A year after Michael Jackson’s death cut short a series of comeback concerts in London, the King of Pop’s legacy shows no signs of subsiding. On Friday, the first anniversary of Jackson’s death at age 50, a number of tributes are being played out around the world, although not all are sanctioned by the late singer’s estate.
Hundreds are expected to gather at Forest Lawn in Glendale, Calif., even though the Holy Terrace section of the Great Mausoleum, which houses the singer’s remains, will be closed to the public.
In Jackson’s hometown of Gary, Ind., family matriarch Katherine Jackson will unveil a monument outside the house where the Jackson 5 emerged to become child stars for Motown. A memorial and candlelight vigil will follow.
Katherine Jackson has also given her blessing to “Forever Michael,” a tribute concert being held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Saturday. The Chi Lites and Randy Jackson’s daughter, Genevieve Jackson, are slated to perform. Partial proceeds from the concert, with ticket prices ranging from $150 to $500, will be donated to the Jackson Family Foundation and some of the singer’s favorite charities.
Also on tap: a Jackson 5 exhibit at the Motown Historical Museum in Detroit and a Friday morning tribute in New York by Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater Foundation in front of the famed Harlem landmark.
Meanwhile, Jackson’s mother, who is the legal guardian of his three surviving children, will be seen on Friday’s “Dateline NBC” in “Michael Jackson: A Mother’s Story.”
On the Eye network, Christina Aguilera, Marc Anthony, LL Cool J and Smokey Robinson will participate in a Friday morning tribute to Jackson on CBS News’ “The Early Show” being billed as “The King of Pop: One Year Later.” The morning talker will devote the entire 8 o’clock hour to Jackson.
At CNN, Larry King will host an hourlong special Friday night from Forest Lawn, which will include an interview with Jackson’s brother Jermaine.
In death, as in life, the singer has been a hot commodity. Based on album purchases, Jackson posthumously became the bestselling artist of 2009, moving more than 8 million units in the U.S., as well as 12.3 million tracks downloaded, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The album figure roughly equals the singer’s cumulative album sales over the previous eight years. Jackson’s “Thriller” single was the most downloaded song in 2009 with 1.2 million transactions, followed by “Beat It” with 923,000 downloads.
Grosses from the theatrical doc “This Is It,” compiled from the singer’s rehearsals for his 50-date engagement at London’s O2 Arena, have topped $250 million worldwide. And in March, Sony Music Entertainment extended its deal with the Jackson estate to the tune of at least $200 million, the largest in history for the rights to an entertainer’s product.
At the time, it was reported that a collection of previously unreleased music by the singer would be launched in November. In addition, a deluxe edition of Jackson’s Epic Records debut, “Off the Wall,” is slated for a 2010 release by Sony’s Legacy catalog division.
The Jackson estate’s other main revenue source is its 50% share in music publisher Sony/ATV music, Sony’s publishing arm, which holds copyrights for songs written or recorded by the Beatles, Presley and other top names.