Paul Anka co-wrote 'new' Jackson song
Michael Jackson's estate acknowledged Monday that Paul Anka co-wrote the singer's first posthumous new single, This Is It, which was released at midnight Sunday on Jackson's official website and sent to radio stations.
After the song's release, many listeners noticed its resemblance to a song titled I Never Heard, which Anka and Jackson co-wrote and recorded in 1983.
"It's exactly the same song," Anka told the New York Times. "They just changed the title."
After it was recorded, Anka said Jackson took the tapes. Anka said he threatened to sue to get them back and now has the original tapes in his possession, along with documentation that the copyright for the song was held by both men.
Anka told the newspaper Monday that he had not been contacted about the use of the song, which credited only Jackson as a writer.
Later in the day, Jackson's estate issued a statement saying "the song was co-written by the legendary Paul Anka."
The Ottawa-born singer and songwriter said record executive John McClain, whom Jackson named as an executor in his will, also called him to apologize and say that he would receive all due credit and royalties.
Anka said Jackson's estate moved quickly to resolve the situation, and he's been promised 50 per cent of the song's profits. He said he's satisfied with the outcome.
This Is It is the first song from an upcoming musical documentary featuring the troubled superstar. It's the first new material by Jackson to be released since his sudden death in Los Angeles on June 25.
Jackson sounds confident and almost playful on This Is It, which features his trademark breathy vocal style, perfected over the years since he was a child sensation with the Jackson Five.
He is backed by lush vocals from his brothers, giving the recording a nostalgic, familiar feel.
It is a mid-tempo number with orchestral backing that is played during the closing sequences of the documentary, which opens Oct. 28 for a limited two-week run. It features rehearsal footage shot shortly before Jackson's death.
"This is it," goes one verse on the new song. "Here I stand. The light of the world. I feel grand."
The song is available on Jackson's official website and will be sent to radio outlets.
Documentary features rehearsal footage
It will also be part of the two-disc CD set that will accompany the movie in what is expected to be a worldwide marketing blitz to capitalize on the surge of emotion that followed the singer's death.
The documentary, also called This Is It, features footage of Jackson rehearsing for his planned London concerts, which were to mark his return to the stage after a lengthy absence caused in part by a series of legal and personal problems.
Jackson's death at age 50 is still being investigated.
The Los Angeles County coroner has ruled it was caused by acute intoxication by the anesthetic propofol, with other sedatives a contributing factor.
The coroner found the powerful anesthetic was administered without any medical need and that recommended resuscitation equipment was missing.
With files from The Associated Press