Poetry News

Michael Jackson's Album of Show Tunes Based on Robert Burns' Poems Surfaces

By Harriet Staff

And we get to hear it! Well, some day. According to the Telegraph:

David Gest, a music producer who collaborated with Mr Jackson on the project, said he has offered the album to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire during a recent visit to Scotland.

He said the self-styled King of Pop was a huge Burns fan and was delighted to make the recordings, which see the works of Scotland’s Bard transformed into show tunes.

Their existence was revealed the year before his death in June 2009 but they have never been released.

Mr Gest, the former husband of actress Liza Minnelli, even claimed that Mr Jackson’s smash-hit Thriller was inspired by the supernatural elements of Burns’s Tam O’Shanter.

In an interview with BBC Alba, the Gaelic TV channel, Mr Gest said: “Both being fanatics, I said to Michael, let's do a play Burns's life and he said he would help me with the music.

“Michael believed in the project so much. He said: 'I'll give you the studio (in Los Angeles) and I'll pay for all the music’.

“We went to his recording studio at the family house in Encino, where all the Jacksons grew up and we took about eight or 10 of Burns's poems and we put them to contemporary music, things like A Red Red Rose and Ae Fond Kiss and the story of Tam O'Shanter.”

The songs were originally intended to be part of a musical, directed by Gene Kelly and produced by actor Anthony Perkins. The death of both men meant it was never staged.

And here's another related article from the New Music Express.

Originally Published: January 16th, 2012