Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Michael Jackson, George Michael and Van Halen.


Dear Keith

I was wondering if Michael Jackson will really release his box set in September, and if not, when?



Hi Victor,

Michael Jackson's "The Ultimate Collection" -- a four-CD set of hits, previously unreleased material, demos and stray tracks -- is tentatively scheduled for an Oct. 5 release via Sony's Legacy imprint.

The set will feature upwards of 60-tracks, including all of Jackson's solo No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. The package also looks likely to include a number of Jackson's hits with the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons.


Hi Keith,

For the second time in its chart career, George Michael's newest album "Patience" is the "greatest gainer" on The Billboard 200. How many copies has it sold? I know it's nowhere near the multi-platinum numbers of "Faith," but given that Michael's American career has been stalled for eight or nine years, it seems like "Patience" is a sleeper hit.

How do its sales compare with recent releases like "Songs From the Last Century," "Ladies and Gentlemen... the Best of George Michael" and "Older?"


Mark Blankenship

Hi Mark,

Thus far, "Patience" has sold 291,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. You are right, the album has yet to sell anywhere near the numbers that "Faith" posted back in the 1980s. The Recording Industry Association of America has certified that 1987 album 12-times platinum, reflecting U.S. shipments of 12 million copies.

His last studio album, "Older," has sold 881,000 to date. "Songs From the Last Century" has shifted 149,000 units and his greatest hits package, "Ladies & Gentlemen," has moved 932,000.


Hello Keith,

With the release of Van Halen's "Live Without a Net" on DVD coming up in September, does Warner Bros. have any plans to reissue the Sammy Hagar-era CD titles in remastered editions like it did the David Lee Roth-era titles in 2000?



Hi Kelly,

There are no more Van Halen album reissues on the horizon from Warner Bros. But as with all things, this could always change.

In 2000, six of Van Halen's classic albums were digitally remastered and re-released. They were: "Van Halen," "Van Halen II," "Women and Children First," "Diver Down," "Fair Warning" and "1984."

Next month sees the release of "Live Without a Net," the DVD edition of a 1986 Van Halen concert home video title. Due Sept. 14, the set features performances with then-new lead singer Sammy Hagar, including such songs as "Best of Both Worlds," "Love Walks In," "Why Can't This Be Love" and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love."