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Paul Anka Claims 'This Is It' is a Rip-Off

10/12/2009 5:58 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

If you think Michael Jackson's "This Is It" sounds familiar, it's because the song is a rip-off that was released nearly two decades ago by another artist ... and the man making this claim is none other than music legend Paul Anka.



Anka tells TMZ in 1983, he wrote a song with Jackson called "I Never Heard" -- and the demo of the song was recorded in Anka's studio in Carmel, CA. Anka says he took the tape to a studio in Hollywood to put the finishing touches on it for Anka's duets album, "Walk a Fine Line." Anka claims Jackson -- who was just blowing up at the time with "Thriller" -- got a big head and "stole the tapes" from the studio.

Anka tells us he called the lawyers who repped both he and Jackson -- ironically one of them was John Branca -- and threatened them with a lawsuit if he didn't get the tapes back. Anka got them back but insists Jackson made a copy of the tapes and used the track with his voice from "I Never Heard" -- and simply retitled it, "This Is It."

Anka gave "I Never Heard" to another artist -- Safire -- who recorded it in 1990.

We called Sony Music who released "This Is It" ... no comment so far.

Anka tells us he's talking with his lawyers about his legal options.

297 COMMENTS

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1.

arlene    

i have said it before & i will say it again LEAVE MY MJ alone u big weirdos.

1784 days ago
2.

LuvMJbad    

This is the same kind of crap MJ delt with in life. Please let him rest in peace. The news his fans and loved ones want is the arrest of all people involved in his death. JUSTICE FOR MICHAEL JACKSON!!!! I Love and miss him more everyday!

1784 days ago
3.

Knyte    

Paul Anka, MJ sung it better you failed.

1784 days ago
4.

KC    

Michael Jackson sings it way better anyways.
R.I.P. Michael

1784 days ago
5.

Knyte    

Well i suppose now Sony has released this song the haters will criticize Michael and not Sony for publishing....im sure MJ didnt want this released.

1784 days ago
6.

Cali MJ Fan    

Yup- TMZ-- we've been saying that all morning. LOL

But interesting what Paul Anka has to say about it. Different from what SaFire said on her MySpace page the day MJ died. Maybe she didn't know the behind the scenes.

But INTERESTING that Branca may have known about this-- Hmmmmm. Maybe he never heard the song back then?

Will continue to give Branca benefit.... Anka, let's see what else he has to say. If he wrote the song with MJ, and then gave the song to SaFire-- and she doesn't object to it being played... does Anka still have a case?

1784 days ago
7.

Daisy    

Both sound exacly the same. He just didn't have 'it' in him anymore. In any event, the song is boring. They can both have it.

1784 days ago
8.

Mr J    

Wow... blatant ripoff. With all due respect to Michael, the melodies and chord progressions are identical as well as some of the lyrics. Last I checked, 1981 came before 1991. That said, Paul Anka has a legit reason to pursue any legal action necessary.

1784 days ago
9.

Kazzar    

MJ co-wrote the song...why would he need to steel the tapes. Don't make sense.

1784 days ago
10.

Sara    

I like the song, but I don't think MJ would have wanted this song released, being almost exactly the same as Safire's version. And I really hope it sounds better on the radio, it sounds kinda fuzzy...

1784 days ago
11.

For Sure    

It is the same song ...Music companies do it all the time re release. If MJ is singing it sells more copies than Saffire...Now all they have to do is pay Paul Anka...The Estate ...Publishing Company lol AEG.

Think there is enough pie to go around. lmao!

1784 days ago
12.

randi    

Michael is not here to defend himself. Sony is the one that released this song, not MJ. It is definitely a demo, not the real thing. Michael would have been very upset to have this song released this way, he was a perfectionist and this song was not perfect. Plus, Sony had his brothers sing background and added an orchestra, I don't think Michael would have approved of this release.
Of course, Sony is only out to get money, they don't care about anything else or how Michael would have felt having this demo released. It's not even in the concert, the song is supposedly sung after concert is done. So, I don't believe for a minute that Michael okayed this demo to be part of the concert.
Sony, AEG is greedy, Michael hated Sony and he didn't trust or like Randy Phillips, that should tell you something.

1784 days ago
13.

kitty    

this could be exactly why michael never released it people! who knows? and he shouldnt be faulted since he wasnt the one who released the song. anyway, he sounds a million times better than safire singing it.

1784 days ago
14.

Michelle    

This is person should Michael was the one who demo it first and then this other person got it and now they wanna complain that they are using it.. oh hell no it's someone trying to jump on the ban wagon and they should be glad that it's getting recongigtion it's not the best but jackson fans just wanna hold on to the last things that he did I wish they would not have tacked on the brothers but whats done is done...here we go again....it will never end..Fyi he should have won the Noble peace Prize..

1784 days ago
15.

Vasily G    

Mj version is better then, the other chick yes they are close. very close. but, he's gone. it wouldn't matter anymore. you should be honored that your crappy song. MJ took it and made it better. without him. your a nobody!

1784 days ago
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