Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mirror mirror on the wall .....

.... who is the greatest music artist of them all ? Really tough question that, considering the fact that sales figures from around the world arent all that accurate. Apparently there isnt complete data from before the 50's and a lot of sales figures from after that are dubious. The top selling artists of all time are (in alphabetical order)
1. Bing Crosby
2. Elvis Presley
3. Frank Sinatra
4. Michael Jackson
5. The Beatles
Of these I would venture to guesstimate that one of Elvis, MJ and the Beatles would be the actual top seller.
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, the man who moonwalked his way into peoples hearts and album shelves, is of course the freshest on peoples minds. MJ though is a picture perfect case of being on top of the world and falling to unheard of before depths. From being the man who could bring cities to a standstill when his concerts were being held there, MJ has become the sleazy guy against whom child molestation cases were filed by the dozen. Martin Bashir's controversial documentary Living with Michael Jackson was, of course, instrumental in his downfall. The shift in his skin colour from being dark to a ridiculous pale white along with his obvious numerous operations on his face havent really helped. The standard of his music has also fallen in recent years but there is no taking away from his incredible songs such as Billy Jean, Beat It, Bad, Way You Make Me Feel, Dangerous, Smooth Criminal (my fav) to name a few. The King of Pop yes, but the greatest? Far from it.

To be honest I am a huge fan of the Beatles. My Granddad had a CD of theirs which I loved listening to over and over and over again. The quartet of Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon from Liverpool certainly can claim to be the most successful band of all time. Their influence of culture is well known and they were awarded the Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II, much to the consternation of some who had been similarly conferred. The Beatles are famous here in India for having spent time at Rishikesh for studying transedental meditation. They eventually split in 1970 but not before making floppy hair ultra cool around the world (even inspiring a couple of Bollywood songs) and giving us songs that will live forever - From Me To You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Love Me Do, She Loves You, Yesterday, Hard Day's Night, Can't Buy Me Love, Hey Jude, Ticket To Ride, Yellow Submarine etc: (phew!)

Elvis Presley wasnt called the King of Rock n Roll for nothing. Elvis was a cultural icon, a man who changed the landscape of music forever. His naturally good lookshis trademark puff, sideburns and leg swaying/ gyrating combined with his unique music style to drive girls & in turn America crazy. With a unique sound - a combination of blues (with traces of gospel influences) and country music, Elvis was a phenomenal hit and eventually acted in a number of movies. In layman's terms, he was a white man singing a black man's music. His energy needs to be seen to be believed and to be honest I havent seen an artist in years who has half the screen presence and charisma of Elvis. His last few performances were admittedly painful as he was a pale shadow of his former self and health problems and addictions were responsible for his death at an early age of 42. Interestingly, during the Beatles years ('63 - '70) only 6 of Elvis's singles reached the top 10.

MJ has been quoted as the greatest artist since Elvis. John Lennon has admitted that "If there hadnt been an Elvis, there wouldnt have been the Beatles". Time then to pay tribute to the greatest of them all - The King.

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