The Documented Evidence of MICHAEL JACKSON’S LAST ALBUM
To see the true worth of things it always helps to look back into the past and see the events with a fresh eye of today. It can teach us great lessons.
To my big surprise the talk we had about Ireland made me recall the events already long forgotten but seen in a different light now that we know what Michael did in Ireland and how he felt among the Irish people.
This post will be an attempt to restore some of those past events and reevaluate them with the new knowledge we have now. Hopefully it will help some people to look at themselves from afar and stop the insanity towards Michael Jackson which is still going on, and even with a renewed force considering the fact of recent release of Sullivan’s book.
THE INSANITY OF HATRED
You will understand what I am talking of if we look together at some articles published in the press at the time when Michael Jackson was staying in Ireland. While Michael Jackson was living there a simple life of a countryman, the insane and unkind went on spreading about him the usual crazy stories. One of such stories was a fictional report in Ireland’s Daily Mirror, invented out of nothing with the sole idea to raise the sales of the paper at the expense of their victim.
The newspaper said that Michael Jackson was creating a leprechauns theme park in Ireland. This news was reproduced by some Celebuzz site which amazed me by its incredibly insulting and arrogant attitude both to Michael and his hosts in Ireland – they used expressions like “insane idea” and hints at the Irish who “drink enough” to believe the insanity, and all of it ended in “gross generalizations about other cultures”.
If the people who wrote it knew that their remarks would later become reason for us to do exactly the same – I mean, make gross generalizations about their culture – they would have probably checked themselves and thought about the consequences of it. The most harm they are doing this way is to themselves first and foremost.
Their comments are indeed an eye-opening experience for other “cultures” reading their ugly responses – the arrogance and conceit of these people are incredible, and their silly but superior attitude towards others is amazing and laughable. Looking at all this one can’t help recalling sayings like “He laughs best who laughs last”.
Michael Jackson goes out of his mind Lucky Charms style
September 21st, 2006 // 127 Comments
According to Ireland’s Daily Mirror, Michael Jackson has been looking into buying an estate on the Emerald Isle, and is supposedly interested in opening up a – wait for it – leprechaun-inspired theme park.
“Michael is deadly serious about this idea,” a source told Ireland’s Daily Mirror. “He loves the whole idea of leprechauns and the magic and myths of Ireland. It would cost around 500 million Euros [about $635 million] to do. He’s always wanted to open his own theme park and he thinks Ireland is the perfect place and it will all be built around the leprechaun theme.” The cash-strapped singer reportedly is meeting with businessmen to raise money for the park. There are regular sightings of the reclusive singer in Ireland, and one newspaper there has set up a Wacko Watch Hotline for readers to phone in sightings.
Because if America won’t accept your insane ideas why not just ship ‘em over to Ireland? There they at least drink enough the idea might work. And here? Well here we just make gross generalizations about other cultures.
Below are the most decent comments on the article:
He’s way too creepy for the States.. So no he’s targeting drunken Irish children, I guess he figures he’ll get lucky……… No way can he ruin that beautiful country-kick his ass out Ireland……… Leave Ireland alone, you freak!!………. To the people of Ireland: Tell your young male children to hide their “Blarney stones”……….. I can’t wait till he dies….. one newspaper there has set up a Wacko Watch Hotline for readers to phone in sightings…….. Now THAT is funny. I wouldn’t be surprised if that “man” turned into a monkey. I mean more so than he already is…….. “Freak” is such an understatement, I just punched myself in the face for using that in reference to MJ. Please excuse all the Brit-Twit air-quotes, but in some cases, they simply must be used……. Wait, what happened to Dubai? Whatever. Look, the news must be really slow crossing the pond – he molests children guys! It’s ok to be mean to him….. http://www.thesuperficial.com/michael_jackson_goes_out_of_hi-09-2006
It is okay to be mean to him? So this is what it is? The media and prosecutors whistled to the public their okay to hunt down an already mortally wounded human being, and the public readily goes for its victim as a medieval mob going after a so-called witch? Never mind that a year ago the man was fully acquitted after five long months of being tried – they know better than the court.
Some superficial site told their superficial audience that Michael is not even a human being and they trash him like a “freak’ and “monkey” throwing the Irish people into the bucket too? And after all that these readers think themselves to be civilized citizens?
I suspect that these people never really looked into the trial details, never tried to think for themselves and never heard about “innocent until proven guilty” principle – their lazy minds simply pass judgment on things they have no idea of.
No, it is not okay to be mean to Michael Jackson. In fact it isn’t okay to be mean to anyone at all – there are many reasons for that, and one of the simplest is that one day all this nastiness will backfire and the mean and the brainless will turn into the laughing stock themselves as those who look at them from aside will be amazed by their ignorance, laziness and dumbness.
HOW COME MICHAEL’S CHILDREN SEEM NORMAL?
Almost a year after Michael left Ireland, in April 2007 the People magazine caught sight of Michael celebrating Paris’s birthday in Las Vegas and made a report exclaiming in half-belief that Michael’s children look “normal” after all. Such an attitude reflects the seriousness of the world’s denial of the truth about Jackson.
Their story is dated April 2007 – four months after Michael’s arrival from Ireland on December 23, 2006. The magazine said that Michael was only getting ready to settle back in the country. Technically they may be right – it was the time Michael was indeed wandering about the US looking for a place to live in. Those who spoke to him privately, Jack Wishna for example, said that he would never return to Neverland.
“In Ireland, when I spoke to Michael, I said, ‘Come back and go back to Neverland.'” And Jackson said, “I never, never, never want to go back to Neverland. Never.”
“My thought is if someone buries him in Neverland he will come up out of the ground like inThriller and strangle them,” Wishna said, referring to rumors that Jackson’s family is still considering a bid to inter Jackson on the grounds of his once-beloved ranch.
“I tried to get rid of Neverland for him. He would never set foot back on Neverland. He never wanted to go there, never wanted to sleep there— never, never.”
The People magazine made a picture of Michael with Paris on the day of her birthday in April 2007 and though the magazine says that “some sources” believe Michael “is seriously ill because of an addiction to prescription drugs”, their own picture tells the opposite story – Michael is in great shape and is very much at his best. His step is jaunty and the overall impression of him is that of confidence and him being in charge of his life.
So judging by the way Michael looked in April 2007 any “addiction to prescription drugs” at the time was highly unlikely.
The rest of the article is non-stop noise over the masks the children wear in public, including some totally ridiculous statements from those who saw Michael with his children and reported back that “They acted like they love him”.
Acted like they loved him? Now that we know how much Michael’s children adored their father and what a doting parent he was for them, this incredulous attitude sounds like a damning verdict for those who said those words.
The article also speaks of the fuss the Jackson family was making then about Michael’s alleged addiction to drugs. After not seeing Michael for more than a year and being totally unaware of his way of life they seemed to follow in the steps of the general public’s insanity – same as others they thought of him only the worst and even ventured some “interventions” though it is actually unclear whether there was any real ground for their worries.
Well, at least for half a year when Michael was in Ireland no one noticed anything of the kind, and now he was so bad that it required an intervention? Even though he looks the way he does in the picture from the People magazine? Remember the way he looked at the beginning of the 2000s when some prescription drugs were really an issue? See the difference?
Here are some excerpts from the People Magazine story:
“They Wear Masks, Go Shopping at Midnight and Have a Mysterious Nanny. So How Come So Many People Say the Children Seem Normal?
It was just another ho-hum family outing for Dad and the kids. First they took a 40-minute tour of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. “The children said ‘cool’ a lot, and they were calling their daddy’s attention to things and asking him questions,” says museum deputy director Don Lopez, who conducted the tour. After that it was on to the NationalMuseum of the American Indian, where the kids joined along in a Yupik tribal dance (even Dad did some hoofing). Next morning a stop at the National Zoo for a peek at the pandas, gorillas and tigers. “The kids were really happy and excited to see all the animals,” says spokesman John Gibbons, who accompanied Michael Jackson, 49, and his three children—who weren’t wearing veils or masks that day—on their two-hour visit July 19. “I was struck,” says Gibbons, “by how considerate and nice and normal they all were.”
Wait a minute—is this Michael Jackson we’re talking about? Is it possible the three children he is raising without their mothers around—son Prince I, 10; daughter Paris, 9; and 5-year-old Prince II, nicknamed Blanket—are having anything approaching a happy, healthy childhood? Could it be that the King of Pop is also the King of Pops? This is, after all, the man who was the subject of two major investigations into the possible sexual abuse of underaged boys (his first accuser declined to testify against him in a 1993 case but collected at least $20 million in a civil suit; Jackson’s 2005 child-molestation trial ended in his acquittal). What’s more, sources tell PEOPLE they believe Jackson is seriously ill because of an addiction to prescription drugs. But as Jackson shops for houses in Maryland’s tony St. Michaels community—getting ready to settle back in the U.S. after living in Ireland, Bahrain and England since 2005—several Jackson insiders, friends and associates interviewed by People say he and his children live far more ordinary lives than one might imagine.
By all accounts Jackson’s children are bright, well-behaved and seemingly well-adjusted. Prince and Paris—whose biological mother is Jackson’s ex-wife Debbie Rowe (see box); Blanket arrived via an unnamed surrogate mother in 2002—”think that they live a totally normal life, which is what Michael wants for them,” says Las Vegas dealmaker Jack Wishna, who has worked on several Jackson projects. In Westmeath, Ireland, where the family lived in 2006 while Jackson worked on a new album, the singer cooked porridge for the children every morning and took them out to the movies—with no masks. “The kids had popcorn and soda and acted like any normal kids,” says a patron at a showing of The Santa Clause 3 in Mullingar, Ireland, last December. At a bookstore in Dun Laoghaire that fall, Jackson “was just doing his thing and the kids”—again, with no masks on—”would run over and say, ‘Hey, Dad, look at this,’ or jump on him, and he would always give them his attention,” says Bert Wright, manager of Hughes & Hughes bookstore.
At birthday parties for Prince and Paris, “Michael bought lots of toys, balloons and big cakes and went all out for his kids, and they acted like they love him,” says someone who was there for both events. This source says the children adore their father because he acts like a child himself, singing songs, getting giddy on trips, making everything a game. Even the veils and ornate masks he has his children wear on most outings are, observers say, not a problem because “the kids think it’s just another game with Daddy.”
One longtime associate who recently spent time with Jackson and his children remembers Prince and Paris “were running in and out and Michael was always very attentive to them.” Another person who met with Jackson not long ago says the children “were all enjoying themselves and singing Beatles songs together.” And when it comes to teaching his kids manners, associates say Jackson is a stickler. At a party this May in England, “he made sure that when they left, all the children went around and said goodbye to everyone,” says a music producer.
But isn’t this the same guy who dangled Blanket out a fifth-floor Berlin hotel window in 2002, who awkwardly forced a bottle into Blanket’s mouth in the infamous ITV1’s documentary Living with Michael Jackson, who nicknamed his son Blanket? To others with insight into how he is raising his children, the image of Jackson as Ward Cleaver just doesn’t jibe. For starters some Jackson pals and family members take issue with the children’s nanny Grace Rwaramba, a former production-company office worker who is now taking care of and homeschooling the kids (see box). “She started out as this naive African girl, and now she is hell on wheels,” says one longtime Jackson associate. Says another: “Grace calls all the shots when it comes to Michael. She brought in the Nation of Islam and its security guards. Grace is the queen bee.”
According to several sources, Rwaramba is preventing some Jackson family members from seeing him—and from helping him with what many sources claim is an addiction to prescription drugs. Jermaine Jackson confirmed to PEOPLE on July 21 that he’s worried about his brother’s health. L.A. attorney Tom Mesereau Jr., who defended Jackson at his 2005 trial, says, “I was approached by the Jackson family” to stage an intervention for Jackson last year but did not participate. A source close to the family confirms the Jacksons did attempt an intervention in Las Vegas in 2006 [correction: 2007] ; three of Jackson’s brothers were there and sister Janet was on the phone. “Michael got pissed off and said he wasn’t on drugs,” says one family source. Several people interviewed also agree that because of Rwaramba most family members are “cut off—there is no communication with Michael,” says a source close to the family, who adds that Jackson’s brother Randy is afraid Michael will die just like Anna Nicole Smith.
Through his publicist Raymone Bain, Jackson denies taking drugs or being in poor health; Bain also says Jackson is fully in charge of his life. “Right now Michael is on the East Coast looking at houses and enjoying himself on vacation,” Bain told PEOPLE in July. “He’s talking on the phone every day. He is very engaged and active.” Adds the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a longtime friend and adviser: “I was with him [in July 2007] and he was healthy, spry, effervescent. After all the pressure of the trial, it weakened him to some extent, but he bounced back.”
… Their father’s money troubles aside, there’s also the issue of the veils and masks the Jackson children wear on most public outings—don’t they draw more attention than they deflect? “The primary reason for seeing the children all dressed up like that is for the attention that Michael will get for himself,” says Jackson family confidant and coauthor of Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask Stacy Brown, voicing an opinion shared by others who know Jackson. What’s more, “the masks could send the message to the children that they need to be fearful of people,” says Dr. Dorian Traube, a University of Southern California social worker specializing in adolescent development. “They could end up feeling that there is something wrong with them and that nobody can see them.” And can it be good for the children to travel quite so much? Since abandoning Neverland in 2005, Jackson has hopped the globe, spending time on at least three continents. “The kids are always moving from place to place, and they don’t have any playmates,” says a source close to the Jackson family.
But even this source concedes the children seem to be doing extremely well so far: “They are so smart it’s incredible. Prince is a hilarious little boy, and Paris is a real girl who likes girly things.” Stacy Brown, who admits he is “no supporter of Jackson’s,” says, “I don’t believe he should have these children. I worry about them. But they seem to be pretty normal. And Grace genuinely loves them.”
A family unlike any other, perhaps, but still, it seems, a family. “What I like about his children is that they don’t act like privileged kids,” says Jamie Foster Brown, a journalist who accompanied Jackson and his children on a trip to Japan this March. “They’re just cordial and friendly and playful, and they like to play jokes on their daddy. Michael would say, ‘Blanket, don’t do that!’ and Blanket would say, ‘Okay, I won’t,’ and then would do it again to tease his dad. They are all very comfortable with him. He is raising his children well.”
Prince Michael Jackson I • Age: 10
“He’s very good at making people laugh,” says a Jackson friend
Paris Michael Katherine Jackson • Age: 9
Jackson’s fame “doesn’t even seem to faze her,” says a pal
Prince Michael Jackson II a.k.a. “Blanket” • Age: 5
At Disneyland, he “really liked Peter Pan,” says a friend. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20060327,00.html
Now the public has first-hand information about Stacy Brown – so he is “worried” about the children, says that Michael “should not have them” and claims that they have to wear masks to draw attention to Michael (and not to hide their identity so they would go unrecognized when they were without their father, which was really the case). With that level of knowledge of Michael Jackson’s life how could anyone ever think that Stacy Brown was qualified enough to write a book about Michael at all?
And isn’t the opinion of that university pundit hilarious? I mean the one that the masks are “sending a message to the children that they should be fearful of people”? Sometimes science does behave like a servant wondering in which way it may be helpful to its masters…
PADDY DUNNING’S HOUSE REVISITED
While all this crazy mess was revolving around Michael Jackson in his homeland, Paddy Dunning’s house in Ireland where Michael and his kids enjoyed comfort for five months in the summer-autumn of 2006, was visited by a guy named Pol O Conghaile who added some details to what we already know of the story. His site does not allow for copying the text, so I retyped some parts of it – I simply had to as I want you to also feel the warmth of that home.
Actually it was only from Pol O Conghaile’s story that I realized how Paddy Dunning could have made an easy 1 million dollar, but never did. All he had to do was making one picture of Michael’s children – the media offered a $1 mln. “bounty” for a single photo of them! Now I understand why Michael Jackson specially thanked Paddy for never asking him for a photo of his family while they were at his house.
Pol O Conghaile spoke to Paddy Dunning, the owner of Grouse Lodge:
How did they keep his presence a secret?
We didn’t tell anyone,” he deadpans. “We’re used to doing it. I know he’s the biggest pop star in the world, but we weren’t smitten with that. Also, we live here. If we’d told anyone, the family would have been a mess.”
Roman Casey, General Manager at Grouse Lodge, chuckles at the “Father Ted-ish” memories from the time.
He recalls locals giving journalists misleading directions, regional papers inquiring about sightings of Jackson in Moate, even a farmer who confronted a paparazzo hiding up a tree outside Coolatore. If he didn’t vamoose, the farmer threatened, he’d be sprayed with slurry.
Jackson worked with producers Will I Am and Rodney Jenkins at Grouse Lodge, though Claire has fond memories of Big Chuck, an entourage member whose bling included a crushed Heineken can covered in diamonds. Big Chuck was nearly seven foot tall, she says, but afraid of cows.
The one memory everyone shares is that of Jackson beginning to relax.
The star arrived in a bad way – not long after his acquittal on charges of child molestation in 2005 – but the freedom afforded him in the Irish countryside seems to have worked wonders. He went for walks, took photographs, ate Claire’s home-cooking, enjoyed what Casey calls “the Westmeath way”. He read local folklore, was on first-name terms with the cleaner, and began to sing again.
He also got quality time with his kids. A school was set up for Paris, Prince Michael Junior and Blanket in one of the converted stables at Grouse Lodge, and they played in the gardens, fields and rolling hills around Coolatore.
In one of the rooms, I spot several planets they painted onto a slant in the ceiling just over the bed – they remain as bold and colorful as ever today.
“Most things end sadly,” Dunning muses. “But at least he had spent that time in Westmeath with his kids, which I think will stand to them.”
He is defensive of Jackson, having witnesses the awesome pressure that comes with such fame.
He talks of death threats, a $1 million “bounty” for pictures of the kids, the sense that any photo or phone call could end up online in seconds.
“If you were sitting here with Michael Jackson, you would be the odd one,” he explains. “Because you wouldn’t feel comfortable.”
But Dunning also remembers Jackson’s sense of humour (when the pair were stopped at traffic lights, he says, the pop star would make mischief by rolling down the window and waving to drivers alongside).
“He was starting to relax. If he hadn’t left, he wouldn’t have died.”
When I finally retire for the evening, I can’t quite believe I’m sleeping in the King of Pop’s four-poster. The rock-hard mattress Jackson favoured has thankfully been replaced, but other than that, the room remains as was. There are sash windows, a large mahogany wardrobe, an en-suite bathroom with a cast-iron tub.
Blanket, I’m told, slept on a camper bed in the corner…
In his (Dunning’s) office, there’s a supersized print of David La Chapelle’s photograph casting Jackson as the archangel defeating Satan. The star eventually left Westmeath to attend James Brown’s funeral, and there was talk of him using Ireland as a base during his planned run of 50 concerts at London’s O2 last year.
Sadly, he never returned.
He planned to, however, and that’s the final twist in this crazy tale. As well as Coolatore, the Dunning have restored a nearby Georgian farmhouse, Bishopstown House, as a luxury self-catering getaway.
The six-bedroom house was bought in trust for Jackson, Dunning says, who had asked the couple to seek out a suitable Irish residence for him.
We brought him to places all over the country, and he saw what we were doing in Bishopstown and that became an option,” Paddy says.
“So we decided to develop it with him in mind. We knew what he was looking for – a place way in off the road, with outbuildings for guests, with writing rooms. He could bounce between the houses and the studio. It just fitted in.”
Taking a stroll around Bishopstown, I find an ambitious work-in-progress.
Before restoration began in the derelict estate, Casey says, trees were literally taking root in the stairwell. Today, workers are rejuvenating the stables, planning permission has been secured for a pool, and the old farmhouse has been extended – in sympathy with Jackson’s ideas – to incorporate marble bathrooms and a timber roof garden with 360-degree views of the countryside.
Whether you stay at Coolatore or Bishopstown, there’s plenty to see and do. … I’m not surprised to hear, however, that most guests stay put, reveling in the manor houses.
And perhaps Dunning is right. Maybe Jackson would still be around if he did too.
For sure Michael would be alive now if he had stayed in Ireland! Even the man who persuaded Michael to return to the US regretted that he had done it. His name was mentioned here already – it is Jack Wishna and he was a dealer who took Michael Jackson to the US in December 2006 to arrange a permanent Las Vegas show for him there. Jack Wishna committed suicide two weeks ago and this fact demands that we should cast a separate look at him, but now let us limit ourselves to his statement that he regretted moving Michael back to the US:
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) — A friend and business partner of Michael Jackson says he regrets moving the King of Pop to Las Vegas several years ago, where he ultimately met Dr. Conrad Murray.
“Over the years I always thought that maybe if I didn’t move Michael from Ireland back to America, back to Las Vegas, that maybe Michael would be alive today,” says entertainment power broker Jack Wishna, president of Rockrena, Inc.
After noting the true sadness in these words let us turn to one more point in Michael Jackson’s Irish period of 2006 which has been totally overlooked by us.
It was due to the tranquility of Ireland and its people that Michael started creating music and singing again. He worked on his new album for full five months while he stayed in Paddy Dunning’s house.
In fact the recording studio was the reason why he moved into his premises at all – Michael had been in Ireland for some time already before he started looking for a house where he could record his music and Dunning’s house turned out to be just the right place.
To make his dream come true Michael flew in musicians from the US and we even witnessed an instance of their joint work when Billy Bush was making a report for Hollywood Access from Michael’s rehearsal with Will I Am.
Paddy Dunning says that Michael looked forward to releasing the new album and was about to come to Ireland to finish it off in a few weeks’ time after the 50 concerts in London.
Paddy heard the music in the making and thought it absolutely brilliant. When the article below was published they were sure that the album would become the top selling disc of all times as it was actually Michael’s last album, recorded for the first time since 2001.
They didn’t know what Michael’s fans would do to this precious piece of work so much cherished by Michael Jackson.
A reader found the story about the album published in the Irish Sunday Mirror after Michael’s death and posted it here : http://www.mjjcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-66533.html
JACKSON’S IRISH TAPES HUNT
exclusive by Stephen Maguire
‘New album will be a global No.1’
A secret album recorded by Michael Jackson in Ireland could make MILLIONS for his estate. Jackson flew in musicians from America to make the album while living at Grouse Lodge, Co. Westmeath, and was planning to return to Ireland within weeks to finish it off after his planned 50-night run in London at the 02 arena.
The as-yet unnamed album includes tracks written by Akon, Ne-Yo and Will.i .am of the Black Eyed Peas and would certainly top the charts around the globe. Record industry insiders said the record had taken years to produce but was “a return to form” for the King of Pop.
Jackson had been dumped by Sony in 2001 and had not had a top 10 hit in the US since then. Last night, Grouse Lodge owner Paddy Dunning revealed, “He was expected back in a few weeks time to finish off the album. It was produced by Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas and features all these fantastic musicians on it. He flew them all in from America to play on it. I don’t know what will happen to it now. I suppose that it will be released one way or the other. It sounds absolutely brilliant to me.”
“He had told me how much he was looking forward to coming back to finish it off. Now we’ll never see him again. He was in great form when he stayed with us and we got quite close. Before then I never knew what a brilliant musician he was. He could play piano, guitar and drums really well. I saw him performing and singing brilliantly in the studio.
“He was certainly on top form. He loved staying here and said it helped his creativity.”
Now the race is on to turn the lost Jackson tapes into a finished album ready for release. The reclusive singer spent five months making what was to be his new album at Grouse Lodge in 2007. The album could now become one of the biggest-selling discs of all time.
Tony Wadsworth, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry, said, “There would be a huge amount of interest in this album. The rapid sell-out of the live dates and the overwhelming reaction to his passing are sure signs that a release of new good-quality Michael Jackson music could see him back at the top of the charts.”
And a music industry source added, “This album will be absolutley huge. It’s the last thing Michael ever did. It’s almost finished and now it will be brought out as a tribute to him in the coming months. Millions of fans worldwide are now snapping up all his old albums in tribute to him. Can you imagine how many will buy this album because they know it’s going to be the final orginal album?”
Last night, Grouse Lodge owner Paddy Dunning said he was heartbroken to hear of Jackson’s death. He recalled his time with the star and his children, Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket, and revealed how Jackson was a true musical genius. Jackson’s children even went to school in Rosemount village along with his own children.
“He seemed very happy here, they all did. And we enjoyed having them. He had no entourage at all with him, just his children and they were really well-mannered kids.
“He wasn’t a big drinker or anything, but he did like a glass of wine with his meals. However, he never went down to the local pub or that.”
Dunning also revealed how Michael was hugely interested in Irish legends and stories and was very knowledgeable about Irish mythology. And contrary to popular opinion, the singer was not a fussy eater, in particular enjoying the traditional Irish breakfast.
Several international stars have recorded at Grouse Lodge, with singer Shirley Bassey booked in at the moment. The studio has 15 acres of grounds where Jackson and his family often went for long walks.
Source: Irish Daily Mirror, June 28th 2009 http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-202499652.html
So Michael hoped the album to be a success and it could indeed make millions… He flew in musicians from America to make it… The album included tracks written by Akon, Ne-Yo and Will.i .am… It would certainly top the charts around the globe… Michael was looking forward to coming back to finish it off…. He was certainly on top form… The album could become one of the biggest-selling discs of all time…. It’s the last thing Michael ever did,
Does anyone here recognize what album we are talking of?
Still remembering the viciousness of attacks and the boycott of the album, Sony, Estate and the musicians participating in the project, it was with some bewilderment that I finally realized that they were talking of what would eventually become the “Michael” album – stigmatized by the fans as fake and something unworthy of the good name of Michael Jackson! I wonder who was the first to start them on this road? Those who didn’t want Michael’s last album to be a thunderous success?
Yes, Michael had to leave the songs unfinished due to sad and irreversible circumstances and many fans were outraged that the unfinished material was released after Michael’s death (“Michael was a perfectionist, he could never have allowed this to happen”, “Profits is all they see”, “Keep the legacy intact”) and all of us could have our own opinions about these flashy ideas, but now I hope we do understand what unspeakable injustice would have been done to Michael Jackson himself if the songs he so laboriously worked on in Ireland and then US had not been released at all.
Now we know how much effort he put into it, how enthusiastic he was about it and how many high expectations he had in connection with the new album.
THE CASCIO TRACKS
When Michael returned to the US the work on the album continued. He went on writing songs, only the environment and the mood in which he was writing them changed, so the new songs acquired a visibly dramatic touch. No wonder that they did – after the acquittal at the 2005 trial and the relaxed atmosphere of Ireland Michael most probably grew quite optimistic about his future (which is why he came back to the US at all), only he never knew that upon arrival he would be faced with the same old hostility which acted like a cold shower on him wiping away any renewed hopes.
The ideas like a “freak”, “monkey”, “molester of boys”, “we can’t wait till he dies”, “it’s ok to be mean to him” were continuing on a regular basis and it was in this atmosphere that the Cascio tracks appeared approximately half a year after Michael’s return to the US.
Randall Sullivan explains Michael’s arrival at the home of the Cascios in August 2007 in a totally pathetic way – Michael was homeless and had to knock at their door one night as he simply had nowhere to go. The times were indeed hard for Michael but this Sullivan’s text is a huge exaggeration:
“He asked for help,” Wiesner recalled. “I could see that it was a very, very hard time for Michael. He had nowhere to go and he was afraid. He felt they might make him go on tour, but he didn’t want to do it. He didn’t know what to do.” The only plan Michael seemed to have for his immediate future, Wiesner remembered, was to seek out sanctuary and wait to see what came his way. The arrival of the Michael Jackson traveling party at the Cascio home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, during the first week of August 2007 startled not only the people next door, but also Grace Rwaramba. She had no idea where they were headed, Grace recalled, until they were almost there. The Cascios were used to it.
Michael Jackson had been showing up announced on their front porch for nearly a quarter century. More than once, he had awakened them by knocking on the door in the middle of the night. These people he called his “ second family” always welcomed him. In return, he had insisted that they fly out to California to be present for the births of each of his children; not a single Jackson family member was invited. Connie Cascio continued to be the only person other than Grace whom Michael trusted to take care of his kids. In recent years, he had spent many more holidays with them than with anyone from his birth family, including his mother Katherine.
… Eddie Cascio had already made a name for himself—“Angel Cascio” he was called—in the music business. An article touting the young man’s career had been published in the school newspaper at DrewUniversity, where Eddie had graduated in 2004 with a degree in sociology. With the help of “ a family friend with connections in the business,” as Eddie described Michael in the article, he had begun selling songs to Sony/ATV while still an undergraduate. Soon he was working as a producer for ’N Sync on their song “ Fallin’” and that landed him jobs working on the Luther Vandross album Dance with My Father and on Usher’s Here I Stand. Before his graduation, Eddie had formed his own company, Angelikson Music.
The parents who had started him off with piano lessons years earlier at Michael’s urging paid for the construction of a recording studio in their basement that, while not state of the art, was well enough equipped to convince Michael Jackson that he and his young friend should lay down some tracks together. They recorded twelve songs in all, the most memorable (if not the best) being “ Breaking News,” an antitabloid screed in which Michael vented his rage and hurt over what had been done to him during his criminal trial, referring to himself repeatedly by name. He and Eddie had written the song together, with help from James Porte, an arranger and engineer who had worked with Eddie on the Luther Vandross album.
Within a couple of weeks of landing at the Cascios, Michael began venturing out, most often with Frank, who had been helping him work up disguises for years.
… After September, Michael began demonstrating less concern about being recognized in public. On October 31, he showed up with Frank Cascio at the Halloween Store in the Boulder Run Mall wearing a disguise that consisted of only a baseball cap worn with sunglasses and a scarf that was wrapped around his neck and lower face. After picking out $200 worth of disguises that included a Mardi Gras mask and a king’s robe, Michael stepped up to the counter and let the scarf slip below his chin. When the young woman ringing up his order saw who it was, she gasped. Less than a minute after Michael and Frank stepped out of the store, she was on the phone with the New York Daily News. By the next morning, everyone in the metropolitan area knew that Michael Jackson had been staying for weeks with a family in FranklinLakes, New Jersey. It was time to find another hiding place.”
In his book “My friend Michael” Frank Cascio paints a different picture of the same events and says that Michael and kids came for the fiftieth birthday of Frank’s mother Connie celebrated on August 19, 2007 and arrived late in the evening when the party was over and all the guests had already gone:
We threw a surprise party for my mother’s fiftieth birthday in New Jersey on August 19, 2007. Later that evening, when the guests had gone, Michael appeared at the house. He had his three kids in tow, as well as his black Lab, Kenya, and a cat. My father called me in the city and said, “I think you should come home tonight, but make sure you come alone.” As soon as he said that, I knew Michael was at the house.
… I was working in Manhattan, but I was back and forth to New Jersey frequently to see Michael and the kids. We celebrated Michael’s forty-ninth birthday, which fell ten days after my mother’s fiftieth, with a big family dinner. My mother cooked, and we also ordered in some pizza because Michael loved pizza.
The time he’d spent in Bahrain after the trial had been a good break for him. He had needed time away, time for himself, and he seemed rejuvenated. He was alive and excited, getting back into being creative and free. He and Eddie were working in the studio during the day, and he was playing with an idea for an animated cartoon he hoped to produce. He was happy to be around my family, with whom he could be himself. There was no sign that he was on any sort of medicine. He was back to being Michael. One of the upstairs bedrooms had been turned into a classroom, and a tutor came to the house every day. Late as he went to sleep, Michael made it a point to wake up early every morning to help his kids get ready for school. My mother fed them, but Michael was the one who got them dressed—nicely, as if they were going to school outside the house—and made sure their teeth were brushed.
… Meanwhile, things were going well in the studio with Eddie. Just as Michael had groomed me to do business with him, he had mentored Eddie’s musical talents from a young age, always promising that if he worked hard, one day he would have his chance. Even though Eddie was my younger brother, I had always looked up to him in many ways. I was happy that they were working together, and happy that Michael was making music again. The two of them, along with our close friend James Porte, wrote twelve songs, three of which (“Breaking News,” “Keep Your Head Up,” and “Monster”) would appear on Michael’s last album, Michael.
So Frank thinks that it was Michael’s time in Bahrain that rejuvenated him. However Paddy Dunning tells us that Michael arrived from Bahrain “in a bad way” and it was only during the half a year spent in rural Ireland that he began to relax, enjoy life and create music again. This we can easily believe as Michael’s stay in Bahrain did not produce any music despite all the grandeur of the surrounding and pressure from the sheikh.
From what I’ve read about Michael’s habits he didn’t want luxury for the sake of it. He could make do with something much more modest – all he needed was a little comfort, real friendliness and no pressure.
What the media called his “lavish style” was simply a forced necessity required for the sake of security and the need to live up to the image of a successful superstar which the media itself imposes on celebrities and then expects them to keep up with. Staying in modest hotels for Michael Jackson could produce a much worse effect and end up in even more media ridicule than ever.
But what was impossible in the palaces of Bahrain became possible in the warm comfort of Paddy Dunning’s studio and friendly atmosphere of the Cascios’ home where Michael wrote one of his best songs – Monster, giving vent to the anger at the way they kept insulting him and treating him like he was no human being.
The album remained unfinished alas and the tracks had to be processed. We can presume that the Cascio tracks were processed most, as Michael had less time for them than for the Irish tracks – according to Sullivan Michael stayed with the Cascios until October 31st which is less than two months and a half beginning with Connie’s birthday (August 19th).
In the Irish studio Michael worked for at least five months.
Let’s also make a mental note that in the summer/autumn of 2007, same as in April, there was no sign of Michael using any sort of medicine. We have Frank Cascio’s word for that and his word is simply impossible to doubt. Frank is very honest in what he says, even too honest in the opinion of some fans – you remember that when Michael did have problems with taking prescription medication in the early 2000s Frank made absolutely no bones about it. Some Michael’s fans could not forgive him for that honesty, but honesty actually works both ways – now that the same Frank says there was no sign of any drugs in Michael Jackson’s life in autumn 2007, we can be sure that this was indeed the case.
Some people doubt Frank’s word though and think that Monster, Breaking News and the other Cascio songs were never recorded in Eddie Cascio’s studio. To these people I suggest that they listen to what Michael’s son Prince has to say about it.
According to TMZ the children said that they didn’t believe it was their father who was singing on the Cascio tracks, however no one pays attention to another revelation in the same text – Prince was present at those recording sessions and heard the songs (!) and it was only the comparison between what Prince heard in Cascio’s studio and in the finished tracks which made him doubt.
Well, the actual phrase was: “the recorded versions don’t match what he heard”. Let us put aside the point of no match as secondary for the moment and focus on the main news – Prince heard those songs in the studio, so they were recorded there and this is the only premise from which we should do any further discussion of this matter.
New Michael Jackson Album Out December 14
11/04/2010 8:00 PM, Yahoo! Music
…According to a press release, Breaking News was recorded in New Jersey in 2007 and was “recently brought to completion.” That would seem to place it among the songs that Jackson recorded with producer Eddie Cascio—songs that have recently been the subject of many rumors.
Earlier this week, TMZ reported that Michael’s children believe that it is not their father singing on the Cascio tracks. Among other reported evidence, Jackson’s son Prince was reportedly in the house during the sessions and has said the recorded versions don’t match what he heard. However, Jackson’s estate says sound experts have deemed the voice on the recordings to be Jackson’s; people involved with the project reportedly have said the children are being “manipulated” by Jackson’s mother and others who don’t want the album released.
Full story: http://ca.launch.yahoo.com/read/news/62007073
So Michael Jackson did record his songs in the Cascios’ studio, and it is only the sound of his voice which still makes us wonder. It is true that in those three songs it sounds different, but when they asked Teddy Riley he explained that they had to process Michael’s voice. Various parts were recorded separately and to bring them in key with each other the voice had to be tampered with. They moved it up a little and this enhanced Michael’s vibrato (and made it sound like another singer). Each of us is familiar with the effect – when the record is sped up, even a bass voice sounds high-pitched with a funny vibrato appearing from nowhere.
Of course the question remains whether Michael’s friends had the right to treat Michael’s materials this way, but Teddy Riley apologized for what they had to do and said there was simply no other way out.
Voice on Michael Jackson album far from finished
12/14/2010 11:00 AM, Reuters
Recordings of Michael Jackson’s voice on a new album being released this week were far from the finished article and required considerable digital enhancement, according to one of its main producers.
But Teddy Riley, who worked with the King of Pop on several records before his death, believed that “Michael” would go down as a classic, albeit short of the heights of Jackson’s heyday in the late 70s and early 80s.
“I had to do more processing to the voice, which is why people were asking about the authenticity of his voice,” Riley told Reuters of the first album of new Jackson material since the singer’s sudden death 18 months ago.
The project has been mired in controversy since members of Jackson’s family were quoted questioning the authenticity of the voice on some tracks and his father’s lawyer said the perfectionist would never have wanted the music released.
“We had to do what we had to do to make … his voice work with the actual music,” Riley added in an interview.
“He (Jackson) would never consider it being a final vocal. But because he’s not with us he cannot give us new vocals. What we did was utilize the Melodyne (technology) to get him in key.
“With the Melodyne we actually move the stuff up which is the reason why some of the vibrato sounds a little off or processed, over-processed. We truly apologize for that happening, but you are still hearing the true Michael Jackson.”
Riley worked on three of the 10 songs on the album — “Hollywood Tonight,” “Monster” and “Breaking News.”
The last two were recorded at the New Jersey home of the Cascio family in 2007, along with a third Cascio track “Keep Your Head Up.”
It was these recordings that led some to cast doubt over the authenticity of the songs, although Riley, and record label Sony, have been at pains to show they were genuine.
PRICE OF FAME
Riley said much of the negative publicity surrounding the album came from people within Jackson’s entourage who did not approve of the project.
“That don’t just happen like that, that has to come from somewhere and where it came from was not a great place. It was from a family member, and some family members … didn’t totally get the last say so they kind of hate the project.
“So there you have it, a chain reaction, a domino effect that makes the credibility of Michael go down,” he said.
“I am here to protect that, because I know it’s him, I know it’s great material, I know that it needs to be out, I know that the legacy needs to continue because he’s such a great person, and there’s more to come.”
“Michael” is the first album of new Jackson material since “Invincible” in 2001, and the first in a reported $250 million deal between Sony and the executors of Jackson’s estate to release 10 albums through 2017.
Author J. Randy Taraborrelli, who wrote a 1991 best-selling biography of Jackson, said on Monday that Jackson’s estate had another 60 songs but did not plan on releasing all of them.
“They’ve got 60 incomplete songs but they’ve only got about 20 left with vocals that they feel, that the estate feels, are worthwhile,” Taraborrelli said in a U.S. interview on the CBS TV network’s “The Early Show”.
“They’re not releasing everything. They’re releasing the things that they believe Michael would want released, and that’s about 17 to 20 more songs,” Taraborrelli said.
Asked if he would agree to produce future posthumous Jackson material, Riley replied:
“If it was my decision, yes, I would be involved in anything that Michael was involved with. If they will have me I will definitely be a part of it. I’m here, I came out here to be a servant to my friend.”
Among the topics Jackson tackles on the new album is people’s thirst for fame and the high price of becoming a star.
In “Hollywood Tonight” he describes the real-life experiences of an unnamed friend who heads to Los Angeles aged 15 to make it in the movies, and in “Monster” he sings about the paparazzi.
“The Monsters are the ones who, when you’re up they come to get you and they beat you down and when they get you down they go to the next artist,” Riley said of “Monster.”
“That’s their job, to hit you while you’re up and step on you while you’re down, and that’s what he always said.”
Reviews of “Michael,” which hits British stores on Monday and U.S. stores on Tuesday, have been generally positive. http://ca.launch.yahoo.com/read/news/61995583
To finish with the subject I’ve heard that after a lot of pressure from Michael’s fans another singer finally gave in to it and said that it was him and not Michael Jackson who was singing those songs and even the Estate lawyers more or less admitted that the album was a mistake.
I am afraid I cannot agree with these statements.
First of all under so much pressure to “confess”, almost any singer would say that it is him who sings instead of Michael Jackson – it is a big compliment to be considered a suitable replacement for someone of MJ’s magnitude. And second, Frank Cascio and the musicians who worked with Michael on that Irish/American album are a much bigger authority to me than a young singer who was simply flattered by all this attention to his personality.
The work of Michael’s friends should not be underestimated. Though their talents are no match to Michael’s genius they did a good job and fulfilled their duty towards the gone artist – they finished off what he had been doing over a long span of time, in a rather vagabond manner and in strained conditions too.
The album had a long and winding road. It started in the comfort and tranquility of Ireland and was continued with songs born in the pain and bitterness which Michael fully tasted when he returned to his homeland. Finally it had to be finished by Michael’s friends who simply could not drop like some unnecessary waste the material Michael had worked on for so long . And we must be thankful to them that they did – at least they tried to do their best.
Songs like Breaking News and Monster could hardly originate in a place like Ireland where Michael relaxed and was treated with friendliness and understanding. These songs could be born only out of the pressure of hostility, nastiness and ridicule he faced when he returned to his country. The Cascio tracks are true and they are actually a powerful evidence of how Michael Jackson felt when he came back hoping for a little bit of understanding similar to the one he had found among the people of Ireland.
Instead they treated him like a Monster again. And they didn’t even allow people to hear what Michael was attempting to say in those last songs – they simply did their best to bury them. If it was really Michael’s family who started it, I congratulate them on the big favor they did to Michael’s haters. They ridiculed the last work of Michael Jackson who put into it a lot of his strength, spirit and creativity, and finally managed to get the album stigmatized despite positive reaction even from the media.
The fans and detractors laughed at the album together questinioning Michael’s efforts to restart recording music, standing on his feet again and speaking about what was on his mind in the last years of his life. They strangled the album with their own hands and frankly, it feels like an insult to Michael now that we know how hopeful of it he was.
I myself am not too pleased with everything done by the musicians on Michael’s last songs. There are many drawbacks there, and the earlier version of Monster in my opinion sounded much better until 5o cent introduced his rap there. But even if we don’t want to listen to the over-processed songs we could at least read their lyrics out of simple respect for what Michael was trying to tell us in the last years of his life.
The Monster and Breaking News lyrics are actually a document to us. They are a sad look at how Michael felt when he returned home from his blissful stay in Ireland. These lyrics will help us understand why Michael eventually grew afraid – yes, afraid – of doing concerts in Las Vegas and moved out of the project, though this project was actually the reason why Jack Wishna pursuaded Michael to leave Ireland at all.
But this will be another story to tell.
Just remember what Billy Bush of Hollywood Access told us about the pain he still saw in Michael. Even he felt that Michael could not take one more ounce of disappointment. However Michael’s last songs tell us that it wasn’t just one ounce – this is what he had to face when he came back:
You can look at them coming out the walls
You can look at them climbing out the bushes
You can find them when the letter’s bout to fall
He’ll be waiting with his camera on focus
Everywhere you seem to turn there’s a monster
When you look up in the air there’s a monster
Paparazzi got you scared like a monster, monster, monster
Oh oh Hollywood it’s got you jumping like you should (Too bad)
It’s got you bouncing off the wall
It’s got you drunk enough to fall (Too bad)
Oh oh Hollywood just look in the mirror
And tell me you like
Don’t you, don’t you like it
He’s a monster
He’s an animal
He’s coming at ya Coming at ya rather too fast
Mama say mama got you in a zig zag
And you’re running
And you’re running just to escape it
But they are gunning for the money
So they fake it
Everywhere you seem to turn there’s a monster
When you look up in the air there’s a monster
When you see them in the street
that’s a monster, monster, monster (Too bad)
Oh oh Hollywood it’s got you jumping like you should
It’s got you bouncing off the wall
It’s got you drunk enough to fall (Too bad)
Oh oh Hollywood just look in the mirror
And tell me you like what you see
Monster (he’s like an animal)
He’s a monster (just like an animal)
He’s an animal (and he’s moving in the air)
He’s a monster
He’s an animal (everybody wanna be a star)
Why are they never satisfied with and all you give, yeh, yeh, yeh, yeah
You gave them your all
They’re watching you fall
And they eat your soul like a vegetable
Monster (why are you haunting me)
He’s a monster (why are you stalking me)
He’s an animal (why did you do it, why did you, why are you stalking
Monster (why are you haunting me)
He’s a monster (why are you haunting me)
He’s an animal