“Michael,” the Michael Jackson album comprised of original material recorded by the King of Pop before his death, will be released Dec. 14 on Epic Records in conjunction with his estate, it was announced today (Nov. 4).
The first full track from the album, entitled “Breaking News,” will premiere Monday on michaeljackson.com and stream for one week. The song was originally recorded in 2007 in New Jersey and completed after the singer’s death last year, according to the announcement.
A teaser for “Michael” will launch on the site tomorrow; the album will also become available for pre-order online within the next 24 hours.
The album cover for “Michael” (pictured above), which was painted by Kadir Nelson, depicts the singer in several of his most iconic looks, from “Off the Wall” and “Thriller” to “Bad” and “Smooth Criminal.”
Issuing “Michael” on Dec. 14 insures that the album is available for what is traditionally the biggest sales week of the year, the one leading up to Christmas. Last year’s “This Is It”scanned 373,000 units in its debut week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album’s sales total stands at 1.6 million units.
So far this year, Jackson has scanned 1.5 million units. In 2009, the year he died, Jackson albums scanned 8.3 million units in the U.S.
“Michael” is the second major Michael Jackson project to be announced this week. On Wednesday, 2011-2012 tour dates for Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, a Cirque du Soleil production based on Jackson’s music and career, were unveiled. The show begins its North American run next Oct. 2 in Montreal and plays 14 mostly Canadian cities in 2011, with 13 more dates announced for 2012. Additional cities and multi-night engagements are expected to be announced.
“It’s really just a celebration of the man and his legend and his immortality,” director Jamie King said of the production. We get to go inside Michael’s head…inside this place of beauty and serenity and peace and learn all the secrets that are Michael — his loves, things that he believed in — and take this fantastic journey together. It really is based off of things we all really know of Michael.”