Amidst the buzz surrounding the on-going manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's former physician Conrad Murray, it was announced that a compilation album containing the late King of Pop's greatest hits will be released this fall. Titled "Immortal", the CD is set for U.S. release on November 21 via Epic Records in conjunction with MJ's official estate.
Described as a "musical tapestry," the upcoming album will be filled with redesigned versions of Michael's hits, electrifying mashups and never-before-released outtakes of his tunes. Those which will make the final cut to the effort include an alternate version of Jackson 5's "ABC" and a choir-led rendition of "They Don't Care About Us".
The album is a soundtrack for "The Immortal World Tour", a new Cirque du Soleil musical celebrating MJ's life and legacy. The show was kicked off in Montreal on October 2, and is set to proceed throughout North America by hitting at least 60 big cities. It will end in Chicago next summer and take up a residency at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Kevin Antunes worked on the theme songs under the direction of writer/director Jamie King. "Michael's legacy as the greatest entertainer of our lifetime is inspiring beyond words. It was clear from the start that Michael's voice and overall musical essence was the sole/soul source of creative energy driving the project," Kevin said.
The musical designer added, "From the studio to the stage, there's an undeniable integrity and resolute truth in Michael's vocal performances that are highlighted in the Immortal arrangements. It was built with love and respect for Michael's music, his family and his millions of fans around the world."
Jamie also promised they will be as inventive as possible with the arrangements and mash-ups of the album. "Definitely all the hits that the fans want to hear are there," he told Billboard. " 'Beat It,' 'Thriller,' 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ' -- the big, iconic songs are there, with some other songs mixed and matched throughout. There's some younger Michael in there as well, 'Ben,' the Motown stuff...It's a mixed bag of tricks in terms of songs."
"Immortal" will be made available as a single 15-track package and a double-disc 22-track edition. It follows the release of 2010's "Michael" and 2009's "This Is It" soundtrack album. The former features some of the late singer's unreleased tracks, while the latter is a compilation based on rehearsal video for MJ's London comeback concerts which were supposed to take place in O2 Arena.
A month before the album release, there will be a special tribute concert held to honor Michael. Hosted by Jamie Foxx, it will feature the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce Knowles, Ne-Yo, Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green, Jennifer Hudson, Leona Lewis, Craig David, Pixie Lott, Alexandra Burke, Alien Ant Farm and Smokey Robinson.
Deluxe Album Tracklisting: