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Michael Jackson's style influence lives on

  • One year after his untimely death, it's clear Michael Jackson's legacy lives on
  • Lady Gaga owes an enormous creative debt to Jackson
  • You'd be hard-pressed to find a pop star who hasn't been influenced by Jackson's style

CNN's Don Lemon speaks exclusively with friends and family members about Michael Jackson's last days in "Michael Jackson: His Final Days," 8 p.m. ET Friday on CNN.

( -- One year after his untimely death, it's clear that Michael Jackson's legacy lives on.

His influence over the worlds of music and fashion is still strong enough that Lady Gaga -- currently the reigning queen of the charts and an undisputed master in the Jackson-pioneered art of manufacturing buzz -- recently hoisted her own star even higher by announcing that she'd been asked to open for (and duet with) the King of Pop on his ill-fated "This Is It" tour.

It's not surprising that she'd boast: Like virtually every other singer of her generation, Gaga owes an enormous creative debt to Jackson.

And it goes way beyond the innovative role he played as a trailblazer of the music video (although Gaga's latest mega-efforts in that field certainly do credit to the form.)

InStyle: Lady Gaga's most gaga outfits

Jackson was dressing in over-the-top metallic ensembles back when Gaga was still in diapers, and though the elaborate masked outfits she's worn everywhere from the MTV VMAs to her little sister's high school graduation may have a high-fashion precedent, they also call to mind the period when a paparazzi-weary Jackson began parading around Bahrain in a burka.

Rihanna, too, has lately taken a few pages out of Jackson's book. Last week, an exec at her label announced that "our bar for [her next] album is Michael Jackson's 'Thriller,'" meaning they're hoping that every song on it is a hit.

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She sampled his "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" for her song "Don't Stop the Music," and she's been seen in a number of Jackson-esque garments, most recently a pair of shining ankle socks that strongly evoked his signature sequined pair.

InStyle: Stars channel Michael Jackson's iconic style

But one would be hard-pressed to find a pop star who hasn't been influenced by Jackson's inimitable style: Usher dances in natty black and white and a very MJ hat in the video for his current smash, "OMG." Justin Timberlake, too, has borrowed Jackson's sense of showmanship -- and, at times, his fedora.

InStyle: Stars pay tribute to Michael Jackson

The rhinestone-laden jean shorts that Katy Perry donned for her new "California Gurls" clip call Jackson to mind -- he loved to add improbable amounts of glitz to quotidian items, like jackets, shirts, and (again) socks.

And the shining metallic ornament Beyonce wore on her left hand throughout the "Single Ladies" era seemed inspired, in part, by Jackson's single glove.

Even eleven-year-old actor Jaden Smith -- who was born well after the King of Pop's heyday (and is himself the spawn of another musician, former Fresh Prince Will Smith) -- recently pledged allegiance to Jackson's style: At the June 10th premiere of his film "The Karate Kid," he walked the red carpet in black pants, a crisp white shirt and a carbon copy of Jackson's red-and-black leather "Thriller" jacket.

InStyle: Michael Jackson's 10 greatest fashion hits

From Gaga to Jaden Smith and so many more before, Michael Jackson's influence and reach spans stars of all ages and genres. For more on his legendary style, including his top ten looks and other famous fans, visit now!

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