http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/music-news/9016530/Michael-Jacksons-show-tunes-of-Robert-Burns-poems-to-be-heard-for-first-time.htmlMichael Jackson's show tunes of Robert Burns poems to be heard for first time
By Simon Johnson, Scottish Political Editor9:14PM GMT 15 Jan 2012
A collection of Michael Jackson songs based on the works of Robert Burns is to be heard by the public for the first time, according to one of the late pop superstar’s closest friends.
David Gest, a music producer who collaborated with Mr Jackson on the project, said he has offered the album to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire during a recent visit to Scotland.
He said the self-styled King of Pop was a huge Burns fan and was delighted to make the recordings, which see the works of Scotland’s Bard transformed into show tunes.
Their existence was revealed the year before his death in June 2009 but they have never been released.
Mr Gest, the former husband of actress Liza Minnelli, even claimed that Mr Jackson’s smash-hit Thriller was inspired by the supernatural elements of Burns’s Tam O’Shanter.
In an interview with BBC Alba, the Gaelic TV channel, Mr Gest said: “Both being fanatics, I said to Michael, let's do a play Burns's life and he said he would help me with the music.
“Michael believed in the project so much. He said: 'I'll give you the studio (in Los Angeles) and I'll pay for all the music’.
“We went to his recording studio at the family house in Encino, where all the Jacksons grew up and we took about eight or 10 of Burns's poems and we put them to contemporary music, things like A Red Red Rose and Ae Fond Kiss and the story of Tam O'Shanter.”
The songs were originally intended to be part of a musical, directed by Gene Kelly and produced by actor Anthony Perkins. The death of both men meant it was never staged.
Mr Gest, a former contestant on the reality show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here released a film on Jackson's life last year.
In 1996, he staged a show called Red Red Rose, which was based on Burns's life and starred the actor John Barrowman.
A spokesman for the National Trust for Scotland, which runs the Ayrshire museum, said, confirmed Mr Gest was a recent visitor.
“We understand there was some discussion about the donation of some musical materials. If it goes ahead it will be an exciting addition,” he said.