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Michael Jackson joins posthumous hit parade

First published on http://www.khou.com/

For posthumous albums, it can be a tough line to moonwalk: honoring a beloved artist’s legacy, while still giving fans something fresh and exciting from their favorite icon. On the fifth anniversary of the King of Pop’s death, USA TODAY takes a look at five releases that ignited the charts and gave new life to music legends.

MICHAEL JACKSON, Xscape (2013)

The numbers:

  • 309,000 copies sold since its May 13 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan
  • Peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard album chart
  • 6 weeks on the chart (currently No. 9)

Why it worked: Xscape hasn’t sold quite as well as the This Is It concert film soundtrack, which arrived four months after Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009 and debuted at No. 1 (selling 373,000 copies its first week). “You don’t have this news event that’s generating headlines to help promote (the project),” says Keith Caulfield, associate director of charts/sales at Billboard. “They had to find a new way to build interest” in Xscape, which included a Michael Jackson illusion singing Slave to the Rhythm at the Billboard Music Awards, along with a Justin Timberlake-assisted single, Love Never Felt So Good, which peaked at No. 9 on Billboard‘s Hot 100.Xscape succeeded because “there was a real desire to try and do something that represented the best of what Michael Jackson did,” with a sound that is “both recognizable and contemporary,” says Rolling Stone contributing editor Anthony DeCurtis. “Some people might think that in itself is problematic, but if you’re going to do it, you want to do it in a way that makes sense for the people that are going to hear it.”

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