Joann Smith could not believe it when she heard that Michael had died and she could not switch off her television. She had gone through the same sadness and pain when her idol, Elvis Presley, died. “I can’t believe it’s happening again. It hurt, it really did. Even though I wasn’t a Michael Jackson fan, I could feel the pain because it happened to somebody I had loved, and I know what his family and fans were going through”.
Elvis fans are quick to offer advice to Michael’s fans: Focus on the pop idol’s music and generousity, not his shortcomings or the rumours about his death. “Don’t believe everything you hear and read,” Joann warned. “Respect him for what you hear of his music and don’t listen to the gossip.”
Sandi Pichon of Slidell, La., says she knew Presley personally and his written two books about him and she added the pain will ease but never lift. “Much like Elvis, once he touched your life you’re never the same,” Sandi said of Michael. ” The comfort they (the fans) are going to find is listening to his music and relying on his memories and keeping the positive things alive.”
Others believe Presley and Michael shared a magnetism and connection to their fans that transcends any physical place or structure.
“He could give you a grin that would melt your heart or make you believe you were the most special person in the world,” Joann Pichon said of Presley. “His love for his fans was reflected through his performance, and I think the same thing is true of Michael Jackson. People felt they were part of his life whether they knew him or not.”
The most obvious link between Michael and Elvis was Michael’s marriage to Lisa Marie Presley.