Michael Jackson’s New Album Xscape: How Good Is It?

Source: Digital Spy – By Lewis Corner


It’s the news fans have been expecting for a while now – Michael Jackson has a ‘new’ album of previously unheard material coming out in May.

Naturally, posthumous albums completely divide opinion. One side doesn’t want to resign themselves to the fact they will never hear anything new from their idol ever again, while the other argues their loyalty to protecting the legacy left behind. Considering the tepid response to MJ’s first posthumous release Michael, we can see why the latter may ring truer when it comes to forthcoming album Xscape.

Truth is, while Jackson’s estate may be scraping the barrel to stitch together yet another money-spinning collection, we have to remember that it’s a pretty astonishing barrel to be scraping. After listening to Xscape for the first time, you’re left with the sense that only the very best of what Jackson has left behind has been “contemporised” and nothing more.

The first track bursts with flourishing strings, before layering on ’80s disco beats and crisp finger clicks. “The night is going to be just fine,” Michael assures us – and while the standard could never reach his pop peak, the groove of the track is soaked in nostalgia. We should probably note at this point that we don’t know any titles for the tracks yet, because they haven’t been finalized.

Jackson practically gave birth to the genre ‘dirty-pop’, and track two throws back to that period when you wouldn’t see him on stage without bolshy bass and hip-pop beats. “She lied to you/ She lied to me,” he proclaims in his trademark growl, while the following cut is a flowing ’80s-tinged serenade with orchestral bursts and choral harmonies. While we’ve been told that a range of producers such as Timbaland, Darkchild, Stargate and Jroc have “contemporised” the original demos, it’s clear that they’ve also paid homage to the sound that turned MJ into a cultural icon.

Most of Xscape nods back to the height of Jackson’s pop appeal. We haven’t been told when each of the tracks originated from, but their final form echoes MJ’s holy trinity of albums Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad. The fifth song we were played opens with computerized synths as the star’s iconic ad libs of “hee-hee” and “aaaow” smack you with excitement. Echoed snare beats and a storming rawk guitar solo make it one of the stand-out tracks, even if the chorus does hear him dubiously ask: “Do you know where your children are?”

Track number six – which we identified as ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ – begins with a massive string-led swoosh of scenic proportions, before it completely drops into glitchy electronics and rattling beats. Its shuffling groove marks it as classic MJ, making it yet another highlight. Even better, Justin Bieber doesn’t feature on the track after that worrying leak of an alternative version back in 2013.

Quincy Jones may not have had a hand in the project, but the cinematic quality to the songs demonstrates that the school of producers who made contributions to this record have obviously been influenced by his techniques. Song number seven – which might be called ‘Blue Gangsta’ – opens with Bond Theme-styled strings and tinned beats, before hearing Michael complain: “Look what you’ve done to me/ I can no longer smile.” Xscape‘s overarching narrative is what we’ve always loved about Jackson; the superstar who is unlucky in love, but never doubts its power.

The posthumous collection concludes with title track ‘Xscape’, which we know was originally written by Jackson and Rodney Jerkins during the Invincible sessions. It’s the only track which has been re-worked by its original producer, and hears turn-of-the-millennium Jackson snarl over a mix of ’70s disco and ’90s R&B. Its potential for some other-worldly choreography is palpable, which provokes a sad tinge of what could’ve been.

So, is Xcsape any good? There’s been a concerted effort to recapture Jackson during his imperial phase in the ’80s; the music god who effortlessly rolled soul, R&B, electronica, rock and pop into soundscapes of brilliance. No, it’s not as good as Michael at his very best, but then again, it never was going to be.

That said, it’s a considered and worthy collection of reworked gems that remind you of just how important Michael Jackson was – and let’s face it, not many other artists can release their cutting room floor cast-offs and it can still sound this good.

Michael Jackson’s new album Xscape will be released worldwide on May 13. Sony Mobile customers of select new devices, including Xperia Z2, Xperia Z2 tablet and Xperia M2, will be able to download the new album for free on day of digital release through the Xperia Lounge app.

Researchers Claim That Men Who Move Their Head And Right Leg While Dancing Are More Attractive To Ladies

Source: Daily Mail / Scientific Blogging


Men wanting to attract a woman in a nightclub or wedding should definitely hit the dancefloor – with particular focus on shaking their head and moving their right knee.

Researchers used 3D cameras to film men dancing, before asking women to rate how good it was on a scale of one to 10. 

They discovered that a series of specific movements, involving the neck, trunk, wrist, left shoulder and right knee, were the most alluring – and could even reveal clues to a man’s fertility. 

The research was carried out by Dr Nick Neave and Kristofor McCarty, from Northumbria University.

They filmed 19 men aged between 18 and 35 using a 3D camera as they danced to music.

Their individual movements were mapped onto a blank background and each male was turned into a white avatar.


Good dancers made large and varied movements with their neck and trunk

At the other end of the scale, men who moved their arms too much were marked down by the females, pictured left, as were men that did not move enough and kept their arms and legs close to their body, pictured right

The researchers then asked 35 heterosexual women to rate each participant’s dance moves on a scale of one to 10.

Dr Neave said he turned the dancers into avatars so the women would not be influenced by the physical attractiveness of each volunteer.

The study discovered five movement variables made the difference between a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ dancer.  

According to the female participants’ perceptions, good dancers made large and varied movements with their neck and trunk.

Equally, varied movements in the wrist and left shoulder, as well as fast movements with the right knee, were also seen as a signs of good dancers. 

Many of the world’s most famous dancers, including Michael Jackson, are renowned for using these movements – in particular Jackson’s knee swivel in the Rock With You video.


Neave told Scientific Blogging such dance movements ‘may form honest signals of a man’s reproductive quality, in terms of health, vigour or strength’ and this may be why the females found these moves so attractive.

‘This is the first study to show objectively what differentiates a good dancer from a bad one,’ said Dr Neave.  

‘Men all over the world will be interested to know what moves they can throw to attract women.

‘ We now know which area of the body females are looking at when they are making a judgement about male dance attractiveness.

‘If a man knows what the key moves are, he can get some training and improve his chances of attracting a female through his dance style.’

At the other end of the scale, men who move their arms too much were marked down by the researchers, as were men that did not move enough and kept their arms and legs close to their body.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2582565/Want-good-dancer-Its-neck-knee-Men-head-right-leg-seen-attractive.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Michael Jackson’s Musical Treasure Trove: Looted and Leaked

Source: Damien Shields


Over the last week, a number of previously-unreleased Michael Jackson demos have found their way into the public domain, leaking online via media-sharing websites such as YouTube, MEGA and SoundCloud.

The newly-leaked tracks include Jackson’s work-in-progress demos of “Days In Gloucestershire“, “Hollywood Tonight” and “People Of The World”, plus an alternate interpretation of “The Way You Love Me” – a song which previously appeared on the King of Pop’s ‘The Ultimate Collection’ box set in 2004 and Epic Records’ ‘Michael’ album in 2010.

Reactions among Jackson fans have been mixed – about both the quality of the material, and the fact that it has been leaked in the first place.

In this article I will attempt to put the past week’s events into context and perspective, give some additional background information on the origins of the leaked material, and personally address where I stand on the issue. I will also touch on the use of Jackson’s unreleased music in Sony Mobile’s Xperia Z2 campaign, and the speculation regarding the impending release of a new album.

Regarding the unauthorised leaking of unpublished Michael Jackson material, I often use this analogy: If a new, unseen Picasso piece was discovered, how would it be unveiled to the world – if at all? Would someone take a snapshot or scan of the artwork and upload it to Instagram or Facebook to then share the link with their social network of friends online? I’d certainly like to think not. The likelihood is that, assuming the piece’s authenticity could be verified, it would be sold and either showcased and preserved in a museum, gallery or exhibition, or perhaps kept privately in someone’s personal art collection.

The parallels between Picasso and Jackson are many. Both men are arguably the most recognisable figures of the 20th century in their respective artistic fields. Picasso was highly conscious of his relevance and importance in the history of art, as was Jackson about his place in music, dance and entertainment history. Both kept copious handwritten notes about their work, and were highly selective and protective about which pieces would be seen by the public. Picasso was known to have placed bids on his own pieces at auction in order to retain personal possession of them, while Jackson frequently stated that his perfectionism meant he was never truly satisfied with anything he did.

That perfectionism also applied to the new album Jackson was working on at the time of his death – the very album that some of the recently leaked tracks were being developed by Jackson for.

“He’s taking his time on it and being extra, extra picky,” explained Ne-yo (in a 2008 interview) - who ultimately spent two years (2007 – 2009) writing and submitting ideas for the ill-fated album.

“If he doesn’t like something, he’ll explain to me why he doesn’t like it,” continued Ne-yo. “He’ll say, ‘I just think the melody could be better’ or ‘I think that a stronger lyric could go here.’ … He’s never told me he didn’t like something and not given me a reason as to why. This is going to be a big album for him, so he’s taking his time. We want to get the music right.”

However, as with most of the material Jackson worked on in the final years of his life – both alone and with others – no vocals were ever recorded on any of Ne-yo’s ideas.

Another artist who knows of Jackson’s perfectionism, and the limitations it had on his productivity, is Akon. He too was working on what would have been Jackson’s next album.

“He was never satisfied,” recalls Akon. “We passed up ideas that I know for a fact in my heart were smashes. He’d be like: ‘Nah, nah we’ve got to come up with something better!’ I’d be like: ‘Mike you can’t get no better than this – what do you mean?’ to which Michael would respond: ‘No, trust me. If we can create this, we can create better!’ And I promise you; as soon as we create something better than that, he’d say: ‘We can do better!’ So we could never do better, because his expectation was so high.”

“I think that was one of the main reasons why it took so long for him to create a project and for him to be happy with it; because he was so hard on himself and such a perfectionist to a point where no matter how incredible the record was, he believed it could get more incredible. Like, we never finished!”

“With me music was always fun. But with him it was a legacy, and a reputation, and a standard that he had to continually match or get beyond, because he had accomplished and done so much, to a point where he had to expand higher than where he was already at. He created a standard so high for himself that he could not see himself lose.”

Perfectionism aside, another thing that stood between Jackson and the completion and delivery of unreleased music on his preferred terms, timeframe and platform, was unauthorised leaks.

The last decade of Jackson’s career was plagued by leaks – some more prolific than others. A collection of unreleased songs and demos from both the ‘Thriller’ and ‘Dangerous’ album recording sessions became available online at different stages, as well as an assortment of other illegitimately shared tracks.

But perhaps the most damaging leaks of his career, and those that upset Jackson the most, were that of “Escape” in 2003 and “Hold My Hand” in 2008.

When “Escape” (also known as “Xscape”) began circulating online, just fourteen months after the release of the ‘Invincible’ album, Jackson was said to be furious. So much so that he had his team issue takedown notices to any website sharing a link to download the track, and issued a statement discouraging fans from engaging in the piracy of his unreleased materials.

Jackson’s exact plans for “Escape” were never realised and have never been made completely clear. The song itself, a collaboration between Jackson and producer Rodney Jerkins, remains officially unreleased to this day.

Fast-forward five years, and Jackson is preparing his first new album in seven years. “Hold My Hand”, one of only two completed collaborative efforts between Jackson and Akon (the other being “Wanna Be Startin’ Something 2008 from ‘Thriller 25′) was, according to Akon, set to be the lead single from the project.

Jackson was well-known for keeping his unreleased music projects under lock and key, sharing his material with a very select group of trusted friends and family. One of those privileged enough to hear the track before it leaked was his nephew, Taj Jackson.

“’Hold My Hand’ was the last song my uncle Michael ever played to me in person,” Taj remembers. “He was so proud of it. I’ll never forget that smile he had on his face as the song played through the speakers (in his room) at the Palms Hotel in Vegas. After the song was over, he asked me what I honestly thought of it. I told him it was a worldwide number one song and that it was going to be huge. He was so happy to hear that.”

“Mike came up with this brilliant marketing launch for the record,” recalls Akon. “You know, he’s the best at launching a record. He’d have the whole world paying attention in two minutes.”

But unfortunately for Jackson, and Akon, the song leaked prematurely online in June of 2008, preventing them from bringing the track to completion and derailing plans to release it as a single.

Following these leaks Jackson became wary of the potential security breaches that come with recording in public studios. This resulted in far less vocals being recorded during the final years of Jackson’s life, and far less time spent in actual recording studios, with collaborative sessions being moved to makeshift studios in houses, bungalows and hotel rooms more often than they had been in the past.

Since Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009 leaks have become a major problem for The Michael Jackson Estate and Sony Music/Epic Records. Within a fortnight of his passing a snippet of the song “A Place With No Name” had surfaced courtesy of TMZ. The complete track would later hit the internet. A snippet of Jackson’s collaboration with Lenny Kravitz, “Another Day”, leaked in early 2010, and by the end of the year a bunch of other songs including “Blue Gangster”, “Slave To The Rhythm”, “Love Never Felt So Good” and “Do You Know Where Your Children Are”  had all emerged online, free-of-charge, outside of officially sanctioned Michael Jackson releases.

More recently some of Jackson’s less-complete materials have hit the web, including “I Am A Loser” in September 2013 and now “Days In Gloucestershire”, “People Of The World”, “Hollywood Tonight” and an alternate mix of “The Way You Love Me” – as previously mentioned in this article.

“People Of The World” is a song Jackson wrote and recorded a demo for in 1998. The song was written by Jackson for J-Friends, a Japanese recording group comprised of the existing groups Tokio, V6, and KinKi Kids. J-Friends was formed to raise funds for the education of children involved in the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. On January 13, 1999 a complete version of the track was released by the group.

“The Way You Love Me” and “Hollywood Tonight” both originate from the early ‘Invincible’ sessions in 1999, with re-mixed versions of both tracks released over a decade later on the Epic Records album ‘Michael’ in December 2010.

“The Way You Love Me” was originally called “Hanson” and was being co-written by Jackson and Brad Buxer as a demo for the group Hanson. (You know.. MMMBop!) Jackson, however, took too long to complete the demo, and the chance to present the song to Hanson had come and gone. So, he kept the track for himself. The version of “The Way You Love Me” that leaked this week is not a version that Jackson or his collaborative team had worked on during his life.

“The Way You Love Me”, “Days In Gloucestershire” and a bunch of other previously-recorded unreleased tracks dating back as far as the 80s, including “Throwin’ Your Life Away” and “Don’t Be Messin’ Round”, were given to producer Neff-U in 2008 to see what direction he could take them in. Since then, a Bad-era version of “Don’t Be Messin’ Round” has appeared on the 25th anniversary re-issue of the ‘Bad’ album.

With anticipation of a new album starting to build in the fan community, Sony has announced the advertising campaign for their new Xperia Z2 mobile phone. Front and centre in their debut video ad is a brand new remix of Jackson’s unreleased track “Slave To The Rhythm” – produced by Timbaland (see below).

Timbaland’s is the third different version of “Slave To The Rhythm” that fans have heard over the last three years. First, fans heard Tricky Stewart’s interpretation of the track. For reasons unknown, that version failed to make the ‘Michael’ album in 2010. In August 2013 a fresh new version produced by Max Method featuring Justin Bieber’s vocals in a duet with Jackson hit the internet. The Jackson/Bieber version wound up on radio for a day or two, until the Estate denounced the track.

Despite having heard three separate versions of “Slave To The Rhythm” in as many years, Jackson’s fans are still yet to hear the original version of the track – the way the King of Pop himself last heard it. However, if Epic Records still intends on releasing the album it had in mind late last year, that might change – with both the remix and original versions set to be included.

But what do all these leaks mean for the new album? Will the fact that fans already possess the tracks that have leaked deter Epic Records and The Estate from including those tracks in the new album? Is there even any unreleased material with complete enough vocals that fans don’t already know about? Can we expect any surprises on the new album?

If history is anything to go by, the fact that things have been available to fans for quite some time won’t deter them at all. Of the ten tracks on the 2010 ‘Michael’ album, one (“The Way You Love Me”) had been previously released on 2004′s ‘The Ultimate Collection’, one (“Hold My Hand”) had been leaked in full since 2008, one (“Another Day”) had been partially leaked since earlier that year and had also been previously-released by Lenny Kravitz under the title “Storm”, one (“Behind The Mask”) had been previously-released by both Eric Clapton and Greg Phillinganes, and the vocals on three (“Breaking News”, “Monster” and “Keep Your Head Up”) are deemed to be fake by Jackson’s entire family and the majority of Jackson-enthusiasts.

Aside from the vast number of already-leaked tracks, there are some items of interest that Jackson fans have not yet heard that do include complete vocals – like “She Was Lovin’ Me” for example. Unfortunately for fans, however, that kind of material is edging closer and closer to extinction.

The harsh fact of the matter is that fans themselves are somewhat responsible for the lack of unheard material. When a song is leaked, most of the time it has leaked via a fan. It is then posted on fan sites, shared with fans, and downloaded by fans. Fans are the ones whose appetite craves unreleased Michael Jackson material. Fans are the ones who seek it out. And fans are the ones who leak it. Then, when an album comes out, fans are the first ones who complain that “we’ve heard half of this stuff before.”

In my personal opinion, these leaks are a big problem and I do not support them. To take it a step further, in my opinion, releasing these things at all is a problem. It just doesn’t sit well with me at all.

Sure, it’s nice to hear Michael’s unreleased songs and his work-in-progress demos. But that’s coming from a fan of the King of Pop with that previously-mentioned appetite for his material.

But what about how Michael Jackson feels? Michael Jackson the perfectionist, the man who always wanted to do better, to continue his legacy, to maintain his reputation, and to match or go beyond the personal standards he set for himself. Do we, the very people who claim to “love” Michael, care about that? I certainly do!

The reality of the situation is that Michael Jackson did NOT want us to hear this material in the state it was in when he died, or in any state not personally put under the microscope for him to dissect, perfect and approve. Now, that’s not to say Michael NEVER wanted us to hear his new music – he clearly did! That’s why he was working so hard on it. But he never completed it to a standard in which he wanted us to experience it.

Michael Jackson did not work on “Hollywood Tonight” over the course of ten years, write additional verses and a bridge (that, unfortunately, he never got record), for Teddy Riley, someone who played absolutely no role in the song’s conception or evolution, to come in last minute and flip the entire track on it’s head while taking away all context and meaning that Jackson worked so hard to build within the track. But that’s exactly what happened.

I’ll revert back to the Picasso comparisons for one moment here. If an unseen Picasso draft or sketch was discovered, but it was only partially complete, would it be acceptable for one of today’s artists to come in, fill the gaps, choose the colours, the thickness of the brush strokes, the mood of the piece, the style, the types of paint used and “complete” the painting? No, it would absolutely not be acceptable.

Yet with Jackson’s art, this is happening all the time. In fact, many of us encourage it to happen out of our own personal greed-fuelled desires to obtain and cling to any minuscule iota of “Michael Jackson” material we have not yet looted.

I mentioned earlier in this article that in the case of a Picasso piece, it might be displayed in a gallery, a museum or an exhibition of some description. It certainly wouldn’t be uploaded via Instagram the way Jackson’s songs are leaked via YouTube.

So what is the solution?

If I believe Michael Jackson’s unpublished work should not be leaked, or even “officially” released, is there any way that I believe it would be appropriate in which to showcase this work to the public? Yes. There is. And it already exists.

Brad Sundberg was Michael Jackson’s longtime studio technical director. He made sure that Jackson was happy with the way his recording studios were set up, and that everything sounded perfect. And now, he’s taking his knowledge of Jackson’s standards and applying them to studio settings all over the world with his “In The Studio With MJ” seminars.

For me, this is the as close to a museum or a gallery as you can get – if not closer! And I believe this would be the most appropriate way for Michael Jackson’s unpublished materials to be showcased.

Now, Sundberg’s current seminars don’t completely eliminate the possibility of leaks and online file sharing. In fact, attendees of some of his recent seminars have betrayed his trust by secretly recording portions of his audiovisual presentation. As a consequence, there is a possibility that those recordings will make their way online. A couple of them already have! The implementation of a basic metal detector examination prior to entry (like at the airport) and the compulsory surrender of all electronic devices would certainly nip that issue in the bud for future seminars.

Okay, back to reality now.

In 2010 The Michael Jackson Estate signed a $250 million, 7-year, 10-project deal with Sony Music Entertainment, allowing the record label the exclusive rights to publish Jackson’s entire discography, including both previously-released and unreleased materials, until 2017. There is no way in hell they are going to stop publishing Jackson’s unreleased materials – especially while fans are more than happy to throw their money at them for it.

As a compromise, I’d simply ask fans to stop leaking previously-unpublished materials to the public. I’d also ask the record label and Estate to bring in the people that Jackson was working with – not random big shot producers who are strangers to the material. If Jackson left notes or instructions, follow those notes or instructions – don’t defy them they way you have in the past. And with everything you do, be diligent, be thorough, be transparent with fans, and provide as much background information as possible.

Read more of Damien’s writings here: http://www.damienshields.com/michael-jacksons-musical-treasure-trove-looted-and-leaked/

Michael Jackson’s Signature Explained

Source: dangerouserabby


Note: This is a photo of an old magazine clipping. I’m posting it just for fun and it is not to be used as a scientific measure of Michael’s personality. We know that most of this is true about him anyway. I have written the descriptions below if you can’t see the writing.

Bottom – Left Side: His love for simplicity and simple things is shown by the readable way in which the name Michael is penned.

Bottom – Middle: These swirls and loops throughout his signature reveal that he is a very graceful mover.

Top – Middle: His rounded and bubbly signature typifies his untainted, child-like imagination

Top- Right: These searching and penetrating strokes into the lower zone of his signature reveal that he has incredible stamina. It’s a very exciting signature.

Right side: Notice the star Michael has attached to the end of his name. It’s in the lower zone of his signature – the zone which relates to sex and money – which indicates that he was good at both. 

tumblr_m86chhOfSs1ruabwto1_400 (1)

Source: fy-b-o-n-k-e-r-s

Spike Lee Reveals Why His 2009 MJ Birthday Tribute Was Moved To Prospect Park

Source: NY Mag – By Joe Coscarelli


Spike Lee dropped by Pratt Institute for a Black History Month lecture on February 25.  His talk extensively mined the hot-button issue gripping his beloved former neighborhood and borough regarding gentrification, referencing a NY Times article written about it. (See: “Argument Over a Brownstone Neighborhood”“I don’t believe that,” said Lee.

And for the next seven minutes he explained, with passion, humor, and a fair amount of profanity. (Explicit language has been taken out for posting.)

“Nah. You can’t do that. You can’t just come in the neighborhood and start bogarting and say, like you’re Columbus and kill off the Native Americans. Or what they do in Brazil, what they did to the indigenous people. You have to come with respect. There’s a code. There’s people.”

“You can’t just — here’s another thing: When Michael Jackson died they wanted to have a party for him in Fort Greene Park and all of a sudden the white people in Fort Greene said, “Wait a minute! We can’t have black people having a party for Michael Jackson to celebrate his life. Who’s coming to the neighborhood? They’re gonna leave lots of garbage.” Garbage? Have you seen Fort Greene Park in the morning? It’s like the Westminster Dog Show. There’s 20,000 dogs running around. Whoa. So we had to move it to Prospect Park!”

“I mean, they just move in the neighborhood. You just can’t come in the neighborhood. I’m for democracy and letting everybody live but you gotta have some respect. You can’t just come in when people have a culture that’s been laid down for generations and you come in and now s*** gotta change because you’re here?” 

Click here to read more and hear audio:  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/02/spike-lee-amazing-rant-against-gentrification.html

Jacksons Planning Neverland Tribute To Michael

Source: Review Journal – By Norm Clarke


The entrance to pop star Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch home is seen in this file photo, in Santa Ynez, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Michael Jackson’s siblings reportedly wanna be startin’ somethin’ that would be to Las Vegas what Graceland is to Memphis.

The pitch involves a replica of Neverland, including an auditorium for occasional performances, and a gift shop.

“They’ve been shopping the idea to the biggest hotels on the Strip for two years,” a source said. “They want to emulate Graceland.”

The concept bears a close resemblance to the pop singer’s vision described in this space by the late dealmaker Jack Wishna before his death in June 2009.

Jackson brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon currently have a foothold on the Strip with their 40-show “Rocktellz and Cocktails” deal at Planet Hollywood. They’re looking for a venue that offers high- volume foot traffic for the Neverland project.

Jackson owned Neverland, named after the fantasy island home of Peter Pan, from 1988 to 2005. Jackson’s parents reportedly own the property, which has remained closed since Jackson’s death.

Graceland Mansion, the home of Elvis Presley, became one of the most-visited private home attractions after Presley died Aug. 16, 1977.

Read more: http://www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/norm-clarke/jacksons-planning-lv-tribute-michael

The Ghost of Jealousy

Originally posted on dancing with the elephant:

Willa: So Joie, on a number of occasions when asked about the scandals that surrounded him, and the way the media turned against him and really vilified him in later years, Michael Jackson suggested that one cause was jealousy. And I always interpreted that to mean that certain individuals (like Evan Chandler) were jealous of him, and that’s certainly true.

But then Lisha McDuff, Harriet Manning, and I did a post a few weeks ago about blackface minstrelsy and how it was motivated in part by envy – racial envy. And then the other day I was listening to a 2002 phone interview with Steve Harvey, a black comedian and radio host, and I was really struck by the fact that when Michael Jackson talked with him about jealousy, he said “us” – not “me” but “us,” that people are jealous of “us” – and I think that “us” means…

View original 3,400 more words

Michael Jackson Net Worth: Why The IRS Death Tax Is Wrong

Source: Inquisitor


If you consider Michael Jackson’s net worth and the reality of the IRS death tax it seems to be a case where these taxes on inheritance show just how crazy the tax code can be.

In a related report by The Inquisitr, Jackson’s estate is claimed to owe $702 million in taxes. The executors of the estate claimed Michael Jackson’s net worth was only $7 million when he died but the IRS claims it was more in the range of $1.5 billion since in 2009, the year of his death, the maximum estate tax stood at 45 percent.

Forbes says the estate is unlikely to end up paying that amount because he wasn’t on anyone’s billionaire list at the time and Michael Jackson’s debts were piling up. The IRS tax bill also arbitrarily claimed all of the singer’s memorabilia was worth around $434 million while the estate said it was only $2,105. There’s also a larger discrepancy in reports because celebrity sites claim he was actually worth around $600 million while the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Jackson family claimed he would have been worth $40 billion if the singer hadn’t died at age 50.

Interestingly enough, if Michael Jackson’s death had occurred a year later in 2010 there wouldn’t have been a death tax at all since the law was repealed. But as part of the fiscal cliff deal President Obama brought back the death tax. The only good news is that it tends to only affect the rich since the estate tax exemption is $5.34 million (in the 1990′s it could easily have affected man middle class families) and the highest federal tax rate an estate pays in 2014 is 40 percent. States may also levy inheritance taxes on the family.

Some have claimed that the death tax can cripple family businesses and especially family-owned farms. For example, the value of the land itself is part of the estate tax and some families are forced to sell their farms just to pay off the IRS. Even the New York Times, which tends to side with Democrats on many issues, once wrote that estate taxes are wrong:

“I don’t like the estate tax on moral grounds. It’s wrong for the government to tax people twice, once when they earn the money and once when they give it away, if the giving away is done after death, an arbitrary and unpredictable deadline. It’s wrong for the government to create a tax that benefits tax lawyers and insurance companies for their creativity in structuring tax havens rather than helping to make the world a better place. And it’s wrong to tell the richest Americans that they will be punished for sharing the fruits of their labor or good fortune as they see fit, even if you or I might imagine in moments of hubris and envy that we could spend it so much more wisely.”

Do you think that it’s wrong for the IRS to be levying the death tax based upon a very high estimate of Michael Jackson’s net worth?

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1126323/michael-jackson-net-worth-why-the-irs-death-tax-is-wrong/#9pRPvDbPMPTGk6Cv.99

Forest Lawn Offers Funeral Planning Services At The Glendale Galleria Mall

Source: Los Angeles Daily News – By John Rogers

Funeral at the Mall

LOS ANGELES — We eat there, buy our clothes there and some people suspect teenagers may actually live there. So perhaps it was just a matter of time until funeral homes began moving into the local shopping mall.

Over the past two years, Forest Lawn has been quietly putting movable kiosks in several of the malls that dot Southern California’s suburbs. Malls with the kiosks include the Glendale Galleria. Previously: Forest Lawn mortuary takes its marketing to local malls

The move, by one of the funeral industry’s best known operators, expands on a marketing innovation that appears to have begun at the dawn of the decade when a company called Til We Meet Again began opening casket stores around the country.

“We try to reach our audience where they are at and the mall is a great way to do that,” said Ben Sussman, spokesman for Forest Lawn, whose cemeteries count among their permanent residents such notables as Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.

“And it’s also, perhaps, a way to reach people who might be a little leery about coming directly into one of our parks,” Sussman said.

As to why folks would be leery about that, industry officials acknowledge the answer is obvious: Who really wants to enter a funeral home even one day before they have to?

“Funeral planning is something everybody knows they must do, but at the same time it’s something nobody wants to do,” said Robert Fells, executive director of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association.

“Nobody gets up on a Saturday morning and says, ‘Gee, it’s a nice day. I wonder if I can go out and get myself a burial plot,’” Fells said.

But if they’re strolling past a funeral outlet at the mall, where they’re surrounded by happy, lively people and maybe clutching a bag of Mrs. Field’s cookies, the thought is that they’ll feel differently.

“When they’re going to the mall, people are not going out of need,” said Nathan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Til We Meet Again, which has outlets in malls in Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana and Texas.

So if they do happen to see a place peddling coffins or urns while they’re pricing T-shirts and hoodies, Smith said, it will look far less intimidating.

Forest Lawn’s effort began modestly, with just one kiosk (one of those movable things that usually sell stuff like calendars or ties) in a mall in the Los Angeles suburb of Eagle Rock.

When no one was creeped out, the program expanded to about a half-dozen malls. Now Forest Lawn periodically shuffles them from one mall to another to reach the largest audience.

Unlike the people at other such stations, who can seem like carnival barkers as they walk right up to you and hawk discount calling plans or free yogurt samples, Forest Lawn’s operators are more discreet.

At the entrance to a Macy’s department in the L.A. suburb of Arcadia last year, operators were quick to smile and hand out brochures when approached. But they kept their distance until people came to them.

It was the same at a mall in Glendale last week, where people stopped to examine cremation urns ranging from one with a subdued design of leaves to another that brightly featured the logo for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

Also on display was a recruiting poster for potential future Forest Lawn employees, complete with a picture of the great Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who urged them to consider “joining a winning team.”

Still, not everyone is thrilled with the idea. “You’re in a shopping mall and you’re walking along and there’s a funeral place?” retired high-school teacher Stan Slome said incredulously. “That sounds too deadly.

After thinking it over, however, he acknowledged it’s something that could catch on.

At age 86, Slome said, he gets his share of mail from funeral operators inviting him to seminars at local restaurants, where he can have a meal on them while he hears a pitch on why he should use their services when he exits this mortal coil.

He doesn’t care for that either, he said, but he figures somebody is attending those seminars.

If the mall effort catches on, said Jessica Koth of the National Funeral Directors Association, credit the aging Baby Boom generation at least in part. Historically, people have not wanted to talk, or even think, about their demise.

But Baby Boomers, the oldest of whom are pushing 70, are different. Many are beginning to press for so-called green funerals that don’t require the use of coffins or burial vaults, Koth said. Others want custom-made coffins or urns that say something about who they were.

That often means something that represents a favorite car or sports team, said Smith of Til We Meet Again. He pointed out he even got a request once for a coffin built to resemble a portable toilet — from a guy whose company made portable toilets.

With that mindset, could going to the mall and planning the whole deal just steps away from the Merry-Go-Round really be that unusual?


You Can’t Take My Blues Away

Originally posted on dancing with the elephant:

Joie: So, Willa, I’ve been wondering if you ever go through phases where you don’t listen to a certain song for a long time, and then suddenly, you can’t seem to get it out of your head. Like, for example, there are times when I won’t listen to certain things – like Michael’s early, Motown work – for several months. And then all of a sudden one day, no matter what I do I just can’t seem to get “Dancing Machine” or “Looking through the Windows” out of my head. Do you ever do that?

Willa: I do! And sometimes it isn’t even a song I like.

Joie: Oh, I do that too! I hate it when that happens!

Willa: I know. It’s not so bad if it’s a song you love, but sometimes it isn’t. Though if I think about it, sometimes I realize that song is telling me…

View original 2,648 more words

Justin Bieber Needs to Start Looking to Michael Jackson as Inspiration

Source: guardianlv.com – By Kollin Lore – MJ-Upbeat


Justin Bieber continues to pile on to his “badass” antics with this recent egg throwing investigation. It is clear that the fame has been getting to the young pop star’s head, and before things get too far he should start looking towards his inspiration, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, told Complex Magazine in 2012 that “when [Bieber] looks at who he should chase and who’s setting the bar, we only talk about Michael Jackson.”

The 19-year-old musician has been open himself about his adulation for the late King of Pop. Bieber expressed how he wanted to tell a story in his music video for As Long As You Love Me like Jackson did with his music videos. Furthermore, Bieber was quoted in November last year as wanting to follow Jackson’s time line by having a fifth album out at around the age of 23, like when Jackson released his fifth studio album, Off the Wall (Jackson was 21).

In addition, who can forget Bieber’s pet monkey, Mally, which brings to mind the infamous Bubbles, Jackson’s chimpanzee companion from the 80s to 2003. Bubbles now lives in an ape facility in Florida and is reportedly living a good life, while the last we heard from Mally is that he was seized by German officials when Bieber tried to bring it into the country in May last year.

Even in his actions, Bieber seems to be somewhat inspired by the late King of Pop.

The point to all this?

Michael Jackson was a child star thrust into the spotlight of mega super stardom parallel to what Justin Bieber has been experiencing. Yes, Jackson had some controversial moments throughout his legendary career, but he was always genuinely himself. Meanwhile, Bieber’s antics have started to get out of hand – he is clearly trying too hard to be “bad” and he’s not creating any more “beliebers” with these antics.

In the span of eight months last year the pop star had allegedly kicked the flag of Argentina off the stage at a concert, hung out at a Brazilian brothel for several hours, sped down his gated community with his Ferrari and spat in the face of a complaining neighbor, on top of various other incidences, including problems with the paparazzi.

The late Michael Jackson meanwhile hung his baby over a balcony in Germany in 2002, and there were also the child abuse cases in 1993 and the 2000s. Overall, however, Jackson’s actions have been more based out of his eccentricities than him trying to be someone he’s not.

Justin Bieber is clearly inspired by Michael Jackson as a musician, maybe it is time for him to start looking up to Michael Jackson as an individual and how he handled the pressures of fame as he matured into adulthood, all eccentricities aside of course.

Justin Bieber does not have nowhere near the talent Michael Jackson had at 20, when it comes to dancing, performance, and vocals, and sooner or later his commercial appeal will die off, especially if he continues his recent behavior. If Bieber wants to be remembered throughout the annals of time like Michael Jackson will surely be remembered, he should begin with acting as a role model to the young fans who “beliebe” in him.


People We Mock Now But Will Praise When They’re Gone

Source: za.omg.yahoo – By Tim Molloy


We in the news media have a bad habit of mocking people when they’re alive and canonizing them when they die.

The classic example is Michael Jackson, dismissively called “the self-proclaimed King of Pop” and belittled before his sudden death. The moment he died, everyone dropped the “self-proclaimed” — and the jokes.

There will never be another Michael Jackson. But there will always be artists and celebrities we demean when they’re breathing – only to praise them when they stop. At a time of year when we look back on some of the amazing people we’ve lost, let’s look at some of the ones we still have – and give them their due.


Santa Claus is Coming to Town: The Jackson 5 Or Michael Buble?

Source: Nola

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The kids or the crooner? Who should sings the holiday staple “Santa Claus is Coming to Town?” Michael Jackson gives it all he’s got in this much-played version off the Jackson 5′s 1970 Christmas album — the third of their three top-selling albums that year.

Conversely, Michael Buble swings out with his dreamier version, set in mid-tempo and filled with big-band horn arrangements. He performed the song on his 2011 Christmas TV special again last year; here’s hoping it will be part of his upcoming NBC holiday special on Dec. 18.

Which one is in your holiday rotation?

This is the 11th song in our countdown to Christmas 2013 in which we selected 25 pairs of popular holiday tunes. We’ve gathered old-fashioned or more traditional renditions and pitted them against newfangled or more modern ones. Give a listen. See which one you like best.

Is there another version that is better than either of these? Tell us about it and/or share a comment or link to a track or video in the comments below.

Come back tomorrow for another edition of “Who sings it better?”

The Jackson 5

Michael Buble


How Do You Explain This, Conrad? Michael Jackson’s Fingerprints Were Never Found On The Vials Which Death Doc Claims Pop Star Injected!

Source: Radar Online – Jen Heger/ Boycott Conrad Murray Campaign


Michael Jackson‘s death doctor, Conrad Murray, has insisted the singer accidentally ended his own life after injecting himself with a lethal dose of a surgical anesthetic.

But the singer’s former personal physician has been caught in what appears to be an EPIC lie: The King of Pop’s fingerprints were never found on any of the medical equipment or vials which were found at the Holmby Hills, Calif., death scene.

In his first interview after being released from prison, the defiant doctor said: “That night he just couldn’t sleep. I prescribed him drugs to help, including valium and lorazepam [an anti-anxiety treatment], but he was begging, pleading, close to tears. ‘I want sleep, please Dr Conrad, I need sleep.’ I told him, ‘This is not normal. What I’ve given you would put an elephant to sleep.’

“In the other bedroom [Michael’s private chamber], the police found an open bottle of lorazepam. They found tablets in his stomach. I didn’t give him those. Michael took extra tablets. And he injected himself.”

But as RadarOnline.com first revealed in the middle of Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial, Jackson’s fingerprints were never found on ANY Propofol or Lorazepam bottles, or intravenous tubing.

“The Los Angeles Police Department didn’t find any fingerprints of Michael Jackson’s on any Propofol bottles or the Lorazepam bottles. There were no partial fingerprints of Michael’s or any unknown prints on the medication bottles,” revealed a source close to the initial investigation.

During Murray’s media blitz since being released from jail, the disgraced doctor has said Jackson wasn’t the biological father to his three children — Prince, 16; Paris, 16; and Prince Michael II, 10, who’s also known as Blanket — and that he held the legendary singer’s penis every night whilst he administered Propofol.

In another development, RadarOnline.com has learned Jackson family matriarch Katherine was “implored” by the Deputy District Attorney to seek restitution from the disgraced medico.
But Jackson’s mother refused to pursue that option, because her attorneys who would later unsuccessfully try her wrongful death lawsuit against AEG Live believed it would jeopardize their case.

Said one source: “Katherine now has to read all of this utter nonsense that Conrad is spewing to any media outlet that will listen. Murray is so delusional and narcissistic, the claims that he is making about Michael will only get more sensational.”


Rabbi Shmuley: Martin Bashir Has More Apologizing to Do

Dear Readers:

I debated much about posting this article because of the author, but I decided to because although he is not on my favorites list, he does make a good point about Bashir’s deceitful actions against Michael.  I did remove a paragraph, but other than that, the article is left in tact as written without the direct link. Thanks. CP ♥

Source: The New York Observer – By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Slander of Sarah Palin Echoes Mistreatment of Michael Jackson


MSNBC host Martin Bashir recently apologized for one of the most offensive remarks ever uttered on an American TV news program, insinuating that Sarah Palin, “America’s resident dunce,” and “world-class idiot,” be defecated and urinated on.

Even those who despise Gov. Palin agreed that Bashir had entered a place so repulsive that his reputation might never return.

Yesterday, he said he was sorry and I am someone who believes in granting forgiveness. I trust that Mrs. Palin will do so and move on.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bashir is developing a pattern of unethical behavior that is deeply troubling. And there is lasting damage for previous incidents for which he has yet to apologize, most notably with regards to Michael Jackson.

Among those of us who knew Michael and prayed that he would get his life together, the mention of Martin Bashir’s name evokes contempt.

One of Mr. Bashir’s producers had initially contacted me in about 2000 to pitch a documentary about Michael’s life. I told Michael about it and strongly advised him to decline. “Your life’s not ready to be opened to the public.” I argued that for Michael to be in good physical and emotional health should be a precursor to any elective, much less extensive, public exposure. At the time, Michael seemed lethargic and unfocused. Besides, he was already famous enough and didn’t need this documentary.

Three years later, Mr. Bashir’s documentary Living With Michael Jackson appeared. Mr. Bashir had gone through a different friend of Michael’s who had introduced the two and a deal was made. The documentary depicted Michael as excessively materialistic with a seemingly bizarre relationship with a boy. Mr. Bashir called Michael’s Neverland Ranch a “dangerous place” for children. Mr. Bashir’s voice-over expressed uneasiness about what he viewed as an apparent obsession with children and pledged to confront Michael on certain areas of his life that Bashir found disconcerting.

What was not absolutely not right was Martin Bashir’s deception. What later emerged from footage Michael’s own cameraman took of Mr. Bashir’s conversations with Michael was the interviewer pretending to adore Michael’s unusual lifestyle, parenting and care for other children so as to gain the singer’s trust. What also seemed to emerge was Mr. Bashir using only that material which supported an unflattering image of Michael, prompting even The New York Times to criticize Bashir’s documentary as “callous self-interest masked as sympathy.”

During the 2005 trial involving allegations against Michael, Mr. Bashir was nearly held in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions about deceiving or manipulating Michael for the purposes of his documentary. Mr. Bashir declined to comment on such basic inquiries such as whether Michael signed documents in the presence of a lawyer and how many hours of footage were omitted from the documentary.

Of course, what made Mr. Bashir’s reputation was his interview with Princess Diana in 1995 about her failed marriage to Prince Charles. There are allegations that Mr. Bashir used the same deceptive techniques, feigning support for Diana in order to earn her trust. But at least in that case we have no actual footage of Bashir being two-faced.

Martin Bashir has never been held accountable for pretending to care for Michael in order to persuade him to open up, while all along, it seems his intention was to enhance his own reputation by burying Michael’s. A weird Michael Jackson was going to be a lot more saleable than a mostly normal yet highly eccentric performer. And let’s not forget that Michael faced trial over the boy who appeared in the documentary but was acquitted on all 10 felony and 4 misdemeanor charges.

I want to make it clear that I strongly disagree with Sarah Palin’s comparisons between the national debt and slavery. It was a misinformed and unfortunate comment. But the fact that it evoked such horrible hatred from Martin Bashir should give us pause about a man who seems ready to trample on basic decency in order to get ahead.




Michael’s Medical Records Relating To Pepsi Incident

Source: The Michael Jackson World Network – By Jayne Ross


We have been contacted by Tim Miller, who is a representative of the person who now holds Michael’s medical records for the incident that happened, during the filming of the Pepsi commercial, back in 1984.

Tim is owner, President & CEO of Flatsigned Companies LLC. This is a company that has offered collectibles and autographs to individuals since 1998. In addition to this, Tim is also member of the following institutions:

  • Better Business Bureau, BBB
  • International Society of Appraisers, ISA
  • International Autograph Association Union
  • The Manuscript Society, Corporate Member
  • American Association of Retired Persons, AARP
  • Austin Peay State University Alumni Association, APSU

Tim contacted us because he is upset with the misinformation being stated as fact by the media, relating to these medical records, with most of the journalists embellishing the facts. Therefore, he wanted us, as an MJ Fan Club, to put the facts as he knows them out, so you as Michael’s fans, had better knowledge of the situation. Here is what Tim had to say:

1) In America, the hospital own a patient’s medical records if you have attended a hospital, or a doctor owns a patient’s medical records if you visit a doctor’s office. The patient does not own their own records.

2) After ten years, a patient’s medical records may be destroyed, but this is up to the owner.

3) These medical records including photographs, were found in 2005, near a trash can in a public park, near to the hospital and were disposed of incorrectly.

4) The hospital made no claim or notice to the “finder” that the records were stolen or in any way or wrongfully handled. Therefore, Tim says the old English “Common Law” such as if anyone finds items of value on public land, it comes under the “finders keepers” law, meaning they become the property of the person who found them.

5) The most incorrect statement by the media out there is that there is blood and gore included in the photographs. Tim feels the media is just trying to sensationalise the story and says this is “absolutely false.” The records and photographs are from two different occasions – The first being Michael’s accident during the filming of the Pepsi commercial at the Shrine Auditorium and the second being the plastic surgery Michael had on his scalp to try and hide the burn. Tim adds that you cannot even tell it is Michael in these photographs.

6) There isn’t any blood seen on the first set of pictures. These were taken in February 1984 after the accident. Michael then voluntarily went back to the same hospital in December for plastic surgery. It’s from these pictures that blood can be seen, not in the ones taken from the original injury.

7) The person who found these records was a realtor. They were out picking up aluminium cans, which they did each day in order to collect their value. Tim says that this was a way for them to have money for the day to day costs of raising his children, after the record-breaking real estate collapse and they weren’t selling any real estate due to the unforeseen economic downfall. They were literally “picking up pennies” to feed their kids and then found what they believed to be a gift from God!

8) The “finder” was not connected to any hospital at the time they found the records, but now they do work as an EMT, so the media have taken this and again reported incorrectly.

9) Lady Gaga has not said she is interested in purchasing these records. The media have just assumed she would be interested as she has purchased other Michael related items in the past.

This is obviously a controversial issue and if we, as fans, had found these records, then most of us would have returned them immediately to Michael’s people, but although the “finder” and Tim say they are fans and that they have always supported Michael they also state that because the records weren’t claimed and no claim was ever reported to the authorities by anyone, they now belong to the “finder” and therefore are theirs to do with, as they wish.

If you check these medical records, which you can do by clicking here, you will see that they also include a letter, which was personally signed by Michael, asking that his medical records be given to one of his associates. It does look like these records were not returned at the time for whatever reason, as Michael requested, particularly as they were found close to the hospital. However, having said this, and this is purely speculation and nothing factual, according to Reuters, in February 2004, many items were seized by Santa Barbara District Attorney, Tom Sneddon, from a warehouse that contained items belonging to Michael. Were these documents returned and subsequently part of Sneddon’s haul? Perhaps not, and perhaps the hospital didn’t return the records as requested, but I guess we’ll never know. The date for finding them though, is way too early for them to be included in the Henry Vaccaro warehouse memorabilia.

On the mbc.ca.gov website I checked to see if what Tim was saying with regard to who owns a patient’s medical record under California law, was correct and it states the following;

Who owns medical records? Do the records belong to me?
No, they do not belong to the patient. Medical records are the property of the medical provider (or facility) that prepares them. This includes films and tracings from diagnostic imaging procedures such as x-ray, CT, PET, MRI, ultrasound, etc. The patient has a right to view the originals, and to obtain copies under Health and Safety Code sections 123100 – 123149.5.

The link to this information can be found here.

With regard to how long the records can be kept, the same website states the following;

How long does a physician need to retain medical records?
There is no general law requiring a physician to maintain medical records for a specific period of time. However, there are situations or government health plans that require a provider/physician to maintain their records for a certain period of time. Several laws specify a three-year retention period: Welfare and Institutions Code section 14124.1 (which relates to Medi-Cal patients), Health and Safety Code section 1797.98(e) (for services reimbursed by Emergency Medical Services Fund), and Health and Safety Code section 11191 (when a physician prescribes, dispenses or administers a Schedule II controlled substance). The Knox-Keene Act requires that HMO medical records be maintained a minimum of two years to ensure that compliance with the act can be validated by the Department of Corporations. In Workers’ Compensation Cases, qualified medical evaluators must maintain medical-legal reports for five years. Health and Safety Code section 123145 indicates that providers who are licensed under section 1205 as a medical clinic shall preserve the records for seven years. However, there is no general statute which relates to all other types of medical records.

On checking the information on the Californian “finders keepers” law, we found that the law states that all attempts must be made to try and return the item to its rightful owner. The information was obtained from here.

Tim told us that the “finder” did one interview only, a long time ago with one reporter at the Smoking Gun, in order to let public/hospital/authorities know they had the records; “when they could have simply remained anonymous, sold to The Enquirer, etc… and they didn’t do that,” Tim said. The “finder” now regrets taking this action but Tim states; “it’s too late to do anything about it.” All other media stories on this subject have been generated from ‘The Smoking Gun.’ Tim also added that the hospital had obviously had the records for ten years by this time and the “finder” also didn’t know how to make contact with Michael’s people.

I personally believe what Tim is saying. He is just trying to do his job, getting the best price for his client and he told me his goal is to make everyone happy. If he hadn’t had taken this on then someone else would have. He says; “I hope all see it’s best to have a fan in this position, to have the possibility of getting these to MJ’s children. I believe that’s the best place and where they should go. But they are not mine to decide and I do understand the “finder” wanting literally to help raise and educate his children. They’re a hard working person who’ve never had it easy. Plus, they still haven’t made a penny and has received hardship from some.”

Why have we reported on this?

Tim seems genuinely concerned that we, as fans, weren’t getting the truth and he wanted the truth out there, which I hope we’ve done.

Finding a way to contact Michael’s people is easy, but I guess to the general public it could become a daunting task. If I’d have been the “finder” and not a fan then maybe I would have returned them to the hospital that is shown on the address or taken them to Klein’s office as he’s mentioned in these documents.

Why hang on to them then?

Perhaps they felt it was their ticket to meet Michael, but again this isn’t a fact. We can all speculate and say what we would do, but then the general public aren’t like us, we unfortunately have had to spend most of our lives protecting Michael and everything he stood for.

We might not like that these records haven’t been given to the Estate, I certainly don’t, but I feel sure they have the matter in hand and if something can be done to obtain these documents legally, then the Estate will have it in hand.

Jayne Ross
MJWN President



New ‘A Truth Untold’ Kickstarter Project Asks “Is It Really Michael Jackson Singing?” on 2010 Michael Jackson Album

Administrator’s Note: I would like my readers to know that I am posting this for informational purposes only and not as an endorsement for or against this project. I’ll let you decide. Peace to all. Thanks. CP ♥

Source: PR Web

Fullscreen capture 11112013 75517 AMCleveland, OH (PRWEB) November 11, 2013

A new Kickstarter project launched today by an international team of Michael Jackson fans calls into question three songs released by Epic Records 18 months after the pop superstar’s death.

The songs, “Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up,” released in 2010 on the posthumous album titled, “Michael”, sparked worldwide controversy after questions were raised regarding the authenticity of their lead vocals. Some members of Jackson’s family, former collaborators, friends and fans claim that the songs do not feature Michael Jackson’s signature vocals, but those of a soundalike or vocal impersonator they allege was hired to deceptively sound like Jackson.

A team of dedicated Jackson fans are launching their Kickstarter campaign, titled “A Truth Untold”, to raise the funds required to complete their investigation and to publish their findings in a tell-all book to be released late next year.

Sony Music acquired the three songs in question as part of a package deal with nine other tracks from Jackson’s longtime friend Eddie Cascio and his collaborative partner, James Porte. The pair claim that the songs, commonly referred to as the “Cascio tracks”, were recorded by Jackson in Cascio’s basement during a 2007 family visit.

A Truth Untold, the world’s first crowd-funded Michael Jackson research project, takes a “legacy-first” approach to the King of Pop’s body of work, with compelling new insight into Michael Jackson’s creative process. “It reads as a fly-on-the-wall account through a series of events, including Michael Jackson’s final years in the recording studio, his tragic death, and the battles within his postmortem empire as these questionable songs came to surface,” says Australian contributor, Damien Shields. “We aim to deliver an objective and fascinating piece of investigative journalism with revealing and exclusive interviews, never-before-told stories, and accounts from people on both sides of the controversy,” he said.

The team behind A Truth Untold say that they’re reaching out to other music lovers through the popular Kickstarter crowd-funding site because the scope of their investigation requires added resources. “Michael Jackson’s contributions to music and culture will be revered and studied for centuries to come. The group’s mission is to make sure that the information surrounding one of music’s biggest controversies is properly documented so that folks can draw their own educated conclusions,” said James Alay, one of the team’s U.S.-based contributors.

Social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, have been instrumental in the success of the pre-launch campaign, allowing the A Truth Untold team to connect with their supporters all over the world, using the now-ubiquitous hashtag, #ATRUTHUNTOLD. “It’s truly a global effort, encompassing supporters from every continent and in every time zone. It really goes to show Michael Jackson’s tremendous global appeal, with fans coming out in droves to support our movement, even before we announced our Kickstarter campaign. We hope that the strong show of support translates to reaching our Kickstarter funding goals,” Alay said.

“It is our hope that people from all walks of life, along with the Jackson family, The Michael Jackson Estate, record label, former collaborators and colleagues, friends and fans from all around the world will stand together and collectively raise their voices with us in our quest for the truth,” said Shields.

Funds from a successfully funded campaign will be allocated towards the completion of research, including additional interviews and the retention of an independent forensic musicologist. “And as with all Kickstarter campaigns, funds will also be used to reward backers with our finished product, including both digital and print copies of the book. We’re also thrilled to unveil our incredible premium reward — a truly spectacular once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans to join not one, but two, of Michael Jackson’s producers in a Los Angeles recording studio for unprecedented insight into Michael Jackson’s legendary recording process,” Alay said.

The Kickstarter campaign, A Truth Untold, is now live at http://www.atruthuntold.com


Game Trailers Investigate Michael Jackson’s Involvement with Sonic 3

Source: Sonic Stadium / Game Trailers

The age old debate of Michael Jackson’s involvement in the production of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 soundtrack is nothing new; in fact, it’s something that has been fairly well documented, prominently by the Sonic community, over the last decade. In recent years however, those who were actually involved in the 1993 title have come forward to offer their version of events on the matter.

Game Trailers have produced a 15-minute video detailing the past findings, plus have a few more new interviews, including a video interview with Richard Hector, in which he goes into further detail on his statements made way back in 2005.

The verdict? Well, you will just have to watch!

Check out the video at GameTrailers.com.


Juror 27 Speaks Out On MJJ Community About AEG Trial Verdict And The Positive Impression The Jury Now Has About Michael Jackson

Administrator’s Note: There was a comment made about the Jacksons family in the original comment of the forum member, not the juror. To prevent confusion about the purpose of the story, I have removed that comment.  If you would have a question or comment for the juror or anyone else, you have to go directly to MJJ Community and join to post.  Thanks. CP ♥

Source: MJJ Community

mj (1)

Quote Originally Posted by Victory22View Post
It is increasingly alarming to me how many people seem to be losing the ability to analyze facts critically. It’s scary how any illogical theory or conspiracy theory can be thrown up and people will believe it without paying any attention to the facts. 
Juror 27 Response:
I couldn’t agree more with the bolded. It’s practically an epidemic as far as I’m concerned. I was on this jury, and of all the places I’ve seen where this is being talked about, this community seems by far to be the most level-headed and approachable. So many passionate MJ fans rationally discussing the verdict rather than lashing out in anger is very nice to see, and makes me think this is probably the best place for me to make a small statement. Initially I planned to avoid and ignore all the comments about the verdict after the trial ended. Because as soon as we answered ‘no’ to question 2 in the jury room, I knew how it would be reported and misunderstood (“DURR STUPID JURY HOW CAN CONRAD MURRAY BE FIT AND COMPETENT WHEN HE IS IN JAIL FOR KILLING MJ??? DURRR”). And sure enough, the very first question asked by the media when we got outside was “How could you find Conrad Murray competent?” And of course a bunch of hardcore MJ supporters outside were yelling, calling us stupid and confused, etc. So I figured rather than getting annoyed at misinformation being spread or seeing us called morons ad nauseam, it’d be better to just ignore it all. Well that lasted about a day before my curiosity got the better of me, and I had to peek around to see what people were saying. I had to see if that version of us as idiots was the main narrative going on. Thankfully most people commenting on the verdict are actually looking at what we were instructed to consider, and agree with our decision. We knew from day 1 that no matter the outcome we would have people agreeing and disagreeing with the verdict, and I’m thankful that this jury did not concern itself with what people would say or think about us and decided to follow the instructions and base our verdict on the evidence in the case. Just like our jury foreman, I went into this trial about as neutral as one could be towards Michael Jackson. I was 7 when Thriller came out so I grew up with his music and loved it, but I knew very little about his life other than what I’d seen in the media, and I honestly had no strong feelings about him as a person either way. I walk out of this trial completely understanding why he has so many fans who practically deify him. Who are so strongly attracted to his kind spirit, huge heart, gentle nature, love of his children and mother, etc. I totally get it now.

Every single witness who was questioned about whether they thought MJ was a good father (and almost every one who knew him closely was asked) sang endless praises about his love of his kids. If Prince’s testimony is any indication, MJ was definitely a great father. The kid is bright, intelligent, caring, has great character and a great personality, and I truly believe MJ did a phenomenal job raising him in the few years he was able to. Honestly, every single juror came away feeling very positive about Michael Jackson as a person and father.

I know there was concern about MJ’s image being hurt because of this trial, and maybe to outside viewers it was because of some of the details that came out. But for us in the jury in that courtroom for all these months, we just grew more and more fond of him during the course of the trial.

I’d like to say thank you to all the people I’ve seen here supporting us jurors in our decision, it really means a lot. I will be happy to answer anything I can about the trial if you’d like to ask and if I am able.

Jackson Case Will Change The Tune For Concert Artist Insurance

Source: Reuters - By Sue Zeidler


When Britney Spears takes the stage this December for the first of a heavily hyped 100-show two-year residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, the loudest cheers may come from her insurance underwriters.

Along with the sound engineers and roadies who help stage a concert, insurance underwriters play a large role in making sure a star can get onstage and grab the microphone. Insurers are also key during those times when stars do not show and concerts get canceled.

On Wednesday afternoon, a Los Angeles jury found AEG Live was not liable in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of late pop singer Michael Jackson, in a case where lawyers in court papers had suggested the damages could exceed $1 billion.

The fact that AEG Live found itself at the center of the wrongful death suit had sent shockwaves through the music world in past months, with concert promoters as well as well-known entertainment insurers like AON/Albert G Ruben and Lloyds of Londonexpected to beef up policies for acts they insure and potentially raise some prices.

Even though AEG was not held responsible, insurance experts believe the case has spurred the industry to re-think policies and find ways to prevent similar situations down the road.

The role of Dr. Conrad Murray, convicted for manslaughter for his role in administering a fatal dose of the surgical anesthetic propofol to Jackson, is already prompting changes, say underwriters. In the future, the star or his promoter may be required to carry separate insurance on his entourage.

“The biggest stars all have doctors and their own staff,” said Lorrie McNaught, senior vice president at Aon/Albert G. Ruben Insurance Services Inc, a large entertainment insurance firm, which has handled many of the world’s biggest tours over the last 12 months.

“If you have a security guard who winds up punching someone in the face or kills someone, who is responsible?

“Is it the artist, the bodyguard, the promoter? I think promoters will require stars to indemnify their own staff,” said McNaught. “Even if AEG was not held responsible, I still think this case will make attorneys find ways to tighten contracts.”

An attorney for Lloyds of London involved in the Michael Jackson case declined comment for this story.

The price of premiums also may go up, according to one concert producer who did not want his name used. Currently, promoters pay 3 percent to 5 percent of the value of the policy, meaning that AEG paid between $530,000 and $875,000 for the $17.5 million policy it took out with Lloyds of London for Jackson’s “This is It” tour.

AEG, which had initially sought to collect on the $17.5 million policy after Jackson’s death canceled the tour, dropped a claim against Lloyds amid revelations in leaked emails that show AEG executives were concerned about his stability ahead of his planned London comeback tour.

Insurers routinely send doctors to do medical exams — and occasionally hire investigators for background checks– before placing multi-million dollar policies for the stars.

After the Jackson trial, the reams of information they need will skyrocket, said Adam Steck, CEO of SPI Entertainment, who recently brokered a deal for an 18-show run by rocker Meatloaf at Planet Hollywood in Vegas, starting September 26.

“We’re in a high risk business, said Steck. “The case will require artists to disclose medical conditions and the producer will need to insure and vet them properly, meaning more red tape. This could affect ticket pricing at the end of the day.”

In its wrongful death suit against AEG, Jackson’s family claimed AEG negligently hired Murray as Jackson’s personal physician and ignored signs Jackson, who died in 2009 at 50 from an overdose of propofol, was in poor health.

AEG Live argued Jackson’s prescription drug and addiction problems predated their deal and that it did not hire Murray or see he was a danger to the star.

Even though Lloyds didn’t pay off on Jackson’s death, legal and insurance experts say artists’ coverage will now carry many more exclusions — specific instances of prior injuries, drug use and now perhaps negligence by staff that won’t be covered – giving promoters and insurance firms an out from paying claims if stars do not fulfill obligations due to negligence by a person on the star’s staff.

“There will be exclusions for personal assistants, doctors, anybody but the performer,” said Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Los Angeles.

“If an assistant or professional does something wrong, the artist will go after the assistant and not AEG.”

Insurers wound up settling with Spears after she sued a group for almost $10 million in 2005, after she was forced to cancel the European leg of a tour due to a knee injury.

Spears and her promoter had bought “contingency insurance” from several companies including Liberty Syndicate Management Ltd, French company AXA’s AXA Corporate Solutions, one of the more common policies that cover abandonment, cancellation or postponement of a concert.

The companies initially refused to pay Spears for losses arising from the canceled shows, claiming she failed to disclose surgery performed on her knee five years earlier.

Spears had passed the insurance company’s required medical exam a year before the tour was to begin.

John Callagy, attorney for Spears in the case, told Reuters it became apparent the insurance companies were aware of her prior knee injuries from earlier insurance applications.

Mary Thompson, president of Las Vegas-based Capstone Brokerage, said she expects Spears probably bought “contingency insurance” for her Planet Hollywood residency but now it includes new stipulations following the pop star’s widely publicized breakdown a few years go.

Tougher drug use monitoring and higher insurance pricing arose after 23-year-old actor River Phoenix died in 1993 of a drug overdose while under contract for two movies.

When he died, two insurance companies paid nearly $5.7 million to the producers of “Dark Blood” and “Interview With the Vampire,” but then sued his estate in a federal court in Florida to get their money back, claiming he violated his contracts by lying when he said he did not do drugs.

The court ruled against the insurers, which then appealed the ruling. An appeals court in Florida then granted the Phoenix estate’s motion to dismiss the insurer’s claims, ruling the actor’s death rendered his performance impossible, an event which was covered by the insurance policy.

“As a result of this case, the insurance companies became more careful about how they priced contracts and covered performers they deemed risky,” said Zev Jacob Eigen, associate professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law.

“The Jackson case stands to be another cause for recalibration in the industry because it impacts the same questions about scope of coverage and obligation to monitor behaviors of performers,” said Eigen.

Stars themselves may be rushing to their insurance brokers as well. Performers like Spears often buy a “personal policy” to protect their “industry value” in case they can no longer perform. “Famous singers often insure their voices and you can only imagine the body parts that porn stars might be insuring,” said Eigen.

“For a lot of entertainment professionals, this is a significant issue,” said Thompson of Capstone Brokerage. “To protect their value, they may have to be willing to do a monthly drug screen, physical exams, random drug testing.”

(Reporting by Susan Zeidler; Edited by Ronald Grover and Bob Burgdorfer)


Watch Justice is Served: Jurors Deliberate in Jackson AEG Trial


Administrators’ Note: The AEG trial interview is only on the first 12 minutes of the show. Brian Panish will interview with Mari Fegal after the jury verdict is reached.

Originally posted on Your Legal Lady:


In this week’s Justice is Served, we discuss the latest entertainment legal news, starting with our Case of the Week: Jackson vs. AEG Live. After hearing testimony from 58 witnesses over 83 days, spanning 21 weeks, jurors finally began deliberating Thursday.

In closing arguments, AEG Live’s attorney asked jurors to find Michael Jackson responsible for his own death, not the company that promoted his comeback concert. “Plaintiffs want you to hold a concert promoter liable for Michael Jackson’s overdose in his bedroom at night, behind locked doors on June 25, 2009. An overdose of the drug administered to Mr. Jackson by his longtime doctor — Dr. Murray — who he’d been seeing for years, a doctor he brought to Los Angeles from Las Vegas.” He went on to say, “Mr. Jackson spent decades shopping for doctors to give him the painkillers he wanted. Mr. Jackson made sure we didn’t know…

View original 263 more words

New Book On The Fatty Arbuckle Case Reexamines One Of Hollywood’s Biggest Scandel’s

Source: Express Milwaukee – By David Luhrssen


To understand the rise and fall of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, one of Hollywood’s first superstars, let’s turn for comparison to Michael Jackson. Like the late 20th century superstar, Arbuckle was enormously popular and instantly recognizable; he loved children, lived extravagantly and fell from grace, forever under a cloud of doubt over what went on behind closed doors. For Arbuckle, whose popularity as a comedian rivaled Charlie Chaplin, the fall was even more precipitous—linked not to a string of accusations and deepening eccentricity, but to a single shocking incident. Arbuckle was charged with murdering actress Virginia Rappe while having sex in a hotel room during a drunken party.

Arbuckle was tried and acquitted three times after Rappe’s death in 1921, but the press already found him guilty on day one and the jury of public opinion leaned toward conviction. His career was wrecked, his movies withdrawn from circulation, yet unlike MJ, Arbuckle survived just long enough for a short, positive epilogue. He made a few comedies in the early 1930s, including one with Howard Shemp of the Three Stooges, and seemed on the way to recovering public and media favor. But Fatty fell asleep and died in 1933 after an evening of what he loved most—eating, drinking and socializing.

The story has never been better told than in Greg Merritt’s biography Room 1219: The Life of Fatty Arbuckle, the Mysterious Death of Virginia Rappe, and the Scandal that Changed Hollywood (published by Chicago Review Press). The author seems to have no axe to grind against Arbuckle or Rappe, and no agenda other than sifting the truth from nearly a century of lies, contradictions and bad reporting. Admittedly, the whole truth can never be known for certain; everyone involved had reason to lie or conceal, and yet, Merritt constructs a plausible version of events.

Unlike many previous authors, Merritt approaches both Arbuckle and Rappe with sympathy and an effort at understanding. Arbuckle’s childhood was Dickensian; after his mother’s death he was eventually shipped off with nothing but a cardboard suitcase to live with his father. After waiting many hours at the train station, the 12-year old discovered that the peripatetic father he expected to meet had moved on again. The desk clerk at a nearby hotel pitied the waif and gave him room and board in exchange for work. Vaudeville was Arbuckle’s ticket out.

As for Rappe, she was a fascinating figure in her own right; born out of wedlock and never knowing her father, Rappe recreated herself as one of America’s first professional models. An avid publicity seeker, she forged an image of female autonomy at a time when a woman was expected to live in her husband’s shadow. Rappe turned to fashion design and eventually tried her hand in Hollywood, with less success. She was much more than the failed actress or bit-player-in-her-own-demise usually depicted in accounts of the Arbuckle case.

Merritt’s accomplishment is great when considering the Augean stable of falsehood he had to clear to arrive at Room 1219. Reporters repeated each others mistakes and unsubstantiated allegations became embedded in the public record. Nowadays, the Arbuckle affair is mostly remembered from the lurid tale of rape in Kenneth Anger’s flim-flam bestseller, Hollywood Babylon. Aside from bringing honesty and clarity to the case, Merritt has written an engaging story of early Hollywood, especially in light of the legacy of Arbuckle’s murder trial. With the press, shocked citizens, ardent moralizers and outraged feminists (who embraced Rappe as an abused woman) baying for blood and condemning Hollywood as Sodom near the sea, the film industry began implementing a system of self-censorship under Postmaster General Will Hays, aptly described by Arbuckle’s wife Minta Durfee as resembling “a rat dressed up in men’s clothing.” Was it a kind of irony that the strictest version of the censorious Hollywood Production Code came into effect around the time of Arbuckle’s death?


Administrator’s Note: I don’t know if it is true, but I heard on the Michael Jackson’s Dark Side of Hollywood documentary that Michael used to sleep with Fatty Arbuckle’s picture near his bed. I plan to read this book. CP ♥

Are Journalists Just Glorified Emos?

Source: samwestonjourno


I damaged the ligaments in my ankle earlier this week and I couldn’t walk so I had to stay home. There is only so much Grand Theft Auto V I could play in one day. That afternoon I sat on my sofa and watched one of the 24 hour news programmes. I was (perplexingly, given I am engaged in news daily and I study the field) astonished at the bleakness of what I saw. In that period not one story did I find uplifting or positive really in any way. It’d probably be a good drinking game – every time the words ‘serious injury’, ‘national threat’, or ‘damaging’ are mentioned on the news, take a shot. You would be under the table pretty swiftly.It follows that, with everything being so downbeat, we could perhaps have too much news at our disposal. There are well- documented reports about the negative effects on our health of watching too much negative news. Experts even recommend we take a break from news now and again because it is so soul sapping.

The renowned media critic, moonwalker and news analyst, Michael Jackson once said: “People write negatives things, cause they feel that’s what sells. Good news to them, doesn’t sell.“Back in 2008, the Romanian government tried to implement a law introducing a ‘quota‘ of good news in each broadcast. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), or as I think of them, the ‘Emos for Journalism’, quickly put a stop to it. Obviously.

I wrote a story for assessment in this subject about how music festivals in Australia are getting cancelled left, right and center. Music festivals, those alcohol drenched, sun-gleamed days of haze and joy, providing some of the nicest memories of my short life, viciously ravaged by a plethora of factors and shutting down for a lack of paying customers. When will it end?! Won’t somebody please think of the children?! From death knocks to stressful other ethical dilemmas, from what we keep getting taught, journalism isn’t the proverbial barrel of laughs.

The bad news is that 50 people died in a hotel fire; the good news is that we got exclusive footage.” – Jessica Savitch

Earlier this semester, journalist Natalie Bochenski jokingly spoke of how sometimes she wanted something bad to happen just so she could have something good to write about. It’s a mark made in passing, I’m sure, by many a reporter. But is it something deeper than that? Are we journalists, desensitised by horrible events we write about so calculatingly, immune to the usual human aversion to depressing news? Do we get some kind of sick satisfaction?

The answer, overwhelmingly, is yes. And that’s all I have to say about that.


“The 55 Minutes Thinking”

Originally posted on Nonlocal Universe:

By The Last Tear (Lou)

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking

about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions

Albert Einstein

Soon the AEG Live trial will be over. There is no doubt that during the trial we have learned new facts. These facts have and will help us to understand Michael Jackson’s life especially during the days before his death.

Nevertheless, there are still several questions and ambiguities about Jackson’s passing which make us to believe that we have a long way to go before finding the whole truth. Undoubtedly, some facts have been kept away from the public eye; and not knowing all the elements of the events makes us incapable to understand what really happened to the star.

We can of course speculate or follow our guts and say this and that. We can also check if science…

View original 3,911 more words

Top 5 Legal Challenges Facing Michael Jackson’s Estate Executors

Source: Forbes – By Danielle and Andy Mayoras

Many people never stop to think of how hard a job it is to administer the estate or trust of someone who passes away.  Often, it’s a thankless job, filled with headaches.  That’s certainly been the case for the Michael Jackson Estate executors:  entertainment attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain.  Well, at least the headache part.

Here are the top 5 legal challenges and complications that the estate executors have had to worry about in the last few months alone:

1.  The AEG Wrongful Death Trial:  

Now nearing the five-month mark since opening statements, the heirs of Michael Jackson vs. AEG trial has been filled with twists and turns, from Lionel Richie’s ex talking to the King of Pop’s ghost to Jackson’s childhood friendship with a mouse (as revealed by Rolling Stone).

Where is the case now?  Heading to the jury.  While many in the media were quick to report how the Judge recently dismissed two AEG executives from the case, a more telling ruling came down at the same time.  As reported by CNN:

The judge also ruled that the Jacksons “presented substantial evidence” that AEG Live’s “conduct was a substantial factor in causing” Jackson’s death.

This means that it’s completely up to the jury to decide if the Jackson heirs’ $40 billion claim will win or not.  If the jury views the evidence like the Judge, and feels that there is “substantial evidence” that AEG hired Conrad Murray and helped cause Michael Jackson’s death, then his children and mother could win a huge payday.

As any trial lawyer can tell you, juries are unpredictable.  Often, plaintiffs have an excellent chance at winning once they get their case to the jury.  The fact they’ve made it this far could mean big trouble for AEG.

It also means complications for the estate executors.  While they have, for the most part, stayed out of the fighting, more than a few eyebrows were raised when an estate consultant testified in favor of AEG and against the Jackson heirs.  He claimed he did so with approval from the executors.  The executors later denied they gave him permission, but it highlights how all of this testimony and publicity can only make their job harder.

For example, the lavish estimates of Jackson’s earning capacity may be used against the estate in its next big court battle:  against the Internal Revenue Service.

2.  The IRS:  

Much was made of Michael Jackson’s debt when he passed away — it was recently estimated to be as much as $500 million.  While Branca and McClain have taken some heat (like from Randy Jackson, below), there is no disputing that they’ve done a masterful job at guiding the estate through troubled waters into a series of huge paydays.  Reportedly, they’ve brought in over $600 million during the first four years.

There’s one problem that comes with that much success:  the tax man.  When the Michael Jackson Estate filed its estate tax return, it reportedly claimed his assets were worth only $7 million as of the day he died. The IRS has a slightly different view, estimating the total to be more than one billion dollars … and as much as $1.5 billion, in fact.  It says that the estate under-reported his assets so significantly that the estate owes a tax bill of $702 million. The estate disagrees and has sued to fight the IRS.

A large part of this dispute centers on the value of Jackson’s image and likeness.  The IRS claims it was worth $434 million, while the estate’s tax filing placed a value of only $2,105.

Which of course, raises the question:  If Michael Jackson’s image and likeness, not to mention his other assets (the value of his music, for example), were worth as little as the estate’s tax filing claimed, why has the estate earned so much money since he died? While the IRS appears to be overreaching with its figures — especially placing such a high value on his image and likeness and apparently failing to include his extensive debt — certainly, the post-death success shows that the estate was a tad too aggressive in its tax return filing after Michael Jackson died.

Click here to read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/trialandheirs/2013/09/17/top-5-legal-challenges-facing-michael-jacksons-estate-executors/2/