Thirty years ago, the Italian sued the King of Pop for being identical to his song
It all started in 1991, when Jari, the son of Al Bano and Romina Power, listened to Michael Jackson’s newly released album – Dangerous.
The 18-year-old then realized that the song Will You Be There by the king of pop music was identical to his parents’ I Cigni di Balaka. The couple recorded it back in 1987. When Al Bano heard Michael’s song, he was stunned.
Dangerous is the eighth consecutive album of the American, recorded in a studio. It marks a new era in the singer’s music because it is the first since he abandoned his historical collaborator – producer and conductor Quincy Jones. Instead, the pop star entrusts his career to new producers – Bill Botrell and Teddy Riley, who is considered one of the people who established the so-called. new jack swing. It is through this new genre, which is something qualitatively different in Michael Jackson’s repertoire, that his future albums acquire a much more modern sound and melody.
Dangerous is reaping great success worldwide, selling over 45 million copies.
So it came as a bolt from the blue when, in 1992, Al Bano of Celino San Marco in Puglia filed a lawsuit against the pop star for plagiarism for the song Will You Be There. Her melody really looks amazingly like that of I Cigni di Balaka, which, however, was completely unknown in the world until then. It is part of the Liberta album.
“I want to say in advance that I have always considered Michael Jackson a genius. I think one of his collaborators handed me my tune. It can’t be a coincidence that the melody is identical “, the singer said in an interview.
In 1994, a Roman court ordered the withdrawal of Michael Jackson’s song from the Italian market. In order for this to happen, his album Dangerous was seized, after which he released a new version of Botusha – without Will You Be There.
Three music experts came to the conclusion that 37 out of 40 notes in the songs of the two stars are the same. Maestro Ricardo Malpiero even says: “Obviously
both songs are not
similar, and are
exactly identical ”
The Roman magistrate, who issued the decision in question, also appealed to the prosecutor’s office to seek a criminal case against the pop legend. The reason is that he violated the copyright law and performed the song in question in front of an audience on Italian territory in 1992 in Rome and Monza. That’s why they want 6 months in prison for the star.
Al Bano is also claiming compensation of 14 billion pounds (over 7 million euros).
The American star has hired top lawyers and experts in the field of intellectual property plus composer Brad Boxer for his defense.
On February 4, 1997, Michael Jackson, accompanied by 15 of his associates, entered the courtroom of Rome to answer questions from magistrates. He apologizes for not being able to attend the previous meetings in person.
“I want to say that I am a singer and a dancer. I am also an author of songs in my life
I never took
or stole nothing
Maestro Al Bano’s accusation against me is completely false. I had never heard Maestro Al Bano’s song before, nor had I met him anywhere. I swear that these accusations are completely unfounded, “said the singer.
He added to the prosecutor that the original title of the song in question was Said Me.
“I wrote it in 1991. I am the author of the whole song, the music and the lyrics. With the idea in my head, I called my music director, Brad Boxer. We met and I started singing to him what was going on in my head and pointing out the chords. That’s how the melody was born in the next two hours, “says Michael Jackson.
But then things turn around. The star’s Italian lawyer, Alberto Seganti, told the court: “If we have to be serious, we have to admit that there is a song from 60 years ago – Bless You for Being an Angel, which is much more like Michael’s song than this one. of Al Bano ”.
This statement created a commotion in the hall. The song was written by Eddie Lane and Don Baker and was released in 1939 by the African-American band Inc Sports. It begins with the motif, which is also in the pieces of the Italian and American star.
After several more meetings in 1997, the Roman praetor Mario Fridgenti lifted the arrest of the song Will You Be There “due to lack of reliable and convincing evidence that Michael Jackson knew the song of Al Bano.”
A Milan court later ruled that both Al Bano’s and Jackson’s songs were not original, and even ordered the Italian to pay the costs. In Rome, a criminal case is under way against the American singer for violating copyright law. In 1999, the King of Pop was sentenced to give 4 million pounds (about 2,000 euros).
Today, many music experts explain what happened at the time with the intervention of Cosa Nostra.
This is what the Italian conductor and composer Vinche Tempera told the Huffington Post. “No one at the time felt the need to delve into this aspect that was rumored – the role of the mafia in history.”
According to Tempera, the mafia is probably at the bottom of everything.
“Al Bano’s discs were doing very well in Latin America and Cuba. There was a rumor in the music community about traffic in Miami, related to the Cosa Nostra and the publishing activities in the field of music “, reveals Tempera. He adds that in these places many Italian songs are adapted and launched with different titles and, of course, with different from the original authors.
“Michael Jackson’s Dangerous album is the first since his breakup with Quincy Jones. The new partner of the singer becomes Tommy Motola-Junior, head of “Sony Music”, for whom there is a lot of gossip, incl. and from his ex-wife, singer Mariah Carey, that she is
close with people from
An FBI dossier describes the ongoing relationship between Motola and Maurice Levy, the founder of record companies closely linked to the Don Vito Genovese family.
According to Tempera, Motola introduced Michael Jackson to various collaborators and it is no wonder that one of them handed him a piece identical to I Cigni di Balaka by Al Bano and Romina Power.
“Maybe it was one of those songs that was re-adapted in the Los Angeles studios and put on the Miami mafia network,” Tempera said. According to him, Michael Jackson copied the song and in all likelihood, when he was tried in Rome, he was faced with the dilemma of whether to admit that the songs he signed were in fact composed by others, or to be tried for plagiarism. .