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Michael Jackson duet with Akon released online

By Alan Duke, CNN
A note by Michael Jackson found after his death indicated he wanted "Hold My Hand" to be the first single on his new album.
A note by Michael Jackson found after his death indicated he wanted "Hold My Hand" to be the first single on his new album.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Hold My Hand" is the first official single of the"Michael" album
  • Michael Jackson was "so proud of it," his nephew says
  • The full album will be released on December 14
  • It is the first of 10 albums to be sold over the next 7 years

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- A duet Michael Jackson recorded with Akon was released Monday as the first official single from the upcoming album "Michael," a collection of previously unpublished songs from the late pop star.

A note handwritten by Jackson was found after his death indicating his desire that "Hold My Hand," recorded in 2007, be the first single on his next project, Epic Records said.

Taj Jackson, the singer's nephew, posted an online message Sunday saying it was the last song his uncle ever played for him in person.

"He was so proud of it," Taj Jackson said. "I'll never forget that smile he had on his face as the song played through the speakers [in his room] at the Palms Hotel in Vegas."

Michael Jackson's Akon duet released
RELATED TOPICS
  • Michael Jackson
  • Akon
  • Pop Music

Marc Minor who considers himself a lifelong Jackson fan said he was pleased with the song and that he looked forward to more unreleased work the singer left behind.

"I saw the 'This is It' movie and I thought that was it," said Minor of South Orange, New Jersey, early Monday morning. "I think it's a tremendous legacy he's leaving that he's got all these ideas and gifts to share with the world. I am excited to know that I can hear more things he's doing even though his life was cut short."

The song is familiar to Jackson fans because an unfinished version leaked onto the Internet in 2008, but Akon returned to the studio to complete a new version, Epic said.

"The world was not ready to hear 'Hold My Hand' when it leaked a couple years ago," Akon said. "We were devastated about it."

The song is now in "its final state," Akon said.

"It has become an incredible, beautiful, anthemic song," he said. "I'm so proud to have had the chance to work with Michael, one of my all-time idols."

The song was unveiled on www.michaeljackson.com on Monday at 12:01 a.m. ET. It is available for purchase by digital download, the company said. Earlier, the site streamed another song, "Breaking News," as a preview.

"Michael," Jackson's first album of new music in nine years, will also include duets with rapper 50 Cent and rocker Lenny Kravitz, according to Epic. It will be released on December 14.

The 10-track album will mostly include "songs that Michael worked on recently. There are also earlier compelling tracks," Epic said.

Jackie Jackson, one of the singer's older brothers, worked with Epic to help prepare the album, a spokesman for the estate said.

Sony's Music, the parent of Epic Records, has a contract with Jackson's estate for 10 albums of unreleased material over the next seven years.

 
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