Michael Jackson song from 1983 released; first single from ‘new’ album

Story highlights

Jackson wrote, recorded "Love Never Felt So Good" with Paul Anka in 1983

The release has "a magic combination of the new and the original production," label says

Old Jackson song is "right at home with the disco-soul inflected music of today," Epic says

Epic has a deal with Jackson's estate to mine his archives for new albums

Los Angeles CNN —  

A song Michael Jackson recorded 31 years ago is out, the first single from the upcoming “Xscape” album.

Jackson wrote, recorded and produced “Love Never Felt So Good” with Paul Anka in 1983, but it has been “contemporized” by Anka and Jackson estate co-executor John McClain, according to an Epic Records news release.

The song has “a magic combination of the new and the original production that retains the track’s analog, early 80s feel, while also sounding right at home with the disco-soul inflected music of today,” the label said.

The track debuted during the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday night. Online music services, including iTunes, have it for downloading starting early Friday morning, Epic said.

Jackson and Anka worked on the song at about the same time they wrote and recorded “This Is It,” which eventually became the theme song to a documentary based on Jackson’s preparations for a tour that never happened because of his death.

Jackson died at age 50 on June 25, 2009, while preparing for his “This Is It” comeback tour.

Michael Jackson at the Los Angeles premiere of the musical 'Dreamgirls' in 1983.
Getty Images
Michael Jackson at the Los Angeles premiere of the musical 'Dreamgirls' in 1983.

Eight previously unheard Michael Jackson songs, originally recorded between 1983 and 1999, will be released on the new album May 13, Epic Records announced in March.

Epic Chairman L.A. Reid chose several producers with the “gravitas, depth and range to creatively engage with Jackson’s work” to update the recordings for release, Epic said.

New Michael Jackson album coming in May: ‘Xscape’

Timbaland is the lead producer, with contributions from Rodney Jerkins, Stargate, Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon and McClain, the release said. A bonus version of “Love Never Felt So Good” features Justin Timberlake along with Jackson.

Sony’s Columbia Epic Records – Jackson’s record label for three decades – signed a longterm deal with Jackson’s estate to posthumously release music from the large archives of his recordings.

Reid “was granted unlimited access to the treasures representing four decades of material on which Jackson had completed his vocals,” the announcement said.

“New” music is not always met with a warm reception from fans and the Jackson family. Some questioned the authenticity of the vocals on a 2010 album, although the estate and the record company said sound experts verified Jackson’s voice.