We've put a moratorium on the hysterically hyperbolic Michael Jackson coverage since his death, but I think it's time to lift the ban for some actual music news. A new single called "This Is It" will hit the airwaves on October 12, two weeks before it is available as part of a two-disc album released by the late King of Pop's record label in an understandable cash grab, the first of an avalanche, no doubt.
Sony Music's Columbia/Epic Label Group has announced that it will release the "This Is It" album internationally on October 26 and in North America on October 27, to coincide with the simultaneous worldwide release of the Jackson movie of the same name on October 28.
A spokeswoman in London said that contrary to some reports, the posthumous single would not go on sale separately but would be available for radio stations to play from October 12.
"This song only defines, once again, what the world already knows: that Michael is one of God's greatest gifts," said John McClain, co-producer of the album and an executor of Jackson's estate. Why are we bringing bearded sky bullies into this? Or does McClain have a higher view of Joe Jackson than the rest of us?
Jackson died of an overdose of prescription drugs on June 25, while in the thick of rehearsals for a 50-date, sold-out series of comeback concerts in London.
The "This Is It" movie, subject of a $67 million deal between Jackson's estate and concert promoter AEG Live and Sony Pictures, is based on footage from the final concert rehearsals.
As is the case with any superstar death, sales of Jackson's records skyrocketed after he passed. The release of the movie and album will add to the value of the "Thriller" singer's estate, estimated at around $400 million.
Sony Music said the first disc of the two-disc album will feature some of Jackson's greatest hits plus two versions of the new single "This Is It." The song includes backing vocals by Jackson's brothers. No word on whether that was originally Jackson's plan.
The second disc will include unreleased versions of some of the singer's classic tracks, as well as a spoken poem entitled "Planet Earth" performed by Jackson and never heard before.