Michael Jackson project based on poems of Robert Burns

Michael Jackson project based on poems of Robert Burns

David Gest claimed that Jackson's 1983 song 'Thriller' was inspired by Burns' poem Tam O' Shanter.

Recordings of co-written songs may emerge according to producer David Gest

The Robert Burns' Birthplace Museum is in talks about receiving a copy of songs co-written with Michael Jackson that are based on Burns' poems.

Music producer David Gest visited the museum in Ayrshire in December as part of a programme being filmed for Gaelic TV channel BBC Alba. He told them that he and Jackson had planned a musical based on the Ayrshire poet's life and had arranged some of his works into songs before recording them with friends.

Director of the Museum, Nat Edwards, said: "We had a chat and thought it would be great if we could play them at the museum and he offered to look them out and provide copies so we could do that.

"We would very much be looking forward to getting hold of these recordings and if possible for us to produce some sort of CD that could help raise money for the museum. That would be fantastic."

"They'd be a way of getting other audiences interested in Burns and illustrating his international, enduring artistic legacy."

Music producer Gest, the former husband of actress Liza Minnelli, said that Jackson was a huge fan of Burns' poetry and was keen to be involved in the project that saw the Scot's work turned into show tunes.

He also claimed that Jackson's 1983 songs and film 'Thriller' was inspired by Burns' gothic poem Tam O' Shanter.

Gest, in an interview with BBC Alba, reportedly said that Michael Jackson had offered the use of a recording studio in LA and to pay for all the music for the proposed musical.

He said: '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.'

A Burns fan himself, in 1996 Gest staged a show about the Bard's life starring Glasgow-born performer John Barrowman titled Red Red Rose.

This new musical was due to be produced by American actor Anthony Perkins (Psycho) and directed by Gene Kelly (Singin' In The Rain) but both men died before the work could be staged.

Michael Jackson - Thriller

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