Exclusive: Michael Jackson Recorded A New Album in 2007
Michael Jackson recorded a whole new album of material in the fall of 2007. The information about the album was only recently revealed by sources close to the late pop star.
Readers of my old column will recall that I reported on November 19, 2007 that Jackson spent three months with the Cascio family in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey after decamping from a Northern Virginia home he’d been renting courtesy of then manager Raymone Bain.
Jackson, his kids, nanny and tutor landed on the Cascio doorstep at the end of the summer of 2007 and stayed until November 7th. During that time Michael was not idle, as some thought. He recorded at least a dozen tracks with Eddie Cascio, who is also known as Angel.
I’m told that Jackson’s manager and adviser, Frank DiLeo, knew that Jackson was working on a new album. DiLeo and the Cascios all declined to comment for this article.
The song titles that I’m aware of include: “Water,” a song Michael actually sang a little bit of in the movie, “This is It” (Jackson fans have commented on this on fan blogs), plus “Breaking News,” and “Burn Tonight.”
According to one source who’s heard the material, Michael’s vocals are “perfect.”
The question now, of course, is what happens next. The Jackson estate just signed a record deal with Sony Music that could be worth $200 million, but it includes re-releases of previously recorded music, live albums, and an album of unreleased songs that were in the Sony vaults or recorded during Jackson’s contracted time with the label.
That deal does not include newly discovered material. This could mean that other record companies could bid for the collection of songs.
Eddie Cascio, who’s 28, is the second oldest son of Dominick (Sr.) and Connie Cascio, who were friends of Jackson since the 1990s, Dominick Cascio Sr. met Jackson in 1984-85 when he was the general manager at the Helmsley Palace Hotel in New York City. Jackson recognized the Cascios immediately as a “normal” family, and quickly befriended them. Since Jackson’s death, the Cascios have been frequent visitors at Katherine Jackson’s home in Encino, California.
Over the years, Jackson reciprocated the Cascios’ hospitality with enormous generosity. Although the Cascios were not named in Jackson’s will, the song tracks should prove to be multi-million dollar bonanza—and a lasting gift to people whom he really considered family.
The Cascio’s were so close to Jackson that a message from them, written by Eddie, was included in the booklet distributed at Jackson’s Staples Center memorial service in July 2009. Here’s what it said:
“Doo Doo, It is only once in a lifetime where you meet a true Angel sent
from the Heavens above. I count my blessings each day for I have experienced Heaven on
Earth. The wisdom, guidance, and knowledge will always be remembered and put into
action. I thank you for the memories, for they will remain in my heart forever and ever.
Our friendship will always be treasured. I write on behalf of my family.
We promise to always remain ‘The First Family of Love’.
From the Bottom of our Hearts
WE THANK YOU and will love you FOREVER and ALWAYS.
ANGEL ‘Dr.Heat’ Cascio and the Cascio Family”
The newly discovered Michael Jackson album I told you about –exclusively–yesterday may pose some legal problems.
The album was recorded by Michael in the fall of 2007 with Eddie Cascio at his home in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. No one knew about it until earlier this year. Cascio, 28, is the second oldest son of longtime Jackson friends Dominick and Connie Cascio, Michael’s surrogate family.
Yesterday I wondered in this space if Michael’s recordings with Cascio would be covered by his estate’s recent $200 million deal with Sony. I thought maybe not, since no one knew about the tracks at the time of the deal.
But things could get sticky between the Jackson estate and Cascio. I am told that Cascio has engaged a top music entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, Don Passman. And sources do say that Cascio is “covered,” whatever that means. There’s no word on whether Jackson–who used to put his “M” signature on anything in front of him–signed a piece of paper with Cascio.
There will be some tough questioning by the estate over who wrote the songs Cascio recorded, and whether Michael was their author or co-author. I’m told that may be “covered” as well by copyright registrations.
Indeed, two days after Jackson died–on June 27, 2009–Cascio filed a copyright claim along with Michael Jackson and another songwriter for something called “MJ Songbook.” The filing is just for lyrics. An earlier filing. from March 2008, is labeled “JPEC Collection.” The song titles in each collection are not specified in the Library of Congress’s database, but it’s possible that Cascio updated his 2008 filing after Jackson died to reflect the superstar’s contribution to material Cascio had already written–and wisely registered.
What everyone who’s heard the tracks agrees on is that Michael Jackson’s vocals sound great. At the time, Jackson was getting good sleep, and lots of Italian homecooking from the Cascios, who are restaurant owners. It was probably the best time Jackson had had since his November 2003 arrest.
Meanwhile, executor John McClain–who’s had health problems– is going through some 60 other unreleased tracks, selecting what he thinks are the best ones for a Jackson album to be released this fall by Sony.
McClain is not considered a Clive Davis, really, in the business. But he helped Janet Jackson, whom he grew up with, start her career at A&M Records. And he briefly co-managed Michael in the early Nineties with Trudy Green. McClain, unlike Jackson intimates Frank DiLeo and John Branca, has so far not heard the Cascio tapes, I am told.
“He’s resisting it,” says a source, while he’s busy sorting through those 60 tracks.