2005-2009 : The last recordings

All the studio recordings (songs, demos and alternate versions) recorded by MJ during the last years of his life (2005-2009). Songs and poems written but never recorded, live performances, covers and remixes by other artists are not included.

Sources : My personal research, Wikipedia, Michael Jackson: For The Record by Chris Cadman & Craig Halstead, Twitter account of Damien Shields and the amazing archives of the MJCast.

Baby’s Fire : Songs registered with Broadcast Music Incorporated in January 2009. Written by Michael Jackson, Ryan D.Groves. Recorded by Black Yussef. Also known as “Baby’s On Fire” and “Higher Baby’s Fire”. Remains unreleased.

Beatbox 2010 : Song registered with the United States Copyright Office and the year of registration. Written by Michael Jackson, Eric J. Kirkland, Michael Durham Prince. Remains unreleased.

Best Of Joy (2008 demo) : New version of “The Toy” written by Michael Jackson and recorded in 1981 for a Richard Pryor movie. In April 1991, Michael recorded new vocals for the track, including a new opening lyric. The original lyric, “I am your toy, I am your boy,” was changed to: “I am your joy, your best of joy”. In November 2008, Michael recorded new vocals for the track in the bathroom of his suite at the Bel-Air Hotel in LA, including a never-heard alternate option for a third verse. New lyrics include: “I am the rock that stands on solid ground, I am that friend always around. After Michael died, “Best of Joy” was remixed Ron “Neff-U” Feemster for the ‘Michael’ album in 2010. The vocals that appear on Neff-U’s remix are those recorded at the Bel-Air Hotel in November 2008. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Demo from 2008 remains unreleased.

Bomb Detonation : Written by Michael Jackson, Sheik Abdullah of Bahrain. Written during his stay in Bahrain in 2005 and 2006 for the shelved album promised to be released in late 2007 by 2seas. Rough vocal demo known to exist. Remains unreleased.

Boy No : Damien Schields : ” I have no clue when it was recorded. One of the instruments (maybe a classical guitar not sure) sounds similar to what can be heard in “Days In Gloucestershire”. But in my opinion “Boy No” bears no resemblance to “Beautiful Girl” and definitely not to “Human Nature”.

Broken Chair : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Damien Shields : “What I heard was an instrumental. My notes say “booming digital drums and rock/electric guitar”. Don’t ask me to describe it further – that’s all my notes say. It’s one of the many work-in-progress ideas MJ gave random titles to – to make it easier to refer to the track”. Remains unreleased.

Breath : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Can’t Stop Loving You : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Change : Demo written by Steve Porcaro in 2009. Remains unreleased.

Coco Butter : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Craze : Damien Schields : “The version of Craze I heard was an instrumental”. Remains unreleased.

Cry : Written by Michael Jackson and Marsha Ambrosius in 2009. Remains unreleased.

Dangerous (This Is It) : Mix done for the canceled This Is It performances in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Dark Lady aka H2O : Damien Shields : “same song. Excellent demo from 2008. One of the rare tracks with a FULL scratch vocal. MJ sings the vocal melody in one continuous take. No stops or breaks. There are barely any sensical lyrics in the entire song, but the vocal melody is very fleshed out. Yes, I’d say the bass line is somewhat similar to Queen’s “Under Pressure” – but beyond the bass line, the songs themselves sound absolutely nothing alike. The vocals are not complete. The lead vocal was done in one single rough take, ALL the way through. 2 verses, 2 choruses, then more repeat choruses and adlibs at the end. There are SOME stacked background vocals in SOME parts, but just to get the feel. Lyrics aren’t done at all.”. Verse (low): Dark lady will get what she wants wants every time. Dark lady don’t know what she is [mumbling lots of gibberish] + da da da. Pre-chorus: She get the right one (repeated countless times). Chorus (falsetto): And you should save me from heaven, save me from [gibberish]. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

D.I.E : Written by Michael Jackson, Michael Prince, Theron Feemster III (Neff-U). Found in 2009 on one of his lists in his bedroom where he wrote songs that he wants to finish. Worked between 2008 and 2009. Two versions of the song were registered with the United States Copyright Office (On the first Michael Prince is not credited). Some sources are stating that “D.I.E” states for “Dance Is Entertainment”, but this is not confirmed. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Dreams aka I’m Dreamin’ : Written by Michael Jackson, will.i.am. Recorded in late 2006/early 2007. Damien Shields : “is a flip/redo of “I Can’t Wake Up (I’m a Blunt)” with MJ singing a re-written version of the hook: “I’m dreaming about being in love…”. Chorus lyrics are: “I’m dreaming about being in love / I’m floating around and I just can’t wake up”. will.i.am attempted to release the song in 2013, but was unable to receive approval to do so from the Michael Jackson Estate. Remains unreleased.

Everybody Wants To Be A Movie Star : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

From The Bottom Of My Heart : Recorded in 2005/2006. Damien Shields : “Bottom Of My Heart is a totally separate song. The version I heard was an instrumental, and I was told by someone who worked on the music that MJ never got around to recording it. But it was on MJ’s list of songs he wanted to keep working on”. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Ghost of Another Lover : Bootleg snippet leaked online without intro in low quality. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Full demo remains unreleased.

Green Hornet Groove : Damien Shields : “is something Brad Buxer worked on. Instrumental. My notes say it was composed to be pitched for use in the Seth Rogan film The Green Hornet, but it ultimately wasn’t used”. Remains unreleased.

He Who Makes The Sky Grey : Written by Jermaine Jackson, Sheik Abdullah of Bahrain. MJ recorded vocals during his stay in Bahrain in 2005-2006 but the song was never completed. Remains unreleased.

Hold My Hand (duet with Akon)  : Demo recorded in December 2007 (at Studio X at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas). It leaked in June 2008. New remix released posthumously on December 10, 2010 (Michael). One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Original demo remains unreleased.

Hot Fun In The Summertime (demo) : Michael Prince : Neff-U had originally worked with Michael, Brad Buxer and I long before 2008,” continued Prince. “He originally came to Brad’s house years earlier and worked on some stuff that never came out, like ‘Hot Fun In The Summertime’ – the 1969 Sly Stone song. I think MJ only sang a tiny bit on that one, but they were trying a bunch of stuff. Neff-U is very talented.”. A remixed version feauturing Jesse Johnson, D’Angelo & Mary J Blige was recorded in 2014. Both the demo and the remix remain unreleased.

I Am That One : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

If We Still Love : Written by Michael Jackson and will.i.am in January 2007. Remains unreleased.

I Have This Dream (2nd demo) : Written by Michael Jackson, David Foster and Carol Bayer Sager in 1999 during the Invincible sessions. MJ worked on the song with John Barnes at Neverland in 2004. and the song became a charity single after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and was co-written with Abdullah bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the second son of Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the king of Bahrain. Singers James Ingram, Ciara, Snoop Dogg, the O’Jays, R Kelly and Shirley Caesar recorded vocals in Los Angeles. In October 2005, Michael recorded parts with a orchestra in Metropolis Studios in Chiswick, London, but never completed his vocals and did not attend further sessions. John Barnes came to Bahrain in 2005/2006 to work on the song. Abdulla said he had spent $2.2m on “I Have This Dream” and cited it, among other songs, in his lawsuit against Jackson in 2008; the parties settled out of court. Played during a court hearing in London in 2008. Remains unreleased.

I’m Dreamin‘ aka Dreams : Written by Michael Jackson, will.i.am. Recorded in late 2006/early 2007. Damien Shields : “is a flip/redo of “I Can’t Wake Up (I’m a Blunt)” with MJ singing a re-written version of the hook: “I’m dreaming about being in love…”. Chorus lyrics are: “I’m dreaming about being in love / I’m floating around and I just can’t wake up”. will.i.am attempted to release the song in 2013, but was unable to receive approval to do so from the Michael Jackson Estate. Remains unreleased.

I’m Still the King : Written by Michael Jackson, will.i.am. Recorded in late 2006 – early 2007. Also known as “The King” and “Still The King”. Intended to feature artists influenced by Jackson like Usher and Ne-Yo. The song is not finished. Remains unreleased.

Is She Coming Back : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

I Was A Looser : New version of “I Am A Looser” recorded late 2008 in Michael’s Bel Air Hotel suite. One of the songs listed by MJ as “The Looser” on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Short snippet leaked online but full demo remains unreleased.

I Will Miss You : Written by Michael Jackson, will.i.am. Worked on in January 2007. Damien Shields : “about James Brown”. Remains unreleased.

King Tutankhamen : Damien Shields :” I heard was an instrumental track from 2008. No vocals on what I heard”. Remains unreleased.

Lady of Summer : Damien Shields : “is one of the pieces MJ showed to classical composer David Michael Frank in 2009 shortly before he died”. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Leaving Today To Benin : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Light the Way : Written by Michael Jackson, Sheik Abdullah of Bahrain. MJ recorded vocals during his stay in Bahrain in 2005-2005 but the song was never completed. Damien Shields : “has a horn section intro, and a choir in the choruses. According to my notes, the choir sings: “Light the way, let’s pray for peace”. Slow song. No lead vocal on what I heard. Just music + choral chorus. I haven’t heard a song with the title “Pray For Peace,” but I heard Light The Way, and the words sung by the choir in the hook of Light The Way include: “let’s pray, pray for peace”… But I don’t know if they’re the same song, connected, or completely different/unrelated songs”. Remains unreleased.

Lonely Bird : Written by MJ. Cited by MJ in his 1993 deposition. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Red Eye : Written by Michael Jackson. Mentioned by MJ during the 1993 Mexico Deposition. Reworked in 2008 with Neff U. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Remember What I Told You : Damien Shields : “has vocals. Starts off acapella and builds into an epic finale with many layers of MJ’s voice. Recorded at MJ’s house in Vegas in 2008. Very rough demo with lovely vocals.Yes, it’s a somewhat comparable vibe to Speechless. Remember What I Told You is nicer, IMO. It had potential to be really special. I wish he’d been able to finish it. Alas. It’s an incomplete demo with “do do, de de” parts. It starts acapella, but MJ asks for playback. And so then he sings with a piano. The end has multi-layered MJ vocals and finger snaps. It’s like 90 seconds in total. Short but very sweet. Fans deserve to hear it. They’d adore it. As for lyrics… “Remember what I told you, and remember for all time. Do do do do do do do do, dee dee dee dee dee dee.”. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Rock Tonight : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

She Don’t Love Me : Damien Shields : “Recorded in 2008. But to my knowledge, it’s just one line of vocals. “She don’t love me. She don’t want me. She don’t need me. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t care.” That’s all that was on what I heard. The rest is just instrumental”. Remains unreleased.

Shut Up And Dance : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Silent spring : Damien Shields : “is an instrumental”. One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

The Fields of Athenry : Written by Pete St. John. Recorded in 2006 with the Caheraggin Village Choir. Remains unreleased.

The Future : Written by Michael Jackson, will.i.am. Worked in 2006/07. On the 13th of August 2007, will.i.am told reporters at a Black Eyed Peas press conference in South Korea that another track he recorded with Jackson is titled “The Future”. Song about environmental issues. A dance track. Remains unreleased.

Think Twice : Brad Buxer composition for MJ. Damien Shields : “I just found a note for “Think Twice” in an old binder folder. My notes say it’s an instrumental with synthesised electric guitars on it. No vocals.” Remains unreleased.

Too Late To Turn Back Now : One of the songs listed by MJ on a handwritten note of songs he wanted to finish in June 2009. Remains unreleased.

Unknown* : On May 22, 2009, fans heard Michael recording a new song from a building in the back of his Holmby Hills home. Michael tells them he is working on the lyrics and has not chosen the title yet. Remains unreleased.

* To this day, the last song known to have been recorded by Michael 42 years after Big Boy.

Vile and Miserable : One of the songs MJ worked on with will.i.am in 2006. Alternatively titled “Miserable Soul”. Snippet leaked online in early November 2015. Remains unreleased.

Wanna Be Startin Somethin (2008) : Remix by Akon featuring new vocals by MJ recorded in November 2007 at the Palms Studios in Las Vegas and released on February 8, 2008 (Thriller 25 Special Edition).

Water : Written by Michael Jackson, Michael Prince, Theron Feemster III (Neff-U). Apparently recorded in early 2009 at the Carolwood house. The production is complex, with water droplets and a “Stranger in Moscow” aesthetic. Only the chorus was recorded (which MJ sang a snippet of in “This Is It”), but people have described it as “amazing” and “magical”. Damien Shields : “Recorded in MJ’s final years. Production includes water splash sounds. Only lyrics: “Inches of water, water, trying to take a piece of my mind/Inches of water, water, trying to take a piece of my time.” Very nice background vocals: “Inches of water, ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo.” Remains unreleased.

What’s It Gonna Be : Song written by MJ in 2006. The song is not “What’s It Gonna Be?!”, recorded by Jackson’s sister Janet and Busta Rhymes. Remains unreleased.

You Are So Beautiful : Song MJ began writing during his 2005 child sexual abuse trial, as a thank you to his fans for their ongoing support. Remains unreleased.

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