New Jackson single makes online debut
Los Angeles — With a familiar high-pitched voice counting off one-two-three-four, a new Michael Jackson single debuted online Monday, prompting a hasty response from the singer’s estate after Paul Anka revealed he was the song’s co-writer.
“This Is It” is featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming documentary featuring the late superstar, but its genesis was actually in 1983 when it was written for a duets album Anka was recording.
The song was titled “I Never Heard,” and Jackson and Anka are credited as co-authors on an early 1990s version recorded by the singer Sa-Fire.
Anka said Jackson’s estate moved quickly to give him credit, promising Anka 50 percent of the song’s profits.
“They did the right thing,” Anka said. “I don’t think that anybody tried to do the wrong thing. It was an honest mistake.”
The string-backed ballad was released on the singer’s official Web site and sent to radio stations. It gives advance publicity to the documentary, culled from footage of Jackson rehearsing for the concerts that he never got a chance to do.
Anka said the song was recorded right around the time Jackson’s “Thriller” album was becoming a smash hit.
Strings were added to the bare-bones recording, along with backing vocals from Jackson’s brothers.
Anka, a former teen idol from the 1950s and ’60s, sang “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” and wrote “She’s A Lady”, one of Tom Jones’ biggest hits.
Newark mayor to settle feud on ‘Tonight Show’
Newark, N.J. — Goodbye YouTube, hello “Tonight Show.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who has garnered national attention for his passionate defense of New Jersey’s largest city, is taking his act to the “Tonight Show.” Host Conan O’Brien has been engaged in a playful feud with Booker since Sept. 23 and scheduled the 40-year-old mayor as a guest on his show Friday.
The exchange began last month when O’Brien poked fun at Booker’s new health care plan for gritty Newark — long an icon for urban decay — saying it consisted of a bus ticket out of town. Booker fought back with a humorous response on YouTube in which he “banned” the 46-year-old redhead from Newark Liberty International Airport.
“I look forward to our summit,” O’Brien said in a statement. “My apologies for bumping Brad Pitt.”
Auctioneer all shook up over selling Elvis’ hair
Chicago — The King may be dead, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to run your fingers through his hair.
Elvis Presley’s hair, at least a clump of hair that Presley may have lost to an Army barber when he went into the service back in 1958, is going on the auction block this Sunday at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago.
The hair is part of a collection of more than 200 items that belonged to or are associated with Presley. There are clothes he wore, scarves he threw to screaming fans — who judging by the yellow sweat stains, never washed them — and Christmas cards he sent. And there are lots of records, some he kept in his own jukebox, and other sorts of memorabilia ranging from Elvis dolls to Elvis wrist watches to Elvis Pez dispensers.
All the items belonged to Gary Pepper. No Hound Dog, Pepper was not only a huge Presley fan and president of a Presley fan club, but a close friend, as many of the photographs of the two together suggest.
Pepper, who had cerebral palsy, died in 1980, three years after Presley, and left his collection to his nurse, and that is who is putting the items up for auction, said Mary Williams, of the auction house.
Tyson on late daughter: ‘That’s my angel’
Chicago — Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson says he doesn’t want to know what led to his 4-year-old daughter’s death.
During an interview on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that aired Monday, Tyson called his daughter Exodus “my angel.” Exodus died at a Phoenix hospital on May 26, a day after her neck apparently was caught in a treadmill cord.
Tyson told Winfrey that he didn’t want to know details of her death because “if somebody’s to blame for it there will be a problem.”
The former boxer says his first instinct was rage but now he has no animosity or anger toward anyone. He called his family “my biggest asset.” Tyson also says his children are “the only thing that matters to me now.”
Carly Simon sues Starbucks over album
Seattle — Singer Carly Simon is suing Starbucks Corp., saying the coffee company’s now-defunct music venture didn’t adequately promote her 2008 album, dooming the record before it was even released.
The singer, whose biggest success came during the 1970s and ’80s with hits like “You’re So Vain” and “Anticipation,” is seeking unspecified damages related to the release of the 14-track “This Kind of Love” in April 2008.
In a lawsuit filed Friday with California’s Los Angeles County Superior Court, Simon and her attorneys said the album wasn’t available in “a substantial number” of Starbucks stores during the key early months following its release. Later, when the disc was stocked in Starbucks locations, the Seattle-based company slashed the price.
In a statement issued Monday, Starbucks said it met all its contractual obligations and even extended the amount of time it promoted the album in New York and Boston.