Paul Anka’s MJ Moment

Turns out Michael Jackson wasn’t the sole songwriter on his posthumous hit “This Is It.” The Gloved One had a little help from Paul Anka.

Yes, that Paul Anka, the singer / composer whose songwriting credits include “Diana,” “Lonely Boy” and the “Theme To The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” Anka and Jackson wrote the tune in 1983, but they didn’t call it “This Is It.” Instead, they named it “I Never Heard,” and the song was originally recorded by Sa-Fire in the early 1990s, listing Jackson and Anka as co-writers.

Photo: AP Photo
In this Nov. 8, 2007 photo, Michael Jackson poses on the red carpet during the RainbowPUSH Coalition Los Angeles 10th annual awards in Los Angeles. 

First a little history.

The song was discovered in a box of tapes and featured Jackson’s voice accompanied by a piano. Although no one really knew anything about the song’s authorship, Sony Music speculated Jackson recorded the tune around the time of his Off The Wall album 30 years ago.

Then strings were added to the recording along with backup vocals from Jackson’s brothers. The song was released on MJ’s official Web site Sunday night.

But no one knew about Anka’s involvement. That is, until Anka himself heard media reports about the song sounding a lot like “I Never Heard.” At first he considered legal action, but that soon ended when the Jackson camp acknowledged his involvement.

“There’s nothing but honorable people here,” Anka said, confirming he will receive 50 percent of the song’s songwriting royalties.

“They did the right thing. I don’t think that anybody tried to do the wrong thing. It was an honest mistake.”

Anka also said the track was recorded around the time Jackson was making Thriller, which would put place the song’s origin in the early ‘80s.

Photo: AP Photo
Heating up Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Celebration concert at NYC’s Madison Square Garden.

As to the song having the same title as that given to Jackson’s planned 50 shows at The O2 arena, it now appears one did not have anything to do with the other. In fact, there’s no indication Jackson ever planned on releasing the recording in any form. Sony Music says it’s merely a coincidence the shows shared the same title.

But don’t think this is the last “new” song you’ll hear by Michael Jackson. Shortly after Jackson’s June 25 death former Sony Music chairman and CEO Tommy Mottola told Associated Press that Jackson recorded “dozens and dozens of songs” that have never seen the light of day.

Which means there’s probably more new MJ on the way.