Michael has way more legend status. Look that up. If there is anything that I don’t like about Mike, is that he didn’t stay black. Humm.. Let me see if you can be objective. I don’t think that you can. Go ahead….

  14. Saying Elvis was not a world wide phenomena is just ignorant. Elvis did it without videos, without the internet. Look at his freaking Aloha From Hawaii concert. How many countries did that air in in 1973? I’ll tell you. 40 across asia and Europe. Elvis was also a humanitarian. He gave away so much money, bought cars for people he didn’t know (white and black),tossed jewelry and diamond studded capes and belts to the audience, and also supported oodles of charities and he refused to write it off his taxes because he said it wasn’t giving. The Aloha concert, Elvis didnt even take any pay. All that went to a charity. All the people that came to that concert were required to do was to pay what they could afford. How much of that do you see go on in recent memory? Michael Jackson was a better musician than Elvis and a better dancer. But by God, Elvis shouldn’t (and won’t be) dismissed. He kicked the door down for the acceptance of black music. Michael kicked the door down for the acceptance of black artists. Elvis and Michael are forever linked in an odd way and at different ends of the spectrum. it is almost like seeing the beginning and the end of a rainbow. There won’t be another like either one, nor should there be. The defined it all. I loved Elvis. I Loved Michael.

  15. In 1985 when Michael Jackson was on top of the world Paul Westerberg wrote,”Elvis in the ground there ain’t no beer tonight.” He didn’t write,”Elvis in the ground, Michael Jackson is here to take his place.”

  16. I never heard of MJ eating a pound of bacon at a sitting,so the big E’s got him there….don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike the guy-his work stands with the best. But some of it was boring and pretentious, too. Bad was, well, bad. Putting on a leather jacket doesn’t make you bad.(Selling a kilo of toot to a fed and getting away with it-that’s bad) I felt the same way when I heard Houses of the Holy, too-you can’t make a crap recording and expect it to be accepted as holy writ.

    Jackson’s life and career was managed from the time he was 5 years old. I think he never developed the ability to make decisions for himself, and this led him to depend on others who

    might not have had his best interests at heart. He and Elvis ended up the same way-aging megalomaniacs addicted to spotlights and painkillers.

  17. how could you mention m jackson in the same sentence with elvis. elvis was the best singer of the 20th century. he also had many more number 1s than jackson. you had 15 years of nothing from mike. oh yeah was that mike in black leather in 68

    i dont think so. plus mike had a girlie voive. elvis could hit a note listen to triligy you idiots! elvis also liked like a man. mike looked like a chick or a queer.

  18. jackson world wide/ what!

    elvis was all over the world and in the army. can you imagine jackson in the army? my god that could never happen

    rhe guy was a fruitcake’

  19. other atists better than jackson

    elton john

    all 3 out of four beatles

    stones

    plant and page

    the who

    billy preston

    eric clapton

    santana

    frank sinatra

    elvis

    simon and garfunkal

    ccr

    and about 20 others not listed

    the black people are trying to find someone to make their idol. hes not the one.

  20. I don’t believe anyone can “steal” music. It is shared back and forth and yes sometimes copied, unfairly at times. I feel Elvis gets a bad rap sometimes, so here is one of my favorite quotes from the one and only Jackie Wilson:

    “A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact almost every black solo performer copied his moves from Elvis”. This quote from Jackie, who acknowledged a debt to EP, illustrates the point- that music and dance are passed back and forth. Another example: Ray Charles was very influenced by country music, the Grand Ole Opry is what he heard on the radio. Michael was very talented. It is arguable though that he was a “better” singer than Elvis, who is much better than some people realize (listen to Elvis Sun Sessions). BTW Elvis was as influenced by Dean Martin as he was by the wonderful Gospel, Blues and R&B he grew up around and absorbed. When James Brown died there was a wonderful article on him in Rolling Stone, which detailed his relationship w/(and respect for)Elvis. If Jackie and James respected his talents, I think that speaks volumes.

  21. This world is pathetic

    No one can touch or come close to Elvis Presley he was an artist and he din’t need nothing to sing right no need to adjust his voice with gadget he could sing anything he want from rock blues country jazz you name it he could do it all alone.

    1 am not saying that Michael was not good he was probably one of the greatest artist the world evec see but he is no Elvis Presley no baby and never will!

  22. Ofcourse Elvis… There is a book called elvis jesus and coca cola these are the biggest 3 names.Elvis is known by his first name only. ELV1S wab the first and MJ copied Elvis a lot. Moonwalk

    ?MJ said he got it from a child he saw on the street.Another thing is as Madonna said: Elvis is God… :p 1.8 billion records and countless awards over 730 songs and most of all A SINCERE man to his fans. always. MJ was always hiding himself a lot Elvis never ignored any fan. To me they are both legends but ELVIS is the first for all dance stuff and popular music.

  23. Are you people serious??? Of all the great musicians out there we choose to compare Michael Jackson with Elvis?? that is the purest form of disrespect, it downgrades the legacy Jackson left. Elvis had mostly a white fanbase. While michael jackso had white, black, asian, spanish, austrailian, etc. ANd thats a fact. More people came to MJ’s concerts than Elvis. Mike changed the world more than elvis. case closed.

    hint: thriller biggest selling album of all time

  24. What are guys serious?

    Elvis Presley is the best sellling and most influential recording artist in the history of popular music.

    Not to mention that he also had a glorious and the most versitile of all voices, and was the most charismatic of all performers.

    These are current and historical facts and no amount of hype and ignorance on the developement of popular music can change that.

  25. This is stupid compairing apples and oranges, people have there own favuoites which is based on the meaning they get from songs and artists music.

    I don’t mind stating that MJ wins for me by a mile, but the butterfly effect is interesting. Would MJ be the artist his was without Elvis? interesting question. The only way I can judge fairly breaking it down. Singing – MJ wins but tastes have changed.

    Dancing – MJ was magical.

    Videos – MJ but Elvis didn’t make any . . he might have been great at it. As a Musician – MJ wrote, produced, played instruments on albums (Piano and guitar on History) don’t know much about Elvis in this context other than he didn’t write is music. Live – MJ your eyes are glued to him his feet and hands / movements are so perfect sometimes you forget its live, Elvis had famous hips but it doesn’t take a genius to do what he did in reality. Impact – Both broke boundaries would give that to Elvis because I think he did more for black music than most people are prepared to admit intentional or not. Imagery – MJ there are so many famous pic of MJ such as moonwalking on his toes etc but that comes with the music video and media, Elvis had a few such as that white jump suit etc.

    Records – Tie, MJ had loads, Elvis had loads that’s because they were both greats.

    Overall MJ but not because any of the above analysis but just based on the fact that I grew up on MJ and have a lot of happy memories of listening to his music, if I was 30 years older it might be different.

  26. Elvis was the king, michael jackson attempted to steal his name, married his daughter, and more or less copied his death, elvis’ legacy will live on well past michael jacksons

  27. Some of David’s comments 22/11/09 are not supportable, eg,suggesting that MJ was a better singer that Elvis is astonishing and perhaps suggests that David is not familiar with Elvis catalogue. The range and vocalisation of Elvis is unmatchable, someting recognised by most critics.

    None the less I give David full credit for his reasoned tone and for trying to be fair. It is actually very difficult for fans of one artist to give excessive credit to other artists.

  28. “A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man’s music, when in fact, almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.”

    ~ Jackie Wilson

  29. “Elvis was God-given, there’s no other explanation. A Messiah comes around every few thousand years, and Elvis was it this time.”

    ~ Little Richard

  30. Wow! First time I’m reading comments with much bullshits! That’s impressing! Why black americans are so racist? What is your problem with Elvis? I’m from a little country from Asia and Elvis is God there! Why these lies that Elvis was known only in America? Keep your bullshits for you! Michael is worldwilde too but he’s known as any other big star and nothing else (Madonna, Elton John, …)! Being racist in 2009 is a shame! Elvis is known as the KING on the entire planet (not only in America!!!). I’m 31 and have at least 50 of his cd’s, AND I LIVE IN ASIA !!! The King’s voice in the 70’s has reached the perfection and no other artist can come close (even the king of the playback MJ!)

  31. First of all michael jackson was waaaaay better then elvis lets just get that straight because unlike elvis michael could actully sing and he came up with his own stuff and didnt get it from anywhere else like elvis did and michael was way more famous elvis was only known in the u.s (barley) but michael jackson was known WORLDWIDE i repeat WORLDWIDE and he gave money to alot of charities he was very charitable to poor villages and he even had his own charity and thriller was the BIGGEST selling album OF ALL TIME michael sold trillions of albums that elvis couldnt even catch up to also michael jackson wrote his own songs and produced and he didnt get dance moves from anyone you think he got it from ok? elvis was just a copier with a horrible voice and everyone needs to get that through their heads ok?????

  32. I repeat, I’m from Asia and we were all wrong about white americans. They are not racists, the racists are black americans. White medias did everything to help MJ to be a star but you are still stupid recists! White medias did all they possible to kill Elvis in the 50’s but no way, Elvis kicked their ass because he was the KING.

    Other point, MJ couldn’t sing (playbacks), MJ couldn’t compose (doesn’t play any instrument), he’s just an excellent dancer. And MJ is WORLWIDE as Madonna is nothing more! Elvis is WORLDWIDE King! You can explose, but this will not change. In Asia or Europe when media talk about Elvis they say “The King”. You are so racist that you can’t even accept the truth! With your little brain, you must find a black artist (no talented, pedophile, strange, …) to put him before Elvis ! What a baby brain!

  33. Elvis is not a playback King !

    “On January 14, 1973, Elvis Presley performed ‘What Now My Love’ before a live audience of 1 billion people, as part of his satellite show, ‘Aloha from Hawaii’, which was beamed to 43 countries via INTELSAT. According to vocal coaches, and experts, Presley reached a full three octave range, at the song’s conclusion.”

  34. my god elvis is by far and away the greatest force in the history of music !!! nothing and nobody can touch this man/legend !!! he affected mankind in a way that cannot be measured !! truly a gift from god !!

  35. I believe that as a singer/enertainer that Elvis was the best there ever was.He could sing anything from from gospel to ballad to up tempo songs,and had a tremendous vocal range.The real test of time will be this.In 33 years from now will Jackson be as popular as Elvis is today.

  36. Elvis was a great entertainer but his music catalog wasn’t that original and he benefited from an American culture that wasn’t fully accepting of blacks at the time. Jackson is better. He could dance circles around Elvis. Elvis is also an overrated singer. Now I give him all the credit for bringing rock to the masses and for ushering in a new era but sorry, Jackson was the better talent. And don’t use the “genre excuse”. Off the Wall is completely different from Thriller.

    Oh and Jackson was making #1 hits when he was a kid. Elvis, uhhh no. Elvis could never pull off Thriller. That dance routine is legendary, more than anything Elvis did.

    He may’ve molested kids (which is false IMO, greedy parents) but Elvis died a fat loser if we want to use that argument. He couldn’t even perform in his forties he was so out of shape and unhealthy. Jackson was near performing at age 50 until he died. He’s the better talent, more original and at the VERY least a far far superior dancer.

  37. “Elvis overrated singer”? If you understand something about music then listen to “What now my love” live in 1973. For information, this is REALLY live and not playback like used to do the “king” of pop by insulting his fans! But no matter, his fans are so stupid …

    “The King couldn’t even perform in his forties”? Then listen to “Unchained melody” in 1977, even unhealthy, his God given operatic voice was alaways there! Oh again! That’s not a playback !!!

    Conclusion about MJ, the man never played any instrument live (but he can write music! Something wrong here !!!), the man had a tiny voice (like a 5 year’s old small girl), he was a good dancer, that’s all. I will not say he was overrated because he will dissapear in few years…

  38. I am so sad, MJ died on my birthday and i had a mj style bday party! Not one person came coz they were to sad. Anyways as for MJ and EP, MJ was the KING of Pop,Rock,and Soul(a.k.a The King) EP was the King of Rock n Roll until after he died which I was heart broken as well! Here are some categories I made of music!

    Singing: TIE! BOTH ROCKED AT SINGING!

    Dancing: MJ ALL THE WAY, EP dance moves: Moving Pelvis MJ dance moves: Moonwalk,AirWalk, Front slide, Spinning,Jumping, He heing(lol), Twirling, Pelvic Thrusting, Break Dancing…….the list goes on

    Entertainment: TIE! Everyone LOVED when elvis even talked but everyone will scream(in a very good way) when MJ even entered the room!

    Looks: TIE! Both looked amazing at the start of there careers but Elvis got fat,drug addicted, and drunk but MJ had vitilgo(skin disease and his skin changed into something weird and he had bad plastic surgery on his nose.

    Points MJ: 1 EP:0 They both rocked in there own ways but 45 years of a music career for MJ and only 23 years of a music career for EP shows who the king is! R.I.P Michael Joseph Jackson August 29 1958- June 25th 2009

    R.I.P Elvis Aaron Presley January 8 1935- August 16 1977

  39. Um to all of you that said elvis is better than mj, your carzy. mj is a way better singer an dancer. his music was a heck of a lot better. an his stage presence was great. just his very presence made men and wemen faint. mj is the king of all music cuz he can do it all and be successful. pop, rock, soul, r&b, just to name a few. to sum up mj is better way way way better than elvis.

  40. how can you say elvis is better when michael sold more an had more fans. most of elvis’s music appealed to white people. and everyone black white red or yellow loved and still loves mjs music. like i said earlyer if u said elvis is better your crazy cuz in my opinion elvis was just another plain country hick.

  41. MJ sold more than the King? That’s the biggest joke I have ever heard in my life :o)

    MJ=300million , The King=1.5 billion !

    MJ makes me sleep, he’s like a teen age girl! The King ROCKS like a man.

    Long live the King

  42. On WIKI :

    ELVIS : “He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music”

    MJ : “One of the best-selling recording artists ever”

    No one can beat the King.

  43. wow people in my oponion everyone is the king or queen of music if they believe they are so don get pissy over someone elses opinions on cerTAIN topics. we r humans so is mj and elvis

  44. How can someone honestly say that Elvis couldn’t sing? As a vocalist, he was way better than MJ. Michael Jackson was a better dancer, but what does that have to do with the music? Elvis is my favorite artist (and I’m 18), and I used to tolerate MJ – that is, until his death. Everyone went from mercilessly ridiculing him to treating him as if he were Jesus (I don’t know which was worse). Also, Elvis was more active as a musician. Before his death, MJ’s last studio album was released eight years before his death, whereas Elvis’s last album came out less than a month before his death.

  45. HOW CAN ELVIS BE THE BIGGEST SELLER?

    According to the 1980 Guinness Book of Records “by the end of 1978 the Beatles had sold 100 million singles and 100 million albums – more than any other recording act.”

    According to the 1996 Guinness Book of World Records, Michael Jackson is the
    “most successful entertainer of all time”
    “the biggest selling artist of all time”
    “the 1st to have reached more than 100million albums sold outside the USA”

    SHORT STORY:
    The title holder for Biggest-Selling Artist of All Time was first with the Beatles then given to Michael Jackson.

  46. Click on this link and it lists clearly that MICHAEL JACKSON’S FIVE out FIVE adult SOLO albums are among the top best-selling WORLDWIDE.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_albums_worldwide

    That’s a phenomenal stat!!!

    ELVIS had more than 100 albums+ arnd 100 singles sold separately + arnd 30 EPs

    MICHAEL only 10 SOLO ALBUMS, no EP’s no, SINGLES sold as a stand-alone unit

    At the bottom part of the site you there are on links of the BEST-SELLING ALBUMS per COUNTRY – where MJ’s albums are consistently among the top 10!!!!!!

    No ELVIS at all in all lists!

    The claim that Elvis sold 1billion is only a claim made in 1982 by Dan Carwell of RCA (recording company that handled Elvis’ catalogs) BUT never had a rational explanation for it. 1982 is also the year Graceland opened. Talk about marketing strategies, eh?

    You mean it’s just a coincidence that:
    GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
    AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS
    ROCK and ROLL Hall of Fame
    WORLD MUSIC AWARDS
    ALL named Michael as the BIGGEST SELLING ARTIST OF ALL TIME?!!!

    Get FACTS, not speculations and opinion. FACTS FACTS FACTS.

  47. MICHAEL JACKSON is way better and bigger than Elvis. Michael Jackson is the one true artist that busted racial barriers. Not only that he revolutionised music videos, he also revolutionised the music industry.

    ELVIS capitalised on his good looks and sex appeal, copied from black music and never wrote any of his songs. That claim that without Elvis, there will be no MJ is bu******. Michael would still be the biggest star without that overly-white hyped Elvis. (I’m Caucasian, btw.)

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