's fans are the most fervent fans on the planet.
And throughout his most testing times, Michael Jackson
’s loyal supporters were unswerving in their devotion.
They came from all over the world to support him outside the Californian court during his 2005 child abuse trial, waving placards that read Michael’s Innocent, Leave Him Alone and Save Michael Jackson
And prior to his comeback tour that was due to begin next month, loyal fans camped outside the O2 Arena in south-east London to get their hands on one of the 750,000 coveted tickets.
While those fans may regret never seeing their hero perform again, more than 12 million people did get to see him in one of the 300 concerts he played in his life.
The King of Pop also sold more than 750 million records around the world (some estimate it to be more than one billion)
Deborah Dannelly, one of Michael Jackson
's lifelong fans, says she knew about the charges Michael Jackson
faces and read about media leaks in the case. But she didint care -- she still loved "The King of Pop."
Dannelly, 49, is the president of the Michael Jackson
Fan Club, an international club based in Corpus Christi, Texas. She has been part of the fan club for 13 years and estimates that the club has between 12,000 and 14,000 members worldwide. And Dannelly is proud to say she has been a fan of the entertainer for 36 years.
Dannelly's faith in Jackson
has not wavered. Media coverage of the case, she believes, has been biased, demonizing Jackson
and jeopardizing his chances for a fair trial. "I don't think they have been interested in finding the truth but rather in putting out whatever would make headlines," she said. "And I thought the media would have better principles and integrity in this important of a case." Fan Worship in the Face of AdversityJackson
's fans showed him that they were still in his corner thru thick and thin. During the trial, they came in throngs from all over the world to gather outside the Santa Barbara County Courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif., holding signs that read, "Michael's Innocent, Leave Him Alone," "Save Michael Jackson
," and "France Supports and Loves MJ." Some continued to show their support when Jackson
was hospitalized last week with the flu, gathering outside the Marian Medical Center where he was staying and fainting and crying at the thought of his illness.
Fans of Michael Jackson
are not just supporting idols and pop icons they believe have been wrongly accused of crimes, experts say. They consider them to be members of their family.
"This is a very widespread phenomenon where fans take a celebrity into their hearts, whether it be a pop star, a movie star or a TV star, and that celebrity becomes almost bulletproof to the fan," said Paul Levinson, professor and chair of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York. "They bring the celebrity into their hearts and soul. It's almost like they've become part of their family." The Source of Jackson's Appeal
Since his "Thriller" and "Bad" album heydays, Jackson
's sales has been dropping. His last studio album, 2001's "Invincible," sold just more than 2 million albums (8 million worldwide) -- successful to most artists but a disappointment for the "King of Pop." Despite hitting the top of the music charts worldwide, Jackson
hasn't had a No. 1 single in the United States since 1995's "You Are Not Alone."
So why do so many people continue to love Michael Jackson
Older fans still remember the Jackson
5 lead singer who won legions of fans with songs such as "ABC" and "Ben." They may fondly recall how Jackson
moonwalked for the first time across the stage at Motown's 25th anniversary special in 1983 and put MTV on the map with pioneering videos such as "Thriller," "Billie Jean" and "Beat It."
Younger fans mainly familiar with the post-1993, scandal-haunted Jackson
may admire his past hit songs and see his influence in chart-topping artists such as Usher and Justin Timberlake, who have said they grew up idolizing "The King of Pop." This is the Jackson
who generated headlines primarily for his talent and whose musical legacy cannot be denied.
"Michael has always been charismatic," Silberman said. "Michael Jackson
was the first black artist to be played regularly across the board on radio stations, MTV; he was the first to have that kind of crossover appeal. Still, despite the scandals and bad press that he has had, he has always been fantastic as a performer. Michael's electrifying."
has always aprreciated the love and support he received from his fans. He once said: "I disguise myself because people act like they personally know me. But I usually respond with hugs and kisses, because I truly love my fans.
"When I’m travelling, people will sleep outside my hotel, I make sure they’ve blankets and food. I love connecting to my fans. I love them all."
WE LOVE YOU TOO MICHAEL