Michael Jackson’s importance to the development pop music is unquestionable, but it is so difficult to untangle Michael Jackson the musician from Michael Jackson the walking PR disaster, that it may be years before he can be given a proper critical rehabilitation. It is interesting to note the similarities between Butler’s treatment of his subject and Jeff Koon’s ‘Michael Jackson and Bubbles’ from the same year. Both accentuate Jackson’s doe-eyed boyishness to a degree that set his subsequent facial surgeries in stark relief.
The most spectacular fall from grace is, of course, Gary Glitter. His inclusion within the Rock Circus pantheon was an unusual choice at the time, owing more to his status as student favourite and daytime TV guest-star than his musical legacy. What popularity hid did have was destroyed almost completely by his arrest for of possession of indecent images in 1997. The court case two years later saw him convicted and sentenced to 4 months in prison. He fled the country immediately upon his release, and has since spent time in Cuba and Cambodia trying to avoid the attentions of tabloid reporters. Now a registered sex offender in the UK, it is unlikely that his notoriety will ever allow him to return.