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A bunch of friends of mine got into a big online argument about which singer’s death, if any, would be as big a worldwide phenomenon as the passing of Michael Jackson. While, for the most part, we all agreed that Mike’s death will probably be the biggest we’ll see for a while (if we ever see another one this big again), one point that I found particularly interesting was when my man John Simons suggested that the age at the time of death and circumstances of the death would play the determining factor on how big a phenomenon the celebrity’s death became.

I just did what I usually do which was make a list. Here’s how I figured it would go as far as global importance. If I’m wrong, tell me.

  • 1. Paul McCartney-if you front on the Beatles, you can’t front on Wings. If you front the Beatles and Wings, you don’t know music.
  • 2. Prince-He rivaled MJ in life and he’ll probably come close to rivaling him in death. Though “Purple Rain” never reached the summit that “Thriller” did, it came close enough. Also, Prince made more good albums than MJ and stayed much more active.
  • 3. Madonna-We’ve long passed the point where it was cool not to like her. Now if you diss her, you just look like you’ve got bad taste. She’s made too many hits, mothered too many styles and in her own way, inspired as many biters (Britney, Xtina, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, etc) as MJ.
  • 4. Stevie Wonder/Diana Ross-Theirs will be the final death knell to the Motown powerhouse. Our parents (and in some cases, grandparents) got their hair hot-combed and picked to this stuff. Get ready to listen to a lot of long, sad stories by the rocking chair.
  • 5. Jay-Z-The only rapper to “rewrite history without a pen” might not even make this list at the rate he’s going. Still, he is the greatest to ever do it and real rap fans would be devastated by his loss.

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