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November 22nd, 2008:

Songwriting Sheikh Suing Michael Jackson

It says something that the second son of the King of Bahrain, Sheikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa (left side of picture), basically became involved with Michael Jackson in 2005 because he wanted to have the self-described King of Pop sing/perform the songs he had written. Now the shiekh is suing Michael Jackson for £4.7m and he claims he set up the singer with a studio in his ranch so he could record the sheikh’s own songs. The full article is here.

Jackson is contesting the claim, insisting there was no valid agreement of repayment and arguing that the sheikh’s case is based on “mistake, misrepresentation and undue influence”. Bankim Thanki QC, representing the sheikh, told the court that his client set up a recording studio at the singer’s Neverland ranch and sent him compositions he had written himself.

Jackson recorded one of the sheikh’s songs the day after the pop star’s criminal trial ended over child molestation charges in California, Thanki said. The song, which was to have been released as a charity single to help victims of the Boxing Day tsunami, will be played in court during the trial. “It shows the quality of Sheikh Abdulla’s songwriting skills and that of Mr Jackson’s voice,” Thanki told the judge, Mr Justice Sweeney.

I can’t wait to hear this song (can’t find it anywhere)… and also, not to judge Shiekh Abdulla too harshly, ‘cos if I had that kind of money, I’d be “buying” my songs into posterity… May the Muse be with us all… even shiekhs…

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Sir Tom Jones on Songwriting

Sir Tom Jones just released a new album, 24 Hours, earlier this week in the UK. The new thing for Sir Tom (one of my wife’s favourite singers, btw) is that he wrote/co-wrote songs for the first time…

You can find the article here, but I’ve quoted a few essentials below:

What difference has it made being so involved in the songwriting?

I think it will make a big difference because the songs come from me, rather than somebody else writing them and then me trying to put them into my own style.

When I started this CD off, songs were coming which were not very good, I didn’t think. So then it was suggested, well, why don’t you do it yourself? So that’s what happened.

I needed a songwriter to put them into words, but the ideas came from me.

Are you trying to recapture a classic sound?

I liked what I did on Decca in the ’60s and I wanted to get that same feeling again, sound-wise especially. There’s a retro sound, but I feel that it’s still modern though. You know it’s not an old ’60s record, but the feel of it is.

Is that style of music ripe for a return?

Yeah I think so, with the Amy Winehouse record. I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time. And then I saw the video for the first [Amy Winehouse] track, I thought ‘that’s good’. So I got the CD and listened to it, and I thought ‘yes it can be done’.

It’s great to see somebody like Amy Winehouse doing it with those arrangements and with the sound. It’s refreshing and it gives you confidence to go ahead and do it. It’s working.

Bono wrote a song for Sir Tom too… Anywho, it’s Tom being Tom and being a songwriter for the first time, which makes the album a winner in reviews… Now the Muse is with him…

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