Michael Jackson songwriting mix-up: Why Paul Anka still isn't credited for 'This Is It'

Sharp-eyed fans who stay in their multiplex seats til the very last moments of This Is It may notice that the film’s end credits list Michael Jackson as the sole songwriter for the track “This Is It” — despite the Jackson estate’s admission two weeks ago that famed singer Paul Anka co-wrote the tune. The liner notes for the This Is It soundtrack, too, are missing Anka’s name. What gives?

Turns out it’s all in the timing. “The film had already been locked and prints were being created when the song’s credit was determined,” a representative for Sony Pictures tells the Music Mix. The rep added that Anka “will receive his rightful credit moving forward.”

Similarly, a Jackson representative tells the Music Mix that the first run of soundtrack CDs was printed before the songwriting mix-up came to light: “It just shows you, they really didn’t know!” Plans are currently underway to add Anka’s name to the liner notes of all future pressings of the CD, which should arrive in stores soon.

A rep for Anka declined to comment.

So now that that’s cleared up, let us know: Did any of you notice Anka’s missing credits at the movies or on the soundtrack?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Kris Allen album snippets hit the Web early: Surprise!
‘New Moon’ soundtrack outsells Tim McGraw on the albums chart
Adam Lambert’s outre-space ‘For Your Entertainment’ cover
Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga reissues: Super awesome bonus fun, or money-grubbing ripoffs?

Photo credit: Anka: David Factor; Jackson: Kevin Mazur

Comments (19 total) Add your comment
  • John

    Paul Anka, he of the monster-killing jingle “Just Don’t Look”?

  • Tyrien

    Yes I noticed the Anka’s credit was missing at the end of the movie.

  • Chappel

    Paul Anka really believed that the Jackson family would give him credit and part with a single penny of the money they can still milk from Michael Jackson? That family will be fighting over the money Michael’s empire makes until they are all dead.

    • Paula

      What did the Jackson family have to do with this? The only Jackson member who has a say-so in Michael Jacksons estate is his Mother, you don’t see any of his family members talking about hie estate, so stop the bashing.

  • Nicole

    No real MJ fan like myself gives a rat’s a$$ about Paul Anka’s credit. And MJ wrote better songs solo.

    • Sean

      The point is, Nicole, that Paul Anka did write half of the song (and was sought out by Michael Jackson as a writing partner) and deserves credit as well as royalties.

      • Paula

        You have lost your mind if you think Michael Jackson sought anyone out to help him write a song. Look at the credits of all the songs in “This Is It” and see who wrote, produced and sang 90% of them. Did you know the it only took Michael Jackson a few minutes to writh “Billy Jean”

        I don’t believe Paul Anker had to much to do with the writing of that song. I noticed his name was not there and was glad it wasn’t. I hope I can get a CD with his name missing.

  • OriginalDemo

    Paul Anka had nothing to do with the original demo This Is It based. Search public catalog of US copyright agency website, you’ll find:
    This is it / Michael Jackson.
    Type of Work: Music
    Registration Number / Date: PAu000668598 / 1984-11-16
    Title: This is it / Michael Jackson.
    Description: 1 sound cassette.
    Copyright Claimant: Mijac Music
    Date of Creation: 1980
    Authorship on Application: words & music: Michael Jackson.
    Names: Jackson, Michael
    Mijac Music
    Jackson took the demo to Paul Anka. They changed the title and lyrics, and filed “I never heard” copyright in 1991. You can find this title on the same website as well.
    The latest released song “This is It” was based on Michael’s original demo which had nothing to do with Anka.

    • Paula

      I don’t believe and when I first heard about it I didn’t believe Paul Anker had anything to do with this song. Michael did not go around stealing songs from people, he didn’t have to because he was a great song writer himself without anyone contribution.

      There is another group who sued Michael and others for copying their song and they won the suit but Michael received the harmony from someone else who didn’t tell him it belong to another group.

      Michael would have never taken the rights of someone elss’s song.

      • Paula

        Michael was to charitable of a person to steal the rights of others. He gave over 300,000.000 dollars to charity, how could such a person have the mindset to steal? Not possible.

  • Samantha Delynne

    Thats sad that pop star Michael Jackson isnt Alive to solve this problem thanks to Dr murray.I liked watching pop star Michael Jacksons videos Bad Back in 1987.Dirty Diana Back in 1988.The way you make me feel Back in 1988,They were great videos back then.

  • Danya

    “Mix-up” is a very charitable way to describe it.

    • Paula

      This song was chosen after Michael Jackson’s death from over a 100 songs he had. No one but Michael would have know (if it is true) that Paul Anker had something to do with this song, so in this case it was a true “mixup”

  • Sarah

    Agreed Danya here; “mix-ups” like this have cost mucho money in the past, and I commend Anka for being as good of a sport about it as he is. This is It was kind of a big deal, and credit on a piece like that should be given readily–screw what’s already been printed. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have sent out prints with Michael Jackson or the name misspelled–so why this?

  • Trey

    dude just look up “this is it” by safire…michael didn’t write it….he just made it BETTER! cause michael rules>.<

  • Trey

    Anka, a teen idol of the 1950s and 60s who wrote the lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s signature song, announced that Jackson’s record company has agreed to pay him 50 per cent of all royalties from the late star’s This Is It.

    It was “ACCEPTED” that Anka had co-written the song with Jackson in 1983 for an album of duets, and it was later released under a the name I Never Heard by Safire, a Puerto Rican singer.

  • Trey

    so he didn’t really write it…it’s just kinda like a cover up type thing. anyways michael jackson has to be my fav singer:) R.I.P MJ):

  • DEE

    I just would like to say, ‘Yes, Paul Anka, indeed wrote Michael Jacksons neest song: ‘This Is It’….I am very PROUD of Paul’s works throughout the many., msny talented artists out there that he made famous. Have some respect for Paul Anker/ BRAVO!!!~ BRAVO!!!~ Paul:)

    Love, DEExoxoxo

    PS- I’ll be writing to you later in the day for one of your songs I may suggest someone to sing it or I will myself…Talk soon dear:)


  • DEE

    It’s past 2:00am n noticed all the mistakes I made…
    Here it is once again:

    Wed 08/18/10 1:54 am, I just would like to say, ‘Yes, Paul Anka, indeed wrote Michael Jackson’s newest song: ‘This Is It’….I am very PROUD of Paul’s works throughout the many., many talented artists out there that he made famous. Have some respect for Paul Anker~Paul’s one of the greatest superstars that have roamed this place we call earth. He twinkles with other stars, but his is always shining brightly :)!~BRAVO!!!~ BRAVO!!!~ Paul:)
    Love, DEExoxoxo
    PS- I’ll be writing to you later in the day for one of your songs I may suggest someone to sing it or I will myself…Talk soon dear:)Thank You Paul.

    ~Love, DEExoxo

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