With a familiar high-pitched voice
counting off one-two-three-four, a new Michael Jackson single debuted
online Monday, prompting a hasty response from the singer's estate
after Paul Anka revealed he was the song's co-writer.
"This Is It" is featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming documentary
featuring the late superstar, but its genesis was actually in 1983 when
it was written for a duets album Anka was recording.
The song was titled "I Never Heard," and Jackson and Anka are credited
as co-authors on an early 1990s version recorded by the singer Sa-Fire.
Anka said Jackson's estate moved quickly to give him credit, promising Anka 50 percent of the song's profits.
"They did the right thing," Anka said. "I don't think that anybody tried to do the wrong thing. It was an honest mistake."
The string-backed ballad was released on the singer's official Web site
and sent to radio stations. It gives advance publicity to the
documentary, culled from footage of Jackson rehearsing for the concerts
that he never got a chance to do.
Representatives of Jackson's estate acknowledged Anka's work in a
prepared statement. Until Anka stepped forward, the song's history was
"The song was picked because the lyrics were appropriate because of the
name Michael gave his tour," the statement read. "We are thrilled to
present this song in Michael's voice for the first time, and that
Michael's fans have responded in unprecedented numbers."
Anka, 68, initially contemplated legal action after being informed
Monday by outlets such as the New York Times and TMZ of the
similarities between "This Is It" and the Sa-Fire version. But later in
the day, he said he was satisfied with how the situation was handled.
"There's nothing but honorable people here," said Anka, a former teen
idol from the 1950s and '60s who sang "Put Your Head on My Shoulder"
and wrote "She's A Lady", one of Tom Jones' biggest hits.
Marry Me at Mile 26
Salvador Lopez-Barr fell in love with his running coach, Hollis Bathen, while training for his first marathon.
So it seemed only fitting to propose to her during another 26.2-mile
race, this one in Chicago. It was his fifth and her eighth, though the
Chicago Marathon also held a special place in Hollis' heart -- it was
the first marathon course she ever ran, back in 2004.
"So I decided to propose to her at the end of the race," Salvador, 36, said. "I only had to make sure to keep up."
Salvador -- a black-haired, cheerful attorney from San Francisco -- had
a simple plan. Buy the engagement ring. Carry it for 26 miles. And then
-- in front of the finish line grandstand, the TV cameras,
photographers, and the cheering crowd -- get down on one knee and
simply say "will you marry me?"
The proposal was to be a surprise. Everything had to be perfect, so Salvador prepared diligently.
He bought Nike runner's shorts with an interior pocket flap to hold the
ring's box. The pocket was so tiny, Salvador had to find a smaller box.
The pocket also didn't have a zipper. Salvador safety pinned it closed.
In an emotional interview with Oprah Winfrey, Mike Tyson claimed to be
a new man - one focused on his family. The former heavyweight boxing
champion feared that the erratic behavior that has dominated his life
for two decades would kill him within two years if he returned to it.
Tearful Mike Tyson to Oprah: 'I'm Tired of Failing'
Tyson opened up about most of his headline-grabbing actions over the
years, including his years in prison, his tempestuous eight-month
marriage to Robin Givens, his long addiction to drugs, the $400 million
fortune he squandered, the 1997 comeback match in which he bit Evander
Holyfield's ear, and -- for the first time -- the death of his
4-year-old daughter earlier this year.
The key development in Tyson's life stems from what seems to be a
newfound self-awareness following his participation in the movie
"Tyson," a documentary about his life filmed as he went through rehab
two years ago. "If I'm not conscious of who I am, I'm just going to let
myself run [wild], and I'm going to destroy my beautiful family, and
I'm going to destroy myself, and I don't want to go down that
road any more," he said.
Tyson ranged from terse to surprisingly candid as Winfrey asked the
fallen champion about his checkered past, and he delivered eye-opening
quotes about Givens and Holyfield while remaining somewhat tightlipped
about the specifics of his daughter's death.
On choosing not to know the details of his daughter's accidental death:
"I don't know. I don't want to know. If I know ... [then]
somebody's to blame for it, and if somebody's to blame for it, there
are going to be problems." The quote seems to insinuate that he doesn't
want to be mad at his ex-wife or any of his other children who might be
found at fault for the freak accident in which daughter Exodus was
found unconscious and tangled in a cord hanging from an exercise
On the "20/20" interview in which he sat idly while Givens called him
manic-depressive and said that life with Tyson was "pure hell" and
"torture": Tyson explained that the marriage was abusive "both ways" --
that he battered Givens, but that she abused him emotionally.
On the Holyfield incident: "I was pissed off that he was such a great
fighter ... I was just mad at him." Tyson said that after the incident,
"I didn't feel guilty at all," and that the apology he delivered
On why he hasn't spoken to Holyfield since: "I see him sometimes, I
think he's a little leery of me." Tyson added, "I just want to
apologize. I've known him for such a long time, and I was just
undisciplined. I was in a very competitive mood and I wanted so
desperately to beat him for my own self-aggrandizement, and I was just
On whether his current family-oriented, monogamous life is boring: "I
know I don't have two more years to live if I live this life." (By
"this life," he means his former hard-living world of drugs, women, and
In all, Tyson was more candid than most athletes are willing to be in
today's professional-sports landscape. But then, Mike Tyson has a lot
more baggage to unload, too.
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