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5 Years Later: Michael Jackson's Pop Culture Legacy

Michael Jackson died five years ago at the age of 50, but his influence continues to permeate pop culture today.
Posted at 4:29 PM, Jun 25, 2014

It's been five years since Michael Jackson's death — but his legacy lives on. Here are five ways Michael is still impacting pop culture, five years later. (Via Flickr / Jaap Joris, Flickr / rafael-castillo

Let's start with a not-so-obvious one — Michael created the modern Super Bowl halftime show. Yes, in 1993, Jackson became the first solo act to perform an all-out concert spectacular. (Via NBC

A tradition that continues today with acts including Beyoncé ​and Bruno Mars

Before Michael, marching bands and education organizations such as Up with People shared the mid-game slot. (Via United Way / Up with People

Speaking of big-time musical numbers, Michael's music is somewhat responsible for one phenomenon that doesn't want to quit.

At No. 2, flash mobs. Remember that prison in the Philippines that went viral with this dance to "Thriller" in 2007? It inspired thousands of imitators. (Via YouTube / byronfgarcia

Flash mobs still go viral today — there was the Harlem Shake craze of 2013 that rocketed a year-old song to the top of the Billboard chart. 

And there have been memorable proposals. (Via YouTube / Spencer Stout

Flash mobs aren't the only MJ-inspired videos to go viral, though. California teen Brett Nichols took the Internet by storm this spring with a Michael Jackson dance routine at his high school's talent show. (Via YouTube / GlobalFlare

Which brings us to No. 3 — the modern pop star model. Michael was the first artist to turn music videos into movie-style productions. (Via MMJ Productions / Michael Jackson

That made MTV and its now-defunct "TRL" relevant. 

Michael was also the first pop star to land a major endorsement deal with Pepsi

Today, it seems like everyone's a soft-drink spokesperson. (Via Coca-Cola

And he made being a triple-threat a prerequisite. (Via MMJ Productions / Michael Jackson

The Disney generation of performers — including Miley, Selena and Demi — has Michael to thank for making those multiplatform careers possible. 

That brings us to No. 4, all the people who are influenced by the King of Pop. Michael proved a prepubescent pop star was viable. (Via SOFA Entertainment

Paving the way for artists such as Justin Bieber, who has credited MJ with being one of his major influences. (Via The Island Def Jam Music Group / Justin Bieber

The Biebs is not alone — everyone from Christina Aguilera to the Backstreet Boys and Madonna, to Usher and Justin Timberlake has cited the star as inspiration.  

And Justin Timberlake takes us home to No. 5, the fact that Michael is still a force in the music industry today. JT teamed up with Michael's creative team for a collaboration on MJ's posthumous album, "Xscape." That's one of two hit records Michael's estate has released since his death. (Via Epic Records / Michael Jackson and Justin TimberlakeMMJ / EpicMMJ / Epic

There was also the breakout concert film "This Is It," which brought in more than $260 million at the box office and created a wave of similar concert documentaries, such as Katy Perry's "Part of Me." 

Cirque du Soleil also put together two different tribute shows — one in Las Vegas and "The Immortal World Tour."

And don't forget about the hologram performance at May's Billboard Music Awards. The "resurrected" Michael could perform for, well, forever. (Via Vevo