Thursday, July 2, 2009



MICHAEL JACKSON'S old albums have been selling like crazy since his death last Thursday . . . and it's happening at an unprecedented clip.

"Billboard" has released the sales numbers from last week, and Michael has set all kinds of new records. (--Keep in mind, all this happened in just FOUR days. Last week's numbers include sales from Monday, June 22nd, through this past Sunday. But naturally, most of Michael's sales occured AFTER his death on Thursday.)

First off, three of his albums . . . the 1982 classic, "Thriller", and the greatest hits discs "Number Ones" and "The Essential Michael Jackson" . . . all sold more than the highest-selling recent release, the BLACK EYED PEAS' disc, "The E.N.D.".

Those three albums all sold over 100,000 copies . . . and "The E.N.D. only sold 88,000. However, the Peas still scored last week's #1 album, because Michael's albums were TOO OLD to be eligible to top the Billboard 200.

Instead, Michael's sales numbers are reflected on the Billboard Top Pop Catalog chart, which is for sales of releases that have been out for over 18 months. And as expected, Michael DOMINATED that chart.

(--Here's the Top 10 . . .)

#1.) "Number Ones", MICHAEL JACKSON (108,000 copies)
#2.) "The Essential Michael Jackson", MICHAEL JACKSON (102,000 copies)
#3.) "Thriller", MICHAEL JACKSON (101,000 copies)
#4.) "Off the Wall", MICHAEL JACKSON (33,000 copies)
#5.) "The Ultimate Collection", THE JACKSON 5 (18,000 copies)
#6.) "Bad", MICHAEL JACKSON (17,000 copies)
#7.) "Dangerous", MICHAEL JACKSON (14,000 copies)
#8.) "Greatest Hits: HIStory, Volume One", MICHAEL JACKSON (12,000 copies)
#9.) "The Ultimate Collection", MICHAEL JACKSON (11,000 copies)
#10.) The "Woodstock" movie soundtrack, VARIOUS ARTISTS (8,000 copies)

Here are a few interesting facts about Michael Jackson's numbers: --This is the FIRST TIME that a catalog album . . . (--that has been out for over 18 months) . . . has outsold the top-selling recent release (on the Billboard 200). (--And again, THREE of Michael's albums accomplished that this week.)

Michael holds EIGHT of the Top 10 spots on the Billboard Top Pop Catalog chart . . . NINE if you include THE JACKSON 5 disc. The previous record for the most simultaneous Top 10 albums by one artist on that chart is FIVE. --That record was held by both THE BEATLES and AC/DC. (--The lone non-Michael-related album on the Top 10, the "Woodstock" movie soundtrack, sold 8,000 copies because it was recently reissued for Woodstock's 40th anniversary.)

In all, Michael sold 415,000 albums last week. That's incredible . . . considering that his albums only sold 10,000 copies in the week before his death. In fact, his catalog had only sold 297,000 albums this YEAR, up through June 21st. --Of those 415,000 albums, 58% . . . or, roughly, 240,000 . . . were digital downloads. But remember, that's digital ALBUMS . . . not individual tracks.

Michael also became the first artist to sell more than one million individual digital tracks in one week. If you include the Jackson 5, he had 2.6 million song downloads.



MICHAEL JACKSON'S will was released yesterday. As we'd heard, this is the will Michael drafted in 2002, following the birth of "his" third child. (--There are rumors going around that there's a second will. But we're hearing that's NOT true. Michael had made previous wills . . . but legally, his most recent will would supercede them.)

As we also heard, Michael's mother, KATHERINE JACKSON, was named the primary guardian of the kids. --But if Katherine were to die . . . or was unwilling or unable to act as guardian . . . Michael stipulated that the kids be handed over to DIANA ROSS.
--As for Michael's estate . . . the will lists its value at $500 million. But all of that is in, quote, "non-cash, non-liquid" assets . . . including the Sony / ATV music catalog and other, quote, "interests in various entities." --Michael willed that his estate be placed in the Michael Jackson Family Trust . . . which is administered by attorney John Branca and music executive John McClain. The beneficiaries of that trust are Michael's three children and his mother.
--As expected, Michael gave nothing to his father or any of his eight siblings. --DEBBIE ROWE gets a mention in the will . . . but not a good one. The will states, quote, "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife." --Michael provided for her quite handily in life. He most likely gave her MILLIONS to disappear from their kids' lives.

However, as the children's biological mother . . . (--we think) . . . Debbie would most certainly have rights, should she choose to exercise them. We STILL haven't heard whether she plans to do so.

--As for Michael's estate being valued at $500 million . . . well, this will was drawn up seven years ago. It's probably worth a lot less . . . but it could still be worth a fortune, if it were liquidated and Michael's debts were paid off. --Katherine Jackson remains a "special administrator" of the estate. But Branca and McClain are requesting that they be placed in control, as stipulated in the will. A hearing on that matter will be held on Monday.

It's not clear whether this will turn out to be a BATTLE. We don't know if Katherine Jackson will fight to remain in control of the estate. Some reports indicate that this is just a formality, and that everybody is pretty much on the same side here.)

Branca and McClain issued a statement saying, quote, "As we work to carry out Michael's instructions to safeguard both the future of his children as well as the remarkable legacy he left us as an artist we ask that all matters involving his estate be handled with the dignity and the respect that Michael and his family deserve. (--You can read the will for yourself here . . .)

Roger Friedman . . . a gossip columnist who's spent an inordinate amount of time covering MICHAEL JACKSON over the years . . . claims to have the inside track on Michael's funeral.
He says it's going down on Tuesday . . . beginning at 10:00 A.M. . . . at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. --That supposedly comes from insiders at AEG Live . . . which owns the Staples Center, as well as the Nokia Theatre next door. (--They were also promoting Michael's upcoming run of shows in London.)

Supposedly, they'll be using BOTH venues, plus the surrounding plaza. They'll also put giant screens outside for those who can't get inside. There's no word how ticketing will be handled. (--It would be INSANE if they tried to do admission on a first-come, first-serve basis. There would be riots.)

Here's something that might amuse you: The day after Michael's funeral . . . the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus hits the Staples Center. -In fact, Michael's funeral will reportedly force them to start setting up several hours later than they had planned.

There's still no word where Michael will be buried. As of last night, Michael's body was being held at the Hollywood Hills location of Forest Lawn Cemetery. But nobody's saying if that will be his final resting place.

Yesterday, the Jackson Family once again denied that any kind of funeral or memorial service would be held at the Neverland Ranch. They said, quote, "Contrary to previous news reports, the Jackson family is officially stating that there will be no public or private viewing at Neverland. --"Plans are underway regarding a public memorial for Michael Jackson, and we will announce those plans shortly." -But it does appear that SOMETHING is happening at Neverland. On Tuesday night, port-a-potties were delivered to the ranch. And yesterday, TMZ got footage of a fancy white horse-drawn hearse being transported on the 405 Freeway toward Santa Barbara . . . in other words, in the general direction of the Neverland Ranch.(--We don't even know this thing is for Michael. But here's the video anyway, in case you're interested . . .)

There's a rumor going around that the Jackson Family DID try to obtain the necessary permits and exemptions to have Michael buried at Neverland . . . but they weren't going to be able to get them in time. Whether something's happening at Neverland or not, people seem to THINK it is. Hotels in the vicinity of the ranch are said to be booked solid through the weekend. --Wherever and whenever Michael's funeral is held, ELIZABETH TAYLOR will be there. And she's bringing BARRY MANILOW.

Barry has a 4th of July gig in Washington, D.C., after which he's flying to L.A. to be Liz's escort. --He says, quote, "[Michael] will go down as one of history's greatest entertainers. I was very happy to be in the world when Michael Jackson was in the world."


TMZ is reporting that the DEA . . . the Drug Enforcement Agency . . . is now assisting in the investigation into MICHAEL JACKSON'S death. --Specifically, they're helping to investigate the various doctors who treated Michael . . . and prescribed various medications for him.

There's a lot of talk that a sedative called Propofol . . . also known as Diprivan . . . led to Michael's death. It's a very powerful drug that's normally used as an anesthesia, to knock people out for surgery.

Cherilyn Lee . . . a nutritionist and registered nurse who had been working with Michael . . . claims he would BEG her for it to treat his insomnia. --And while she refused to supply it for him, and begged him not to take it. But she believes he eventually got it through someone else.(--Here's video of Lee describing how she tried to talk Michael out of taking Propofol (slash) Diprivan . . .)
We've heard that one of the drugs investigators found at Michael's home earlier this week WAS Propofol. He was supposedly having it administered via IV. But that hasn't been confirmed. --Obviously, the leading candidate to have given Michael an IV would be CONRAD MURRAY . . . the doctor who was with him when he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.
As you may recall, earlier this week, Murray's attorney said that his client did NOT give Michael Demerol or OxyContin. But he didn't mention any other drugs. --Meanwhile, we're hearing that AEG Live . . . the company that was promoting Michael's upcoming shows in London . . . is going to release video from Michael's rehearsals. (--They may have already done so. If not, you can supposedly expect it by the end of the day.)

They're doing this in order to prove that Michael was at the top of his game . . . and dispel rumors that he was frail and in poor health. --The footage will show Michael, quote, "dancing, singing, and directing his show, [and] interacting with cast members."


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