Thursday, 15 October 2009

Friedman: Jackson wasn't a great songwriter and stole other people's music

Gossip columnist Roger Friedman today launched a bemusing attack on Michael Jackson.

While Jackson was alive Friedman was considered by many to be the most accurate source of information on the star. However, since the King of Pop's death Friedman's sources seem to have deserted him.

For months Friedman touted the upcoming 'This Is It' soundtrack as a live album. Last week it was revealed that the set was actually a greatest hits album, but Friedman has neglected to mention this on his website.

He has now launched a bizarre assault on the King of Pop, stating that he was 'not a great songwriter' and baselessly claiming that he 'often took credit for material that wasn't his'.

The remarks would be offensive if they weren't so hilarious.

Jackson was a phenomenal songwriter. During his adult career he wrote the majority of his own hits, including 'Billie Jean', 'Beat It', 'Wanna Be Startin Somethin', 'Bad', 'The Way You Make Me Feel', 'Dirty Diana', 'Smooth Criminal', 'Don't Stop Til You Get Enough', 'Black or White', 'Heal The World' and many, many more. Not to mention the vast majority of the material on 'Jacksons' albums such as 'Destiny' and 'Triumph'.

As for Friedman's allegation that Jackson took credit for other people's material - it is entirely without merit. It is true that Jackson was repeatedly sued by chancers who implausibly claimed that he had pinched their songs, but I cannot recall a single instance in which he did not win. Jackson meticulously documented his creative process, archiving demos and even dictaphone tapes into which he would sing and scat songs as they came to him.

Friedman's comments were included in an article about the fall-out over 'This Is It', the demo Sony has put out to coincide with the release of 'Michael Jackson's This Is It', their documentary about Jackson's concert preparations. Since it hit radio stations on Monday morning, songwriter Paul Anka has claimed that the track was actually a collaboration between Jackson and himself.

In his article Friedman says Anka was a victim of 'theft' by Jackson, neglecting to mention that Jackson has been dead for four months and therefore clearly had no involvement in the decision to release the song exclusively under his own name. Indeed, it was already released once during Jackson's lifetime with both of their names on it.

Friedman also neglects to mention that the 1983 collaboration between Jackson and Anka was actually based on one of Jackson's own demos, a 1980 track titled 'This Is It', meaning that Jackson was the principal songwriter anyway.

It remains unclear whether the song released to airwaves this week was even the Anka collaboration at all - it could be Jackson's original 1980 demo. Either way, Friedman appears to have taken what was arguably a mistake on the part of the Jackson estate and concluded that it somehow proves Jackson was a habitual song thief. Talk about adding two and two and coming up with fifty six.

In 2006 Friedman was humiliated when his email account was hacked, exposing his bad practice. Leaked correspondence showed that he had conspired with Mariah Carey's manager to sabotage Madonna's tour by writing negative reviews of her concerts. In one instance he falsely claimed that Madonna had been booed offstage at a concert he hadn't even attended.

Friedman was fired from Fox News earlier this year for reviewing a pirate DVD of 'Wolverine'.