Though he’d achieved complete commercial domination with Thriller, the King of Pop spent much of the ‘80s looking over his shoulder at the Prince of Paisley Park. As far as MJ was concerned, the musical landscape was big enough for only one eccentric, androgynous, Midwest-raised genre-bending star with killer dance moves and a propensity for Xanadu-like private compounds. He even crafted “Bad” as a duet to serve as their on-mic showdown, but the Purple One turned him down. Over the years they duked it out in the charts, onstage, and even on the Ping-Pong table. The rivalry pushed them towards artistic greatness, but despite a begrudging mutual respect, the pair would never be simpatico.
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