Michael Jackson goes into studio with Robert Burns

From Steve Bartholomew, a visitor services manager at the Rosenbach Museum & Library:

I share this somewhat tongue-n’-cheek, but …..

Knowing that the staff of the Rosenbach is up on both ancient and modern pop-culture, I don’t need to remind you that today is Michael Jackon’s 50th birthday, nor are you unaware that he is thinking to release a new album.

What I didn’t know, and you may not, is that he is not writing the lyrics. Michael (see article below) is taking his lyrics from the pen of Robert Burns.

So, I’ m thinking where could I see some original Robert Burns poetry, if I wanted to….

Hey, doesn’t the Rosenbach Museum and Library have the largest collection of Robert Burns material on this side of the Atlantic?

On this I’ m not certain, but do we not have a manuscript copy of Tam O’Shanter?

Sharing this information with friends, i have looked off dreamily and spoken aloud how I wished I had been at the museum when Michael arrived as a reader.

Michael came to the Rosenbach?, they ask. And, I reply, honestly with a wink, that I can neither confirm nor deny it.

As always,
– Steve

Michael Jackson goes into studio with Robert Burns
David Gest claims to have collaborated with pop legend on album setting poems to music
Alison Flood
Wednesday August 27 2008

Robert Burns’s poetry might have been dismissed as “sentimental doggerel” by Jeremy Paxman but that hasn’t stopped diminutive I’m A Celebrity contestant David Gest and pop legend Michael Jackson from recording an album of the much-loved Scottish poet’s work. Gest’s spokesman said the album is a modern musical take on some of Burns’ classic poems, and had been a long cherished project.

He explained that he and Jackson were originally planning to do a musical about Burns’s life, but decided instead to turn his poetry into show tunes. Poems featured on the album include Ae Fond Kiss and Tam O’Shanter, the story of a man from Ayr who stays too long in a pub and witnesses a satanic vision on his trip home. Gest is now keen to tackle Red Red Rose, he said.

“We haven’t changed the lyrics but the music is now modern and brought up to date,” Gest said. “Michael and I had fun. It’s something we have always wanted to do?because he is our favourite poet.”

There are no current plans to release the recording as an album.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008

One thought on “Michael Jackson goes into studio with Robert Burns

  1. Thanks Steve! I can’t help but imagining “Is There For Honest Poverty”, more commonly known as “A Man’s A Man For A’ That”, on that recording. Boggles the mind!
    Barbara Zimmerman, Rosenbach Docent

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