The big news coming out of music business today is the speed bump hit by Michael Jackson’s estate over the rights to a song called “This is It”. The supposedly new, unpublished tune was released by the estate yesterday as part of a package of unheard music discovered in Jackson’s personal inventory.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t take the time to write about something like this, but Jackson’s interpretation of the lyrics have me wondering what sort of mental processes were taking place at the time of the recording. Here’s the scoop. The Jackson estate released the ‘new’ song (complete with background vocals by the Jackson brothers) yesterday. Almost immediately, Paul Anka contacted the estate complaining that he had co-written and co-produced the song (called “I Never Heard”) back in 1983. For some reason, at that time, the song never made it into any of MJ’s albums, so Anka chose to hand it over to another singer, Safire, in 1990. To their credit, the Jackson estate quickly settled, offering Anka 50% of all rights and profits.
You can listen to both songs and compare them. They are clearly the same song, but Jackson alters the lyrics just a bit from Safire.
This is it. Here I stand.
I’m the light of the world, I feel grand.
This is it. Here I stand–in the light of the world. Love is grand.
Note that Jackson sings “I’m the light of the world”, while Safire sings “in the light of the world”. Big difference. And it’s not just the way I ‘hear’ the lyrics. Try Googling the lyrics for either title and see the lyric difference for yourself.
So, did Michael consider himself the Light of the World? In John 9″5, Jesus says that title belongs to Him: “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
And again, in John 8:12 — When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
So, which lyric did Anka contribute to?