This should definitely open up a vicious debate.

The most influential artist or group in the history of pop music.

And it’s only natural to open it on the 4th anniversary of the passing of “the King of Pop!”

How did Michael change the face of music?

I guess we have to look back to 1979 with the release of the album “Off the Wall”, when he went against the advice of his record label and brought on board famed jazz producer Quincy Jones to produce the album.

The rest is, more or less, history.

History is made yet again in ’83 with the release of “Thriller” by adding Eddie Van Halen’s chilling guitar work to the song, “Beat It!” It was an especially chancy move given the fragmentation of pop that had been taking place at the time.

You also can’t discount the fact that had it not been for Michael Jackson, MTV might never have opened up its playlist to include the multitude of RnB artists that had videos; including the creation of the popular series “Yo, MTV Raps!”
I’m just skimming the surface of his contributions. You can probably fill in a few more.

According to this:

Hundreds of fans gathered Tuesday in front of Michael Jackson's final resting place — the Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale — to recall the late pop idol four years after his death.

Fans from all walks of life and from around the globe lingered in front of the famed mausoleum, chanting “Michael” and leaving behind thousands of red roses.

“He was a very giving and a special person to me,” said Reeta Pursiainen, who flew in from Finland for the anniversary. “Everyone is here for one reason and one reason only.”

Four years after Jackson died from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, his death continues to grab headlines.

A lawsuit filed by his family accuses concert promoter AEG Live and two of its executives of negligently hiring and supervising Dr. Conrad Murray, who was convicted of administering the deadly dose of propofol.

Murray is currently serving time in jail after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Jackson's mother and three children filed the lawsuit against AEG, which was producing a series of concerts that the singer was to headline before his untimely death. The entertainment giant contends Murray worked for Jackson and that any money it was supposed to pay the doctor was an advance to the singer.

Every year since Jackson's death, throngs of fans have arrived at the picturesque Great Mausoleum with flowers, posters and other mementos to commemorate him.

This year, admirers from the fan group One Rose 4 Michael J. Jackson placed thousands of roses outside the mausoleum that had been collected from fans all over the world, according to member Melanie Freeman, who lives in Arizona.

“Many of these fans can’t be here today,” she said. “This is personal for them. They know that part of their heart and Michael, as [part of] their family, is here. It means a lot to them.”

Bring it….just take the poll and list who you feel the most influential artist or group was/is in pop music?

Hard not to look past the Beatles, but I'm sure you can think of a couple more I'm leaving (through no fault of my own) out of the conversation!