Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rant #110: "This Is ... Paul Anka"

The ongoing saga of Michael Jackson continues, and this time, Paul Anka has somehow gotten into the mix.

It seems that Jackson’s posthumous single, “This Is It,” is actually a collaboration from more than a quarter century ago between the so-called “King of Pop” and the singer/songwriter who had many, many hits of his own including “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” and "Diana."

Word leaked out about the song, and Anka’s lawyers evidently got busy when they heard that the song was actually recorded in 1983 for a planned Anka duets album. One thing or another happened, and the song was not released at that time, but was later released under a different title by a singer known as Sa-Fire.

Anka has publicly stated that nothing untoward happened between his and Jackson’s camps, it is just that they needed to be reminded that he collaborated with Jackson on the song, and should be credited as such.

I guess he can feel confident in saying that, since Anka will now receive 50 percent of all the profits made off the song, which is also the centerpiece of the new Michael Jackson concert film, “This Is It,” which will premier soon.

Some might say that Anka has more than enough money. He’s been a hitmaker and popular performer for more than 50 years, and his “Tonight Show” theme was heard for decades on Johnny Carson’s late night talkfest.

Funny, that song was originally written for and recorded by--under a different title--Annette Funicello!

Also funny about this whole thing is that Anka has been known to (legally) cop other people’s songs himself. Anka’s “My Way” is the English version of a French song “Comme D’Habitude.” Anka wrote the English lyrics, but is often mistakenly credited with writing the entire song.

However, the real story is that Anka heard the song, thought it was an awful song but liked it enough to pursue it, flew to Paris to negotiate the rights to it, and the rest is history—it has been recorded by everyone from Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley to Sid Vicious.

So now, I guess everyone is happy. Anka gets proper credit, the Jackson camp doesn’t have to go through any legal haggling, and the world can hear this “new” Jackson song.

Now that that is settled, maybe we are one step closer to finding out if Jackson’s doctor should be arrested for “killing” the pop singer. I mean, we want to find out the "truth," and we don’t want activist Dick Gregory to starve himself to death much longer, do we (Ranting and Raving, July 30, 2009)?

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