Paul Anka, First Casualty of the Michael Jackson Cash In
Those (presumably few) who doubt the rampant cynicism of the post-MJ death blitz would do well to read Ben Sisario's piece in the Times today, which spells out the haste with which the Jackson camp brought "This Is It" to market. The song, it emerges, is not only 16-years-old, but not entirely Jackson's to begin with--he co-wrote it with Paul Anka, then took the tapes and later gave the song to the '80s freestyle starlet Sa-fire, who called it "I Never Heard" when she released it 1991. No one saw fit to mention this to Anka and his lawyers, or to Rob Stringer, the chairman of the Columbia/Epic Label Group, who found out when "Mr. Jackson's fans discussed it online over the weekend." How John McClain, the producer responsible for posthumously arranging the song, expected this to pass without comment or outcry is unclear. (Or he himself didn't know, which is probably worse.) Anyway, now Anka will be paid. By late afternoon yesterday, Sisario writes, McClain had called Anka "to acknowledge his co-authorship and promise 'all due credit and royalties.'" Glad to see everyone is taking such good care of Jackson's estate. Meanwhile, a simple YouTube search for "Michael Jackson" might've easily headed this one off. To wit:
Like Anka said: "It's exactly the same song. They just changed the title."
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