Sony Music and Jackson's estate confirmed to EW on Tuesday that the tracks "Breaking News," "Keep Your Head Up," and "Monster" — all from the late singer's posthumous 2010 compilation album Michael — had been pulled, though they stressed that the move had nothing to do with the music's authenticity.
"The Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music decided to remove the tracks 'Breaking News,' 'Monster' and 'Keep Your Head Up' as the simplest and best way to move beyond the conversation associated with these tracks once and for all," the parties said in a joint statement. "The focus remains where it belongs — on the exciting new and existing projects celebrating Michael Jackson's legacy… Nothing should be read into this action concerning the authenticity of the tracks — it is just time to move beyond the distraction surrounding them."
Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images Michael Jackson
The controversy dates back to 2014, when a fan sued Jackson's estate and Sony and alleged that the three songs — reportedly recorded two years before Jackson's 2009 death from cardiac arrest — don't actually feature his vocals. Jackson's estate and Sony denied the allegations, and appeals court judges ultimately ruled in their favor, determining that the estate and Sony didn't know for certain whether Jackson sang the songs, so they weren't liable.
In the lawsuit, Howard Weitzman, an attorney for the estate, cited numerous engineers, musicians, vocal directors, executives, and musicologists consulted to determine the authenticity of the vocals. According to Variety, he said, "We have complete confidence in the results of our extensive research as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael that the vocals on the new album are his own."