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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Michael Jackson’s second career takes off this week

    Simpson Herman and Laura Harley attend the celebration of the life of Michael Jackson at Steelyard Stadium in Gary, Indiana, Friday, July 10, 2009.

    LikeElvis Presley,Jimi Hendrix,Bob Marley,Kurt CobainandTupac Shakur,Michael Jacksonis just beginning his career as Pop Star Who Will Never Really Die.

    His movie “”This Is It,”” based on rehearsal footage for the tour he was supposed to begin in July, comes out Tuesday night, and his first posthumous album, the movie soundtrack, is also out. Four months after his death, he’s one of the most active performers in the music business, and he’s up for five American Music Awards, too.

    MORE MUSIC: “”This Is It,”” a lovesick ballad — co-written withPaul Anka— with slinky funk guitar and strings, is Jackson’s first “”new”” song since he died. And it just happens to share a title with the movie. The song is actually one of the hundreds of unreleased tracks he left in the vaults, according to estimates from Sony Music executives, and surely just the beginning of a flood of new releases. Before his death, Jackson recorded with R&B star Akon and the Black Eyed Peas’, among other hot producers, but it’s unclear when that music will reach the public.

    THE FILM: A 12-minute clip for the film was previewed for the media last week, showing Jackson practicing and singing in fine form, according to The Associated Press. Though the King of Pop looked frail, he playfully danced with a woman as he sang “”The Way You Make Me Feel”” and was shown warming up during a performance of “”Human Nature.””

    REALITY SETS IN: Before Jackson’s death, ex-Jackson 5 singers Jackie, Jermaine, Tito and Marlon were filming the A&E reality show “”The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty.”” It’s still supposed to air in December — and is likely to be a bigger ratings bonanza than it was before June 25. The preshow drama:Will Jackson’sthree children — Prince (12), Paris (11) and Blanket (7) — appear? A&E reps first said “”no”” but later pleaded too-soon-to-tell.

    MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Speaking ofJermaine Jackson, the singer is still planning a tribute show, “”In Memory ofMichael Jackson,”” in London next June. “”Several leading artists”” will participate, Jermaine writes on, and the still-to-be-announced venue will hold 70,000 people. If this thing actually comes together, here’s hopingPia Zadorawill show up to revisit “”When the Rain Begins to Fall,”” her smash 1985 duet with Jermaine.

    ESTATE BATTLE: The battle for Jackson’s estate remains in limbo. On one side, his court-appointed executors, attorneyJohn Brancaand music-business veteranJohn McClain, have made massive deals worth $100 million, much of it from the “”This Is It”” movie. On the other, Jackson’s mother, Katherine, has been complaining that her family lacks “”a seat at the table,”” and has been shuffling attorneys to help her gain more control in L.A. courts.

    DEATH CAN’T STOP HIM: Jackson has sold 5.9 million solo albums since his death — provoking sad flashbacks to 1982, when “”Thriller”” all but pulled the record business out of a recession. “”Without a doubt, (Jackson’s death) helped the music industry,”” saysSilvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s charts director. “”But the lifeblood of the music industry is new acts, and you can’t rely on these kinds of occurrences to sustain an industry.”” Jackson is likely to be the best-selling artist of 2009; album sales overall are down 20 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan.


    (c) 2009, Newsday.

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    Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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