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Local News

Michael Jackson’s Death Strikes Chord with Local Fans

Products fly off the racks at businesses as customers reflect on the legacy of the entertainer

After fans heard that the King of Pop had died of cardiac arrest Thursday, Michael Jackson products flew off the racks at Santa Barbara businesses.

Within 10 minutes of the music legend’s death, For Your Entertainment, 3307 State St., had sold out of all Jackson products, including singles, full-length CDs, imports and limited box sets, according to store manager Matt Diaz. One customer submitted a $400 order.

“A lot of people have been coming in, and nearly every customer has been asking (about Jackson products),” he said. “Most have been very supportive.”

One fan showed support by placing a red rose in the empty racks, Diaz said.

Jackson, 50, was not breathing when paramedics arrived at his Bel Air home shortly before 12:30 p.m. Paramedics performed CPR, then took him to UCLA Medical Center, where he was in a deep coma and later pronounced dead.

“(Although) I didn’t like that type of music, he was good at what he did,” customer Alec Silbermann said. “He really changed dance music, and made a huge difference.”

Jackson rose to fame in the late 1960s as the lead singer of the Jackson Five. He would later go solo and record Thriller, the best-selling album of all time and the winner of eight Grammy Awards.

On June 13, 2005, the former Santa Barbara County resident was acquitted by a jury of 10 felony charges for child molestation.

Silbermann said people should remember Jackson for his music and not the accusations that plagued him. “Critics cannot overlook what he did (to music),” he said.

Customer Tony Becchio said Jackson’s death is comparable to that of music legend Elvis Presley, who also died abruptly.

“I’m sure he had a lot of music left,” Becchio said. “I wasn’t really a huge fan, but I grew up with him.”

Diaz said he was a big fan of Jackson’s and had met him when he visited Jackson’s 2,800-acre residence, Neverland Valley Ranch near Los Olivos, after being invited as a guest.

“He was such a good, good person,” Diaz said. “From a music standpoint, that’s who people emulated.”

The FYE store in Goleta also saw a recent spike in Jackson sales but said some products are still available.

Jackson fans worldwide have been downloading his music at a rapid pace. Jackson has six of the Top 10 most downloaded songs on iTunes, and seven of the Top 10 on Amazon.com.

An unprecedented amount of Google and Yahoo searches also have been done on the entertainer, leading both search engines in hits.

“No one’s ever going to be able to replace him — like you know how people say that Justin Timberlake is going to be the next Michael Jackson? I don’t think (that will happen),” customer Michelle Colfax said.

Noozhawk intern Kenny Lindberg can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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