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MTV Poll: Greatest Album Ever (Thriller Nominated). 28-02-'09

MTV (UK) has launched a competition to determine which album is considered to be the "greatest album ever" by music fans. MTV Base, MTV Two, and VH1 initially picked 100 albums each for inclusion (each of which had to have been released after 1981--the year MTV launched) and a final shortlist of 27 possible albums have been posted for public voting. VH1 initially named Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Bad" albums as contenders in the top 100 (MTV Base nominated "Thriller as well), and "Thriller" has made it to the public voting shortlist. A special will air on April 10, 2009 across all three networks to announce the winning album as the "greatest album ever!" In addition, Top 100 countdown specials will air February 28th (MTV BASE, TMF) and March 1st (MTV TWO, VH1).

Fans are encouraged to vote online for the album that they consider to be the greatest ever (from the list of 27 selected albums, that is). As a huge incentive, one lucky voter will win 243 of the top nominated albums and a "Nokia Comes with Music" handset. Three other runner-ups will also receive the handset. No registration is necessary and voting can be done online, although you will need to provide contact details to be eligible for the prize giveaways. Because the countdown and winning announcement specials are set to air across a multitude of worldwide music networks, there is potential for a lot of positive publicity for the winning album.

Source: MTV / Billie Jean

Court Rejects Dibango's Claims. 27-02-'09

According to dpa (Deutsche Presse Agentur) reports, Cameroon musician Manu Dibango (75) failed with his court case against Michael Jackson and Rihanna.

In early February 2009, Dibango had filed a lawsuit against Rihanna and Michael Jackson in Paris (France). He was claiming they stole a hook from one of his songs. Parts of Dibango's "Soul Makossa" (1972) were used on the track "Wanna be Startin' Something" on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album. Back then, he and Michael Jackson had reached a financial settlement in this matter. But in 2007, Rihanna obtained permission to use the same section of melody on her hit single "Please don't stop the music." Dibango was reportedly seeking €500,000 in damages. His lawyers had also asked the court to block record labels Sony BMG, EMI and Warner from receiving any income from the records until the matter is settled.

However, the court in Paris rejected his motion as being illegitimate.

Last year Dibango had successfully applied for his name being listed on Rihanna's releases containing the song 'Don`Stop The Music'. The court in Paris ruled that with this agreement the African artist abdicated from any further claims.

Source: MJFC Germany / Billie Jean

Michael "Wants To Move On". 26-02-'09

In an interview to China.org.cn, Darren Julien, president of the Julien's Auctions, talked about Michael Jackson`s motifs to sell many items from his personal property in an auction in April. Despite lots of speculations in the press, Julien said that it was not a forced sale, and the entertainer just wanted to move on in his life:

"Michael Jackson is allowing us to conduct this auction because he wants to move on to the next chapter in his life.

When he closed down Neverland, he did not want to put everything in storage. It took him more than 30 years to collect all these items.

We expect the auction to bring in US$1.5 - US$3 million.

I don't think that he will be giving us any other items after this auction," Julien said, but the veteran auctioneer is confident that Jackson "will come to view the exhibition. But it is not likely that he will come to the auction. However, with Michael Jackson, you never know."

Source: Billie Jean

Court: Michael Jackson Owes Torrance Law Firm. 25-02-'09

A Torrance law firm has once again emerged the victor in a protracted court battle with pop star Michael Jackson over unpaid legal fees.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal issued an opinion Monday favoring Ayscough & Marar, which represented Jackson on various civil matters around the time he was on trial for child molestation in 2005.

However, Jackson beat it before paying the $217,000 bill.

Ayscough & Marar sued Jackson and two of his companies in Torrance Superior Court. Just as the case was to go to trial before a downtown Los Angeles judge in June 2007, Jackson agreed to pay what he owed, plus interest.

Then Jackson appealed, claiming Judge James Chalfant wrongly denied his request to postpone the trial.

"It made no sense," Brent Ayscough said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "How do you appeal something you agreed to pay?"

A message left for Jackson's attorney, Thomas Mundell, was not returned.

In addition to the legal fees, Jackson also agreed to pay $175,000 to cover Ayscough & Marar's expenses for suing Jackson, Ayscough said.

At the time of Jackson's appeal, he had paid the firm approximately $440,000. Ayscough said they will likely file a motion to recoup the costs of fighting the appeal as well.

Ayscough said his firm was hired through Jackson's brother and then business manager, Randy Jackson, who remains a longtime client of the firm.

"We were turned over his civil cases," Ayscough said. "There were quite a few."
At the time, Jackson was defending himself against accusations that he sexually molested a young boy at his Neverland Ranch in Santa Maria. Jackson was acquitted of the charges.

The judge in Santa Maria had issued a gag order in that case, and various news organizations were fighting it.

Ayscough & Marar fought mostly successfully to keep the information related to the criminal case out of the media and also dealt with other civil cases.

One case was brought by Jackson's former business associate, porn producer F. Marc Schaffel, over more than $1.4 million in unpaid royalties and loans from various collaborations.

At first, the legally embattled King of Pop paid his bills. Then he stopped.

"I said, `If you don't pay us, we're gonna quit,"' Ayscough said.

The firm sued in February 2006 and Jackson countersued, claiming his former lawyers wrongly threatened to reveal information related to the criminal trial if he didn't pay. Chalfant dismissed the cross complaint.

Ayscough & Marar won a court ruling that ordered Jackson to participate in a deposition. He went, but then, inexplicably, left before it was over.

Chalfant had found that Jackson failed to submit other information in the case and refused to delay the trial so Jackson's attorney could remedy the situation or continue negotiating a settlement.

Ayscough & Marar isn't the only law firm that has pursued Jackson for unpaid bills.

According to E! Online, the firm Wachtel & Massey quit a New York breach of contract case when Jackson stopped paying his bills, although Jackson claims he fired them.

Source: dailybreeze.com / Billie Jean

European Exhibition Of Auction Items In Ireland. 23-02-'09

Several hundred of the items from the auction of personal property of Michael Jackson (for more details see earlier news items) are to be displayed at a New bridge showroom in Kildare (Ireland) starting March 6, 2009 and will run for two weeks.

The choice of Ireland as the only European venue for an exhibition was made by Martin Nolan, the co-owner of Julien’s Auctions which is conducting the sale.

“We originally planned to display his belongings for a week in London and a week in Ireland, but we decided that his fans are committed enough to travel to Ireland, where there is a purpose-built museum that we’ve used before to exhibit pop memorabilia.

The contents are being finalised, but the focus will be on his style. We’ll also be exhibiting some of his personal effects, paintings and some of the lighter pieces of furniture.

In keeping with Michael’s life, it will be a show, full of theatre and music.”

Among the lots on view will be a collection of five crystal gloves seen in the short film 'Ghosts' (guide price €3,900 to €5,500). Visitors will also see the jacket Michael Jackson wore on the Dangerous tour (guide price €1,000), a rhinestone-covered equestrian hat worn during the 1981 Triumph tour (guide price €400), a pair of rhinestone-embroidered acrylic tube socks worn on the same tour (guide price of €465 to €625) and a MTV Moon Man award (guide price €6,000).

Nolan was given the task of cataloguing the contents of the Neverland Valley Ranch:

“It took a team of 30 people almost 90 days to move and label the contents of the house. Removing a marble fireplace, imported from an Italian castle, cost €17,000 alone.
The property was as Michael had left it, with coats hanging on their hooks in the hallway and staff still maintaining the house and grounds.”

Nolan and his business partner Darren Julien stored the contents in nondescript warehouses and trailers in order to “diversify the risk of some of the belongings being stolen”. Nolan said: “The sale is a huge security operation. The 2,000 items are likely to sell for between €1.2m and €2.4m but could make much more because of the star factor.” The auction will also include a fedora the entertainer wore in the video for 'Billie Jean'.

Martin Nolan describes Michael Jackson as an obsessive collector of memorabilia:

“We discovered the car from Driving Miss Daisy in Neverland. If Michael fell in love with something, he bought it.
According to Nolan, Michael Jackson regards the sale as cathartic:

“He’s closing a chapter in his life and moving on.”

One of the few possessions that Jackson has refused to sell is his red jacket from the Thriller video.

“He felt it was too precious. I think he would prefer it to be on public view, maybe in the Smithsonian in New York,” Nolan said.

Source: Times Newspapers / Billie Jean

Thriller Live To Extend Its Stay In London. 22-02-'09

Thriller Live opened on January 21, 2009 at London's Lyric Theatre and was originally slated to play until April 12. However, because of it’s great popularity, the West End Company will be extending their stay at the Lyric Theatre by 24 weeks to September 27.

Meanwhile at the same time, another Thriller company has embarked on a tour of the U.K. and Europe and are scheduled to make 23 different stops. This tour began on February 13 in Northampton (UK) and will end on July 11 in Birmingham (UK).

Thriller Live is a musical celebration featuring the hit songs of Michael Jackson & the Jackson 5.

Source: nimaxtheatres / Billie Jean

Jackson Set To Launch Spectacular 30-date At O2 Arena? 21-02-'09

Michael Jackson is set to launch a spectacular 30-date comeback at London’s O2 arena this summer.
Jackon has been in secret talks with organisers for months in a desperate bid to revive his career.

The 50 year old singer is reportedly on the verge of securing £1.5($2.3)million-a-night to perform.
Bad news for fans, ticket prices are set to cost over £500($700) per ticket.

The last time Michael performed in England was the History tour in 1997.

A source said: ‘It will be the greatest comeback in the history of pop and there would be no problem selling out the O2 every night. There have been rumours about his health but that is not an issue. He is capable of doing all the shows.’

Michael needs the money now more than ever, it is understood he has accrued debts of more than £150($250) million.

Source: buzzpatrol / Billie Jean

Explore Julien's Auctions Catalogs Online. 19-02-'09

Julien's Auctions has just published several of the Neverland Ranch Auction catalogs online. These virtual catalogs can freely read and explored at their site, in their entirety. Currently, the Furniture and Decorative Arts catalog along with the Antiques, Paintings and Fine Decorative Art catalog are available for viewing. The other three catalogs are expected to be posted shortly.
The catalogs are between 120 and 220 pages in length and contain many high quality photographs of the items Michael Jackson has approved of be sold at an auction in April. It is anticipated that all of the items will be available for viewing (and bidding) online by the end of the week. Hardcover editions of this boxset can also be purchased for $100 (unsigned) or $500 (signed, limited print).


Source: Julien`s Auction / Billie Jean

Auctioneer Talks About Auction. 17-02-'09

Darren Julien, the LA-based auctioneer of celebrity merchandise who is in charge of the auction of Michael Jackson property in April, is very much looking forward to the event:

"Michael Jackson was a collector of everything. We've never seen a collection that is as extensive and eccentric as his.

He [Michael Jackson] has never had one (an auction). This is something that Michael is doing of his own free will. He is not being forced into it.

We have been working closely with him for five months and he is in complete control of this."

Julien also said a similar white glove like the one included in the auction fetched $35,000 at an auction in 2006, while a pair of the singer's white socks went for $15,000 in 2005.

The conservative estimate for the total value of all the items on the block is $1.5 million to $3 million.

Source: FoxNews / Billie Jean

BET: MJ Is 2nd Most Important Influencer. 14-02-'09

As part of their 'Black History Month 2009', BET Networks (Black Entertainment Television) has listed the 'Top 25 Influencers In Music'. Michael Jackson comes in at #2 and is only beaten by Bob Marley but listed in front of such extraordinary artists as James Brown, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin.

Here’s the complete list:

1. Bob Marley
2. Michael Jackson
3. Prince
4. Ella Fitzgerald
5. Little Richard
6. James Brown
7. Ray Charles
8. Aretha Franklin
9. Marvin Gaye
10. Curtis Mayfield
11. Stevie Wonder
12. Quincy Jones
13. Berry Gordy
14. Russell Simmons
15. Miles Davis
16. Diddy
17. Jay-Z
18. Nina Simone
19. Tupac Shakur
20. Notorious B.I.G.
21. Luther Vandross
22. Chaka Khan
23. Diana Ross
25. Mary J. Blige

This is what they had to say about the entertainer:

“He is the King of Pop and nobody will ever take that title from him. Jackson redefined the concept of music videos and has sold over 750 million units worldwide.”

Source: BET / Billie Jean

Does Michael Jackson Have An MRSA Infection? 13-02-'09

Several internet sources are reporting that Michael Jackson may be fighting a severe MRSA infection on the face. These sources state that he is on IV Antibiotics for treatment of this multiple drug-resistant bacteria, and that it may have originated from nasal surgery. Could this be true?

There doesn't appear to be any word from Michael's spokesperson yet.

Jackson’s fans have been worrying about his health ever since the ‘Thriller’ star was seen with a raw and painful-looking skin condition.

Jackon was seen coming out of a Beverly Hills clinic this week.

According to the Daily Express, the singer appeared with cracked, swollen hands and blotchy cheeks, before stepping into his car still wearing a surgical cap and mask.

He is believed to be undergoing treatment for Vitiligo, a disease which causes loss of pigment and irregular, patchy skin.

Pictures showing Jackson raising his trousers to reveal dark, raw patches of skin were posted on the Internet by his fans last week.
For his sake, hopefully the rumours are false and he remains in good health.

Source: The Sun / Billie Jean

Grammy Museum Presents "Michael Jackson: HIStyle”. 12-02-'09

On February 7, 2009, The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles (USA) unveiled 'Michael Jackson: HIStyle'. This one-of-a-kind exhibit features a selection of the elaborate clothing that has come to define the “King of Pop’s” uniquely personal style. Located on the Museum’s third floor, this limited-time exhibit will offer visitors the unprecedented opportunity to get up close and personal with one of pop culture’s most iconic looks.

“The GRAMMY Museum is excited for this rare chance to share this material with our visitors,” said Chief Curator Ken Luftig Viste. “Michael Jackson is undeniably one of the most significant entertainers in pop music history, and the pieces’ starpower – and design -- is striking. Few, if any, have ever before been made available to the public in this way.”

Including eight elaborately embellished jackets, two gloves, and more, the exhibit will be on display until mid-April 2009.
Highlights include jackets worn on the Victory tour, at Jackson’s 1984 American Music Awards appearance, and at the dedication of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. All are elaborately bejewelled, beaded, and detailed – with one piece weighing nearly fifteen pounds.

“As a 21st Century museum, we will update our exhibit content frequently,” said Executive Director Robert Santelli. “Though we’ve only been open a short time, Michael Jackson: HIStyle allows us to demonstrate our steadfast commitment to putting that goal into practice. Plus, it’s an amazing collection.”

Programs related to Michael Jackson: HIStyle will be announced shortly.

The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE is located at 800 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90015. With an entrance off of Figueroa Street (one-half block from STAPLES Center), the Museum is located within the L.A. LIVE sports, residential, and entertainment district, at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Source: The Grammy Museum / Billie Jean

Japan: Thriller Blue-Spec Version. 12-02-'09

Sony Music Japan will release the album 'Thriller' in the high-fidelity Blu-spec CD format. This new CD format with catalog No.: EICP-20036 is fully compatible with standard CD players.

The limited release is scheduled for release on March 25, 2009.

Source: CD Japan / Billie Jean

Updates On Auction Of MJ Property. 10-02-'09

As we reported earlier, an array of treasures from Michael Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch - ranging from Michael Jackson's iconic white-jeweled glove to the grandiose entry gates to Neverland Valley Ranch - are up for sale in a live auction boasting more than 2,000 items.

Julien's Auctions will host a museum quality exhibition of the items at 9900 Wilshire (California, USA) open to the public on April 14-21, 2009 (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily; $20.00 per person for the week).

The auction itself will take place on April 22-25, 2009.

April 22nd:

Session I: Garden Statuary and Outdoor Furniture
Session II: Furniture and Decorative Arts
April 23rd:

Session III: Furniture and Decorative Arts
Session IV: Fine and Decorative Arts Including 19th Century Paintings
April 24th:

Session V: Amusements, Arcade Games and Disneyana
Session VI: Amusements, Arcade Games and Disneyana
April 25th:

Session VII: Memorabilia From the Life and Career of Michael Jackson
Session VIII: Memorabilia From the Life and Career of Michael Jackson

Julien`s Auctions informed us that they are currently in the process of finalizing the auction items as well as the catalog layout. It is planned to have the entire sale online ready for view and bidding by the middle or end of February. Bidding will be accepted in person and online. Auction Network will broadcast the auction live on US tv and stream video of the auction online providing fans all over the world a front row seat to watch and bid in real time on the items up for sale.

If you are planning to attend in person, The Beverly Hilton (awarded the Mobil Four Star for the second consecutive year), located adjacent to the site of the exhibition and auction, is offering special room rates, packages and VIP private bidding suites. For more information please visit http://www.beverlyhilton.com.

Juline`s Auctions also informed us that they will be running a fan contest with Auction Network! The contest will include a fan and guest being given round trip airfare, hotel and expenses paid to come to the auction event in April.

Stay tuned for more updates to come....!

Source: MJFC / Julien`s Auction / Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Poses With Christian Audigier. 08-02-'09

While the Webosphere has yet again erupted with unsubstantiated and confirmed false rumours of Michael Jackson being gravely ill, fashion designer Christian Audigier has quietly published a brand new photograph of Michael Jackson taken January 30, 2009.

Source: Ed Hardy / Billie Jean

Tabloid Rumours Swirl. 08-02-'09

Michael Jackson's semi-regular visits to his long time skin dermatologist (while donning a traditional surgical mask and/or related gear) have prompted tabloids and would-be book writers to once again insist that Michael Jackson is in dire conditions.

Gossip site Media Take Out went as far as to re-publish the now ancient photographs from 2002 which graphically depict Michael Jackson's long-since healed leg wound (caused from a spider bite). Media Take Out posted the pictures as breaking headline news on their site while portraying them as brand new pictures "showing off Michael Jackson's skin condition." Meanwhile, gossip queen Perez Hilton and other outlets ran with the latest round of pictures of Michael leaving the dermatologist's office and followed suit with similar unfounded claims.

Tabloid sensationalist Ian Halperin (remember him?) has quietly regurgitated his nonsensical claims about Michael Jackson being deathly ill with a wide range of outlandish diseases, and this time he is using Perez Hilton as proof (last time he used an 18-month old Roger Friedman gossip column)! Ian has promised to unveil more details in the coming week about Michael's so-called condition that only he seems to know about.
If you recall, Ian promised the world that he would bring out all the facts and evidence to confirm his claims back in mid-December of 2008 after they were roundly denied by Michael Jackson, and two months later he has yet to deliver on any of those promises. Instead, this opportunist continues to rely on other gossip columnists and anonymous (i.e., fictitious) sources to "backup" his claims.

Source: Billie Jean

Michael Jackson Spotted In Beverly Hills? 07-02-'09

Michael Jackson was seen in Beverly Hills on Thursday. Jackon covered his head with a surgical cap and mask and a pair of dark glasses.

A person who saw Michael said: ‘His hands looked very discoloured and skin looked like it was dangling from his fingers. We think Vitiligo is the reason for Michael’s discoloured nails.

Source: Perez Hilton / Billie Jean

African Singer Sues Rihanna And MJ. 04-02-'09

Cameroonian singer Manu Dibango lodged a lawsuit against king of pop Michael Jackson and R'n'B diva Rihanna at a Paris court on Tuesday, claiming they stole a hook from one of his songs.

French judges will decide on February 17 whether to allow the 75-year-old African's case against the artists to be heard. He is reportedly seeking 500,000 euros in damages.

Jackson had already accepted that parts of Dibango's 1972 "Soul Makossa" were used on the track "Wanna be Startin' Something" on the 1983 album "Thriller," and the singers had reached a financial settlement.

But in 2007, Rihanna -- apparently in good faith -- obtained Jackson's permission to use the same section of melody on her hit single "Please don't stop the music," without also contacting the original artist Dibango.

Separately, Paris-based Dibango's lawyers have asked the French courts to block record labels Sony BMG, EMI and Warner from receiving any income from the records until the matter is settled.

Source: Yahoo News / Billie Jean

Official Michael Jackson Auction Catalogue Update. 02-02-'09

Numerous fans have expressed concern over the fact that the official Julien's Auctions: Michael Jackson Auction (set to take place in April 2009) has changed the catalogue boxset from a six-volume to a five-volume package.

Those who preordered the boxset may feel confused or angered that they paid $100 or $500 for what was billed as a six-volume set to now receive one less in the mail without any explanation.
One of these five volumes will now be entirely devoted to Michael Jackson's "decorative art" collection, and it is this volume which was originally expected to be two thinner volumes, before the decision was made to combine all decorative arts into a single catalogue.

Source: Julien's Auction / Billie Jean

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Updated: 28/02/2009 9:42 AM

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