Michael Jackson’s “new” album, ‘Michael’, is out today. We’re taking a look back at his career, his untimely death and the posthumous album that’s got everyone talking. This is the album artwork, created by painter Kadir Nelson in 2009. The oil painting features the popstar in the most key moments of his life.
If you haven’t had a chance to purchase ‘Michael’ yet, then click here to stream the album in its entirety.
The first single to be released from the album, called ‘Hold My Hand’, is a duet with Akon. The music video can be viewed here – it was filmed in California and features real Jackson fans as its cast.
The video’s director Mark Pellington says, “The video is a tribute to all that Michael stands for – life, in all its permutations… a video of memory, healing and joy.”
When Michael Jackson died on 25 June, 2009 he was survived by three children. His daughter Paris reportedly turned her bedroom into a shrine to her father, with pictures of him hanging on her walls.
‘Michael’ was released by Epic Records in conjunction with the Estate of Michael Jackson. Jackson was continuously writing new material with several collaborators before he died, recording everywhere from a friend’s home in New Jersey to studios in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
One song on the album, called ‘(I Can’t Make It) Another Day’, features Lenny Kravitz (who wrote and co-produced it). Recorded during Jackson’s ‘Invincible Era’, the track unexpectedly leaked in 2008, so Kravitz decided to complete it. The song also features Dave Grohl on drums.
According to Teddy Riley, one of Jackson’s producers, more previously unheard material from is set to be released. Riley worked on three of the tracks on ‘Michael’, and he told the BBC, “I look forward to doing the next one and I’m glad I’m on board.”
Another song from the album, ‘Much Too Soon’, was written at the time of ‘Thriller’. Jackson had liked the song, but was never able to find an album to fit it into. It was written by Jackson, co-produced with John McClain and features David Campbell on strings.
50 Cent, one of the contributors on ‘Michael’, has called the album “the 2010 version of ‘Thriller.”
The DVD of ‘This Is It’ was released in March and has earned more than $250 million worldwide. Michael Jackson was recently recognised by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences with a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his recording of ‘This Is It!’.
While sales of Jackson’s albums skyrocketed following his death (more than 31 million copies sold worldwide), sales began to dwindle. According to Billboard, Sony has been telling retailers that it expects the first three weeks of ‘Michael”s release to top the first three weeks of his 2009 hits collection ‘This Is It’.
In addition to the millions of album sales, more than 40 million songs and 4.5 million ringtones have been downloaded since Jackson’s death.
Custom-made furniture Jackson had ordered for his mansion in England were auctioned off in Las Vegas after his death. Jackson reportedly spent $700,000 (£466,600) on the 22 pieces of furniture. All profits were given to the Jackson family.
Sheryl Crow, who toured with Jackson in the 1980s, said: “Like so many other people, I didn’t really weigh the importance of his presence until he was gone. The Jackson 5’s ‘ABC’ record was the first album I ever owned, and Michael ended up giving me my first gig as a back-up singer.”
It is estimated that Jackson’s estate generated at least $1 billion (£675m) last year, meaning that Michael became the world’s top earning dead celebrity, outranking designer Yves Saint Laurent. Nearly $200 million of Jackson’s $500 million debt has been paid off.
Mayor Rudy Clay of Gary, Indiana (Jackson’s hometown) announced plans to erect a $300 million museum and performance complex in the singer’s name. It will take between three and five years to complete, and groundbreaking is expected in early 2011.
Billboard projects that through the rest of 2010, the release of ‘Michael’ will boost sales of his music enough for Jackson to account for 2.7% of Sony’s full year sales and 22% of Epic’s sales.
During a recent auction in Beverly Hills, California, Jackson’s famous glove, which he wore during his ‘Bad’ tour in the late ‘80s, sold for a $330,000, while a signed jacket went for $96,000 and one of Jackson’s fedoras was purchased for $72,000.
Figures are also estimated at 400,000 copies of ‘Michael’ sold in its first week of release, according to Billboard. Sony projects that CD sales in the first week could total 340,000 with another 60,000 in the form of digital album sales.