“Breaking News” is, simply put, breaking news. Michael Jackson’s debut single, “Breaking News,” from the upcoming album “Michael,” was made available to the public Monday morning on the singer’s official website, MichaelJackson.com.
It has been nearly a year and a half since Michael Jackson died, but the King of Pop has been a major force on the airwaves in record sales since his passing. The estate and Sony, the parent corporation of Jackson’s record label, Epic, is moving to make certain that those sales remain steady as they move toward a December release date for Jackson’s first posthumous album.
Sony’s teaser of “Breaking News,” released last week, met with immediate controversy. Michael Jackson’s children, who had been with him when he recorded some of the tracks that will appear on the album, reportedly denied that the tracks were made by their father. Katherine, Jackson’s mother, added her voice to the fray. Sony insisted that the tracks were authentic, even bringing in sound forensics specialists to verify that the vocals had been performed by Jackson.
The latest song from Jackson, just one of several hundred songs the singer reportedly recorded over the years that were never released, is a direct condemnation of his treatment at the hands of the press and the paparazzi. Not mincing words, in one line the King of Pop wrote, “You write the words to destroy like it’s a weapon.”
But not only did Katherine Jackson and two of the children, Prince and Paris, say their father didn’t record what Sony is releasing, Jackson’s father, Joe, released a statement through his attorney that the album shouldn’t be released because the songs were incomplete tracks that his son never wanted to be made public.
“The songs which are being released on the new Michael Jackson album were unfinished and incomplete tracks that Michael said over and over many times he never wanted released,” Brian Oxman, Joe Jackson’s attorney, stated. “We should honor Michael Jackson’s wishes.”
Further complicating the issue of authenticity was the release of “Opus None,” another Jackson recording that purportedly came from the “Michael Jackson vault” of unreleased music held by the estate, by Katherine Jackson’s business partner, Howard Mann. He announced that the song was released to fans for free, with the blessings of Katherine Jackson. When Jackson family member’s began to protest that Katherine didn’t even know about the release, Mann issued an apology. As it turned out, TMZ reported that the song wasn’t a previously unreleased song, but a previously “unreleased remake.”
Sony issued the statement: “We have complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own.”
The family says it is not authentic. Sony says it is. Even if “Breaking News” becomes a hit, it is doubtful whether or not the dispute will end anytime soon, becoming just another controversial chapter in the life of a controversial performer.
“Katherine Jackson’s Partner Backtracks on “New Song,” TMZ.com
“New Michael Jackson Song ‘Breaking News,'” MichaelJackson.com
“Michael Jackson’s Official Single ‘Breaking News’ Debuted In Full,” AceShowbiz.com