If you have been paying attention to the news over the past few days, it's easy to realize we've lost a music industry icon of enormous cultural significance. But before we go and declare Michael Jackson the brightest musical bulb of the electricity era, Elvis Aaron Presley and Francis Albert Sinatra would like to state their respective cases.



After the jump, we compare a king, a chairman and a king.

Frank Sinatra
The original teen idol followed up his early exaltation with a legendary 50-plus-year career. Sinatra exuded a well-tailored nightclub cool that remains unique and relevant even after decades of cultural churn. As an artist, he was known for his intuitive ability to perfectly interpret a song. As a celebrity he had many a fine woman and palled around with gangsters and presidents.
Stats: 150 million records sold, seven number one singles, 11 Grammys.
The dark side: A moody manic-depressive who probably drank too much, Sinatra was allegedly linked to mob activity.

Michael Jackson
The first true recording industry racial crossover, MJ invented the music video and, in a shrinking world, aimed for and achieved an almost immeasurable level of international superstardom. Jackson's voice was absurdly flexible, while sweetly melodic, and he backed it up with jaw-dropping dance moves. After the cultural tsunami that was "Thriller," Jackson slipped into an ever escalating tabloid hell. However, the man with one white glove still remained a hero to many -- particularly those who felt pushed to the margins of society.
Stats: 750 million records sold, 13 number one singles, 13 Grammys.
The dark side: Pills, 13-year-old boys.

Elvis Presley
He didn't invent rock n' roll or hip-shaking or any of the stuff he is famous for. Hell, he didn't even do it that much better than the next guy. But with his cocky snarl and irrepressible magnetism, Elvis strutted his way to the front of the line in first-name ubiquity. His second act as a bloated lounge singer may have been embarrassing, but it spawned thousands of imitators -- and it is part of the reason why, 32 years after his death, Elvis is still one of the most famous men in the world.
Stats: One billion records sold, 17 number one singles, three Grammys.
The dark side: Pills, 13-year-old girls.