Love Never Felt So…Familiar

 Photograph: Rex Features

At the 2014 “debut” of the new/old Michael Jackson song “Love Never Felt So Good”, most people heard the Jackson/Paul Anka composition for the first time.

The re-worked 1983 demo then appeared on Jackson’s poshumously-released Xscape album.

But the song had seen previous release. After Jackson failed to make a finished version of the song in ’83, Anka re-worked the lyrics and sent it to Johnny Mathis, who included it on his 1984 A Special Part of Me album.

The 1984 production of the song bears a strong relemblance to Japanese singer Junko Ohashi’s “I Love You So”, also released that year.

Compare the intros of the two songs.

How Eddie Van Halen’s Uncredited Guitar Solo on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ Came to Be

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

(via ET) By Meredith B. Kile‍

Following Eddie Van Halen’s death on Tuesday from a lengthy battle with cancer, the late rocker’s friends and fellow musicians took to social media to remember the legendary musician and Van Halen founder.

Van Halen, who founded his iconic eponymous rock group with brother Alex in 1972, is widely regarded as one of the most talented guitarists in rock history and was a consistent presence in the group through several hiatuses and lineup shifts.

However, something casual fans might not know is that one of Van Halen’s most memorable contributions to music history didn’t have his name on it at all. The guitarist played an unpaid, initially uncredited solo on one of the biggest pop songs of all time: Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

Read more:

Video of the Week: Miguel Rivera’s Solo Guitar Arrangement of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’

A Portrait of Michael Jackson at 50: A Sad and Ruined Life Nearing its End

mike 1

The above image is thought to be what Michael Jackson would have looked like at age 50 without surgery, extrapolated by experts using childhood photos.

The below article appeared on the UK Daily Mail site on August 28, 2008, less than a year prior to Michael Jackson’s death. It carries additional impact with the perspective of subsequent events (i.e. Jackson was preparing his This is It comeback concert series at the time of his death).

In one sense, Jackson wasn’t quite finished as a performer after all. In another, he was closer to the end than even the writer imagined.

by J Randy Taraborrelli for MailOnline

mike 2

A middle-aged man wearing pyjamas is being pushed in a wheelchair down a sidewalk by an assistant. He is gaunt and frail-looking. His skin seems to be peeling. His fingernails are a sickening shade of yellow-brown.

Beneath a red Marines baseball cap a surgical mask is visible, covering the bottom half of his face. A pair of large sunglasses shield the top.

Three children walk ahead – two boys and a girl. All seem happy and look adorable in colourful clothing. Their baseball caps do not seem a deliberate attempt to shield their faces.

‘Slow down,’ the man commands in a hoarse whisper, but the children ignore him and quickly cross the street to stand in front of a bookshop.

When the man in the wheelchair finally catches up, one of the children dutifully holds the door open as he is wheeled inside.

‘Thank you,’ he mutters weakly. All seems calm, but then – just as the children are about to follow the man into the shop – a stranger approaches the smallest of them.

‘Was that…?’ she begins to ask. The boy is about to answer, when a large man steps between them.

‘No. That was not,’ he says, taking the boy by the hand and rushing him inside. But, just before the door swings closed, the young boy turns to his inquisitor, smiles broadly and mouths just two words: Michael Jackson.

Welcome to the very sad world of Wacko Jacko. The scene I’ve just described is typical of what goes on in his life almost every day in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he now resides…

Read more:

How Paul McCartney and John Lennon Lost Ownership Of The Beatles Catalogue

paul and mike

via Celebrity Net Worth

by Brian Warner

In 1982 Michael Jackson flew to England to record the song “Say, Say, Say” with former Beatle Paul McCartney at the famous Abbey Road studio. This was the second musical collaboration between Paul and Michael, the first being 1981’s “The Girl is Mine” which was featured on Jackson’s smash hit album “Thriller”. While working on “Say, Say, Say”, Paul invited Michael to stay with him and his wife Linda at their home in suburban London. One fateful night, after the three finished dinner, Paul took out a thick leather bookl and laid it out on the dining room table. This particular book listed every song and publishing right that Paul had acquired over the last 10 years. He made it clear to Michael that owning publishing rights was the only way to make really big money in the music industry. Paul further bragged that in the last year alone, he had earned approximately $40 million off his music catalogue.

“Every time someone records one of these songs, I get paid. Every time someone plays these songs on the radio, or in live performances, I get paid.”

Paul also clarified that none of those earnings came from Beatles songs because amazingly, he did not own them. Ironically, this free advice would come back to bite Paul in the butt two years later when Michael purchased the entire Beatles catalogue for $47.5 million. Paul felt appropriately back stabbed and his relationship with Michael was damaged forever. But how on earth did Paul McCartney and John Lennon lose ownership of The Beatles catalogue in the first place??!!

Read more:

Video of the Week: A Date With Michael Jackson Minus the Music…

…is a creepy looking thing indeed.



Five Kick-Ass Isolated Guitar Tracks


(Source: NME)

1. Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘Free Bird’

It’s  undoubtedly one of the greatest guitar performances of all time: the late Allen  Collins ripping through the monster-sized solo from Lynryrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free  Bird’. And you thought it was hard to play on Guitar Hero

2. Michael Jackson – ‘Beat It’

Here’s  Eddie Van Halen solo-ing on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’. Steve Lukather of Toto playing the iconic riff, also available isolated on YouTube – just one  reason why Gibson Guitar Corporation named him among the top 10 session  guitarists of all time.

3. The Stone Roses – ‘Love Spreads’

If you  were in any doubt that John Squire is up there with the greatest British  guitarists, listen to this incredible isolated guitar part from ‘Love Spreads’.  You can find the other instruments isolated on YouTube too, meaning if you’re  incredibly bored you can open all of them at the same time and pretend you’re  with them in the recording studio.

4. The Beatles – ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’

It’s not as cleanly isolated as some of the others, but the sound of  ol’ slow hands Eric Clapton guesting on George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar  Gently Weeps’ is that of a master at work. He really starts to make it wail at  about two minutes in.

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Under The Bridge’

Stunningly intricate guitar-work from John Frusciante on this: more  fragile than you might imagine.

Billie Jean Early Demo: ‘And I Sit, in a Cup, in a Ride’…or Something.

And from the Thriller 25 Super Deluxe Edition, this early demo of “Billie Jean”.

Just to be clear, tracks like this are “bonus” tracks, meaning you can pay extra to own them.

The Top-Earning Dead Musicians of 2012

(Source: Forbes)

Zack O’Malley Greenburg, Forbes Staff

Michael Jackson may not be the top-earning dead celebrity anymore–last week he ceded that title to his friend, Liz Taylor, on FORBES’ annual list–but he’s still the world’s best-paid musician, living or dead. The King of Pop pulled in $145 million in 2012, the third straight year of nine-figure earnings for the “Thriller” mastermind.

Jackson isn’t the only musician raking it in from beyond the grave. In honor of Halloween, we present this year’s list of the top-earning dead musicians: six singers, songwriters and composers who earned more than $5 million from October 2011 to October 2012 despite no longer walking the Earth. They account for nearly half the names on our overall dead celebs list, thanks to continued demand for their music, image, name and likeness.

Some of the most creative business deals of music’s dead legends have come from the estate of Michael Jackson. In addition to continued revenues from the work of other artists (through his 50% stake in the Sony/ATV publishing catalog) and his own material (the Mijac Music catalog), the Gloved One’s latest large revenue stream is the Michael Jackson Immortal World tour. The joint venture with Cirque Du Soleil grossed $160 million during its first leg, making it the most successful tour in North America during the first half of 2012.

Jackson’s $145 million total would be even higher if FORBES hadn’t credited the advance for the Cirque show to last year’s $170 million total. Expect the bonanza to continue in 2013 as the tour goes to other parts of the world, where Jackson enjoys arguably even greater popularity that he does in the United States.

Elvis Presley ranks second on this year’s list with $55 million (matching the earnings of Justin Bieber). The King of Rock n’ Roll’s earnings are flat this year—the closure of his Viva Elvis show in Las Vegas was offset by an uptick in Graceland attendance due to 2012′s unusually warm weather. The estate’s value was clear to billionaire Leon Black, whose Apollo Global Management purchased CKX, the parent company of American Idol and the estates of both Elvis and Muhammad Ali, for $509 million last year.

Bob Marley claims the third spot on the list with $17 million–more than living herbal enthusiasts like Wiz Khalifa or Snoop Lion (the artist formerly known as Snopp Dogg). Not necessarily known for commercial ventures during life, Marley has become a diversified businessman from beyond the grave. In addition to selling over 75 million albums in the past 20 years, he’s recently added the Marley Beverage company (home to the “relaxation drink” known as Marley’s Mellow Mood) and House of Marley (producer of eco-friendly audio and lifestyle products) to his portfolio.

The rest of the list is rounded out by Beatles–John Lennon and George Harrison continue to share in the group’s spoils (over 63 million albums sold in the U.S. alone since 1992)–along with composer Richard Rodgers. Though the latter’s Rodgers and Hammerstein body of work sold for a reported $200 million back in 2009, his estate continues to benefit from his solo works and collaborations with Lorenz Hart, including songs like “Blue Moon” and “This Can’t Be Love.”

There were a few big names who didn’t make the Top 13, perhaps most prominently Whitney Houston. Though the singer signed a $100 million record deal in 2001, she still hasn’t earned back the $30-$40 million advance she received as part of the deal, and didn’t leave behind much in the way of unreleased material (for more, see the story “Why Whitney Houston Didn’t Make Forbes’ List Of Top Earning Dead Celebs”).

Jimi Hendrix, Les Paul and Tupac Shakur all pulled in more than $3 million, but not enough to make our list. Watch out for Shakur next year–his holographic appearance at Coachella in early 2011 could be a sign of big things to come.

  1. Michael Jackson
  2. Elvis Presley
  3. Bob Marley
  4. John Lennon
  5. Richard Rodgers
  6. George Harrison

Near misses:

Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, John Lennon, Richard Rodgers and George Harrison are the only dead musicians who earned more than $5 million over the past year. But there were a few who were right on the bubble — including Jimi Hendrix, Les Paul and Tupac Shakur, all of whom are still earning millions annually in the afterlife.

18 Things You Didn’t Know About Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”

"Thriller" Was The Seventh Single From "Thriller"

(Source: BuzzFeed)

The King of Pop was nearly excommunicated from the Jehovah’s Witnesses for making the most famous video of all time.

And more…

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