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Michael Jackson left Paul Anka “beyond p*****” when he stole a recording of a song they worked on together on Anka’s home studio.
The 80-year-old crooner and Michael – who died in June 2009 from acute Propofol intoxication at the age of 50 – became friends in the 1970s when the pop star and his family attended Anka’s Las Vegas shows.
Eventually, Anka and Michael discussed working together and the ‘Beat It’ hitmaker agreed to be a guest on his 1983 album ‘Walk a Fine Line’, but after being sent the tapes of their recording, Michael decided he wasn’t going to record the track and never sent back the masters.
Speaking to the New York Post newspaper’s Page Six column, Anka said: “I got close to them.
“I sent the tapes to Los Angeles for him to meet me there so we could put the rest of the band on. They called me from there a couple of days later and said, ‘Mr. Jackson stole the tapes.’
Recalling how he then contacted his lawyers – who also represented Michael – he added: “I said, ‘Guys, am I missing something? We’ve got a contract.’
“Well, Paul, you know he’s got ‘Thriller’ out and it’s taking off. He just doesn’t want anything else out there, blah blah. And we can’t find the contract.’ I said ‘What? OK, boys, I see who’s more important. You’re getting sued. I’m out of here.’”
Anka did eventually get the tapes back and hired new lawyers, but he was left stunned in 2009 when Michael – just before his tragic passing – released the song ‘This Is It’ which he immediately recognised as the track the co-wrote back in the 1980s.
The ‘Diana’ singer said: “I got a hold of the lawyers, who were the same two lawyers who screwed me in the beginning. I said, ‘Hey guys, that’s my song with Michael. We have a problem here, boys. This ain’t going to fly; you’ve got about two, three hours to fix this.’
“It was very simple. I said, ‘I want half of everything or it’s not coming out.’ And we got what we wanted.”
The Michael Jackson Estate also later confirmed that ‘This Is It’ – which was the name of Michael’s planned 50 concert residency at The O2 in London which never took place and the name given to the documentary about the rehearsals – had been “co-written by the legendary Paul Anka”.
Despite the legal wrangling, Anka holds no ill-feelings toward Michael as he deserved all his huge success.
He said: “Michael went on to be what Michael is, deservedly so as an artist. He was a great artist.”