The Michael Jackson Watch

Your guide to pop music's biggest thriller

December 9, 2003 12:00 AM ET

As Michael Jackson awaits next week's scheduled charging on multiple counts of child molestation, the Smoking Gun uncovered a shocking document. The Web site reported on Tuesday that a confidential investigation by the LAPD and child welfare officials conducted earlier this year found no evidence that Jackson sexually abused his accuser. Investigators reportedly talked to the alleged victim, his siblings and the boy's mother, with the latter reporting that the singer was "like a father" to her kids . . .

Jackson has recorded a song with unknown eighteen-year-old Norwegian rapper Jae-R, according to the Aftenposten news service. The singer, who rarely collaborates with other artists, was convinced to help the aspiring rapper with his demo by a Norwegian teenager named Omer Bhatti, who was reportedly visiting Neverland Ranch with several teenage friends at the time of the recent police raid . . .

Amazon.com removed the customer advice area from the page for Jackson's Number Ones greatest hits album page and several other Jackson albums after unnamed users made recommendations that included books on identifying child molesters, a baby gift set titled "Thank Heaven for Little Boys" and the latest Captain Underpants books . . .

Epic Records has permanently shelved the video for the "One More Chance" single . . .

Court TV reporter Diane Diamond told Good Morning America that the younger brother of the alleged victim -- who allegedly witnessed an act of molestation -- might serve as a witness in the case. The same report also contained word that the accuser pointed authorities to a "suitcase" full of pornography used to "get the mood right" . . .

Retired Santa Barbara sheriff Jim Thomas revealed last week that a second child had come forward in 1993 claiming to have been molested by Jackson, but that charges were never filed because the victim was reluctant to testify. It's possible prosecutors could call the boy to testify in the current case . . .

The Jackson case has been moved fifty miles north, from Santa Barbara to the neighboring seaside community of Santa Maria, which is closer to Neverland Ranch. The Santa Maria courthouse was the site of a March trial in which Jackson was ordered to pay concert promoter Marcel Avram $5.3 million for bailing on two millennium concerts . . .

The Fox network is reportedly in talks with Jackson for a TV special that would include footage of his trip to hometown Gary, Indiana, earlier this year to discuss the groundbreaking on a downtown entertainment complex, as well as clips from his September birthday party and a December Jackson family gathering . . .

CBS is also mulling the rescheduling of its postponed prime time Jackson special. The show could hit the air within a few weeks and the network is reportedly pushing for the singer to sit down for an interview . . .

After microphones were found outside the Santa Barbara police station where Jackson was booked, the pop star reportedly had Neverland Ranch swept for listening devices, even going so far as scanning stuffed animals in the search for hidden transmitters.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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