Michael Jackson's Theft of Paul Anka's Song
Anyone who has been in the music biz or in any band knows that there are many songs that have stolen melodies, guitar licks, music patterns. Just listening to many of today's rock or pop songs one can hear this. But you have to know what to listen for.
Yes, all of the now rock legends, from The Beatles, Elvis, Zeppelin to today's Top Ten like Green Day, White Ties and many more, have stolen or "borrowed" elements from songs. Usually, this is just a coincidence and not a direct, intentional, theft. Usually, the musician did not premeditate their action. Most of the time, it is just from being exposed to it at sometime in the musician's life and they stumble into using it with some variation.
However...this was NOT the case with Michael Jackson's deliberate and premeditated theft of Paul Anka's, "This is it" now called, " I Never Heard".
Paul Anka is now 69, he was the Justin Bieber back 50+ years, both come from the same town in Canada. But, back in the 80's, around MJ's Thriller recordings, Anka and Jackson had recorded many songs in the studio together (MJ was an Anka fan) in Carmel, California in a two week session. Many songs were recorded with a planned duet release LP. However, MJ's music advisors were dead against this, and MJ backed away after the sessions ended. That is when MJ instructed his people to return to the studio while Anka was not there and steal the recordings despite the legal contract both men had signed.
When Anka found out, he threatened to sue and the tapes were returned, however...MJ had created copies of them and there the tapes sat in storage until AFTER Jackson's death. When producers were going material for MJ's THIS IS IT movie, they found the duet song Anka had written called, THIS IS IT. MJ's producers then changed the name (because the planned tour was called the same name) to I NEVER HEARD.
The New York Times and TMZ asked Anka what is he going to do about this theft once they caught wind of this, Anka had no clue about it. He forgot about the song he penned over 20 years ago. When Anka was played MJ's, I NEVER HEARD, he was shocked. That was HIS song!
Anka quickly got the legal team working and the case was a slam dunk for he had all of the original song material still and it was copyrighted under, THIS IS IT. Of course, MJ's estate was busted red-handed. His producers thought they could rip off Anka with no recourse. An out of court settlment was reached splitting the royalties 50/50.