Though gone too soon, Michael Jackson left a tall legacy and a tower of hits when he died at 50 a year ago on Friday. He also left debts, void contracts, unrealized dreams, grieving fans and lingering mysteries. The knottier conundrums and contradictions in the King of Pop’s life may never be explained, but even the simplest propositions can be vexing in the Jackson hereafter and its eternal maze of hype, sealed data and shifting spokesmen. USA TODAY addresses 10 questions that surface in discussions about the man in the rearview mirror, who may endure as pop culture’s best-known and least-known icon.
1. What happened to the promised all-star tribute concert?
Given Jackson’s enormous influence over a range of genres and artists from Usher to Justin Timberlake, an all-star musical sendoff seemed inevitable. His brother Jermaine’s attempts to stage one last year fizzled, and there’s no sign of the show he pledged to mount this month.
“Tribute concerts, especially ambitious ones, don’t get off the ground for a lot of reasons, the biggest being funding,” says Ray Waddell, Billboard‘s touring editor. “An obvious milestone hook was missed this time around with the one-year anniversary of his death, but Jackson’s legacy and appeal are not going to lessen in the foreseeable future.
“A star-studded tribute concert, most likely with a philanthropic angle, is not only possible but probable someday.The seal of approval of the estate and a deep-pocketed promoter would help tremendously in making it happen.”
2. What about the Jackson reunion tour?
The surviving members of the Jackson 5 announced in December that they would tour as the Jackson 4 and re-create the sound of their childhood band. That endeavor never got off the ground, but the brothers did do a six-episode A&E reality show called The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty.
Speculation persists that sister Janet will join such a reunion, and more than a year before Jackson’s death, she told CNN‘s Larry King, “I would love to open for them. … It would be an honor.” But Michael issued a statement saying he wouldn’t participate: “My brothers and sisters have my full love and support. … at this time I have no plans to record or tour with them.”
3. When is Jackson’s next album coming, and what else is in the recording pipeline?