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Michael Jackson: Lenny Kravitz confirms leaked 'collaboration' is genuine

Lenny Kravitz has just released a video statement confirming that the leaked track “Another Day” is indeed a collaboration between himself and Michael Jackson. “The version that’s out is…not mixed, but it is the track,” says the singer in the video. “The song was recorded by Michael and myself. I produced it for him, I wrote the song, and I played all the instruments on the track. It was one of the most amazing musical experiences that I’ve ever had. It was done by two people who had respect for each other and who loved music.” Kravitz also says he has no knowledge as to the identity of the DJ who can be heard on the song.

A portion of “Another Day” leaked to the net over the weekend, and it was widely reported that the track was a collaboration between Jackson and Kravitz. Following Jackson’s death, Kravitz told an interviewer that he “got to work with Michael on a track that has not been released.”

So what happens to the song now? TMZ is reporting the track was “never meant to see the light of day” and that Jackson’s label Sony wants to have the song pulled from the Internet. In Kravitz’s video statement, meanwhile, the rocker says that he would “like to see this thing straightened out as soon as possible” so that fans can “hear the track in its entirety, the way it was meant to be.” You can see the video in full below.

What do you think of Kravitz’s statement and of “Another Day” itself? Is it deserving of a proper release?

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

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Photo credit: Jackson: Kevin Mazur; Kravitz: Radim Rotek/PR Photos

Michael Jackson's Spike Lee-directed 'This Is It' video: Watch it here

Michael Jackson’s posthumous single “This Is It” finally has a music video. Not just any video, either, but one helmed by acclaimed director Spike Lee. Check it out below.

Lee’s clip is a heartfelt tribute to the late megastar, with whom he previously collaborated on 1995′s “They Don’t Care About Us” video. The new video opens with shots of Jackson as a small child — is there anything more heartbreaking? — interspersed with vintage and contemporary images of his hometown of Gary, Indiana. Soon it’s whirling through Jackson’s peak years, with well-chosen performance and candid footage illustrating his worldwide fame. Jackson’s countless fans serve as the clip’s co-star, mourning his loss and celebrating his life. At last, the camera comes to rest on Jackson’s iconic hat and sparkling glove, resting alone on a stool.

Given that he likely had no footage of Jackson performing the song “This Is It” to work with, I’d say Lee’s done a very nice job with this video. How about you? Let us know what you think of the video in the comments below.



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

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Michael Jackson tops 2009 Google and Yahoo search; beats Gaga, unseats Britney

Top engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing have revealed their most popular search terms this year, crowning the late King of Pop the king of online inquiries in 2009.

According to cnet, web traffic worldwide surged 11 percent immediately after his death in June—so much so that Google initially thought it was an attack on its service—and continued for weeks, making him only one of two individual entertainers on their Fastest Rising global searches (Facebook, Spanish social network Tuenti, Twitter and New Moon all came ahead of Lady Gaga in the top 10, though she beat Windows 7).

On Google Zeitgeist’s strictly-entertainment list, Eminem took the no. 3 position, Beyonce no. 5, and Gaga’s “Poker Face” lyrics landed at no. 10, while Amy Winehouse grabbed the booby prize (pun!), taking no. 5 on the Fastest Falling global searches.

Jackson also unseated four-years-running champ turned fifth-place finisher Britney Spears on Yahoo, and helped bump Miley Cyrus out of the top 10 altogether, though she still took the highest spot for most-searched Twitter, thanks to her now-famously-defunct account (Taylor Swift’s tweets grabbed third, behind Lance Armstrong).

What do you think these results say about the Year That Was, readers? Who will storm the list in 2010 (Justin Bieber? Ke$ha? Unknown Idol idols to come?), and who will fall off entirely?

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

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'This Is It': Michael Jackson soundtrack tops the albums chart in a busy week

Michael Jackson’s This Is It won the box office easily last weekend, so it should come as little surprise to find the concert film’s soundtrack topping the Billboard 200, too. The King of Pop’s latest posthumous release sold a strong 373,000 copies in its first week on shelves, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s comparable to the big sales his greatest-hits set Number Ones was putting up in the weeks immediately following his untimely death — and since This Is It is categorized as a new release, Jackson finally gets to take the No. 1 Billboard 200 spot that a technicality robbed him of for much of this past summer.

A busy pack of other new releases crowded into the shadow of This Is It. Creed came Full Circle to No. 2 with a respectable 110,000 copies sold, answering the question of how many people still consider themselves Creed fans in 2009. The public’s appetite for Rod Stewart covers albums remained unwhetted as his latest such set, Soulbook, bowed at No. 4 with 84,000. Trans-Siberian Orchestra‘s Night Castle checked in at No. 5 with 83,000. Sting‘s If on a Winter’s Night… traveled to No. 6 with 80,000.

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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.)

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

Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' soundtrack: EW's review

The soundtrack for Michael Jackson’s posthumous concert film This Is It arrived in stores today. Read on for EW’s review.

Michael Jackson
This Is It: The Music That Inspired the Movie
Pop (Epic)

Legend has it that Michael Jackson left behind hours upon hours of unreleased music when he died this summer — an entire alternate discography lurking in a vault somewhere. His latest posthumous release includes exactly one of those mythical songs: “This Is It,” the uplifting ballad he co-wrote with Paul Anka under another title. If you’re feeling generous, you can count the minimally distinguishable “Orchestra Version” of “This Is It” as another new track. Either way, it’s a decent if slight addition to Jackson’s songbook.

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Michael Jackson 'This Is It' controversy: So who exactly is Safire?

safire_lA lot of questions got resolved yesterday about the new Michael Jackson single “This Is It” — in particular, exactly who wrote the tune. (The answer apparently being Jackson and veteran singer-songwriter Paul Anka.) But you may still be wondering just who is Safire, the singer who originally recorded the track when it was called “I Never Heard.”

Safire was born Wilma Cosme on the island of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and subsequently moved to New York’s Spanish Harlem. In the late ‘80s, she recorded a clutch of singles for Cutting Records and became a leading light of the on-the-rise Latin hip-hop/freestyle scene (a largely regional phenomenon whose ranks yielded stars like Stevie B, Exposé, and Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam).

After signing with Mercury/Polygram, Safire put out her first, self-titled, album, featuring the Marc Anthony-penned single “Boy I’ve Been Told.” Her big commercial break came with the slow-paced 1989 hit, “Thinking of You,” a song dedicated to her uncle, who had passed away from AIDS complications. Spin magazine put her on their cover (see left), and the singer was also featured in the pages of Vogue. In 1990 Safire released a less successful second album, I Wasn’t Born Yesterday, which featured the Jackson-Anka composition.

According to Safire’s current manager Sal Abbatiello, the song was originally intended as a duet between Safire and Anka, whose writing credits also include the English lyrics for “My Way.” “They thought Safire was going to be the next Gloria Estefan,” says Abatiello. “She had put out three big dance records and she was becoming a very well known artist. And then she put out the ballad ‘Thinking of You,’ which was one of the most played records of the year. But when Michael met her in California at the studio, he saw how young and beautiful she was. He told Paul, ‘You can’t do the record with her, she’s too young.’ And he gave her the song.”

Safire continues to perform, and following Jackson’s death earlier this year, she posted a tribute on her myspace page which concluded, “R.I.P. Michael you will truly be missed but you will live on in every song. Love always SAFIRE.”

Of course, one of the songs Jackson will live on through is “This Is It,” or, if you prefer, “I Never Heard.” Either way, you can hear Safire’s version of the track below as well as her biggest hit, “Thinking of You.”

More on Michael Jackson:
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‘This Is It’: Stream it here
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American Music Awards noms announced; Taylor Swift, Eminem, Michael Jackson lead the pack

Today in Los Angeles, Adam Lambert, Paula Abdul, and Snoop Dogg (what a delightful trio!) unveiled the nominations list for the 37th annual American Music Awards, and announced a preliminary list of performers, including Alicia Keys, the Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Lopez and, yes, Glambert himself, making his pre-album, post-Idol performance debut.

Taylor Swift leads the pack this year with six  noms, followed by Michael Jackson with five, Eminem with four, and Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon and T.I. with three apiece.

The show, set to air Sunday, November 22, will have its winners determined by voting at ama.abc.com, amavote.com, and mycokerewards.com. See the full noms list after the jump.

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Michael Jackson single controversy: 'This Is It' is 'exactly the same' as song he wrote with Paul Anka

Paul-Anka-Michael-Jackson_lThe manager of the singer Safire has weighed in on the growing controversy surrounding the new Michael Jackson single “This Is It.” Sal Abbatiello told EW earlier this evening that “This Is It” is “exactly the same” as the song “I Never Heard,” which was written by Jackson and Paul Anka and released by Safire in the early ’90s.

After “This Is It” was released last night it soon became clear to many listeners that the tune, which features on the soundtrack to the forthcoming movie of the same name and is credited to just Jackson, was very similar to “I Never Heard.” Late this afternoon TMZ reported that Jackson “stole” the tapes of “I Never Heard” after Jackson and Anka had written the song and only returned them once Anka threatened to sue. Meanwhile, the New York Times quoted Anka as saying, “It’s exactly the same song. They just changed the title.”

According to Abbatiello, “I Never Heard” was originally supposed to be duet between Anka and Safire. But the manager claimed that, after Jackson met with Safire, he “gave” her the song and told her to put it out with his blessing. Abbatiello also expressed amazement that no one at Michael Jackson’s record company Sony had seemingly bothered to research the possibility that the song had been been previously released. “This is a terrible mistake,” he told EW. “I’m pretty sure Paul Anka has a big case. I don’t know if Safire has any legal right as the artist. I’ll have to contact my lawyers. But, hopefully. They’re advertising this movie everywhere.” (Sony declined to offer any comment on the controversy.)

Check out the clip from Safire’s “I Never Heard” below and tell us if you agree with Abbatiello’s  allegation that it is basically the same song.

UPDATE, October 12, 10pm ET: Jackson’s estate released a statement acknowledging Anka’s work as co-writer of Jackson’s new single and promised him 50 per cent of the profits from the song’s sales. “The song was picked because the lyrics were appropriate because of the name Michael gave his tour,” the statement read. “We are thrilled to present this song in Michael’s voice for the first time, and that Michael’s fans have responded in unprecedented numbers.”

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Michael Jackson’s new single, ‘This Is It’: Stream it here

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Michael Jackson's new single, 'This Is It': Stream it here

This is it, MJ fans — the first posthumous single from the King of Pop, pegged to his upcoming two-disc CD and concert documentary of the 50-date London stand that he didn’t live to complete.

If you think the mid-tempo ballad, with its fingersnaps, soaring chorus and  big-build strings, sounds like classic Michael, you’d actually be right — the song supposedly comes from sessions for his 1991 album Dangerous.

Some listeners may pick up shades of  “Will You Be There” (also from Dangerous) in the melody, but the song still stands alone as a new release — and reminds us of the singular pop talent Jackson possessed. Listen below (after a 30-second ad for the film), and tell us what you think:

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