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Jacko's Scottish play

Some of Michael Jackson’s unreleased music could end up in a Scottish museum. It has emerged that the late King of Pop was a big fan of Robert Burns, the late King of what Jeremy Paxman rather harshly called "sentimental doggerel".

In the late 80s, Jackson worked on a musical about Burns in partnership with David Gest, the former husband of Liza Minnelli, and recent reality show contestant.

"I said to Michael, let's do a play about Burns's life and he said he would help me with the music," Gest told BBC Alba. "Michael believed in the project so much. We took about eight or ten of Burns's poems and put them to contemporary music, such as A Red Red Rose, Ae Fond Kiss and the story of Tam O'Shanter."

The mind boggles at the thought of Jackson moonwalking to the soundtrack of folk music with a broad Scots lyric, but Jackson was nothing if not surprising. The details that the show was to be produced by Anthony "Norman Bates" Perkins and directed by Gene "Singin’ In The Rain" Kelly make it seem even more outlandish.

Gest recently visited the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayrshire, where he promised to donate the unreleased songs from the project. It sounds like a potential licensing nightmare, but the museum director Nat Edwards is planning to offer a CD of the Jackson versions in the museum shop.

Burns was a popular balladeer with a reputation for wild living and a lusty approach to the ladies. It’s hard to see how Jackson could have found much empathy with the 18th century poet.

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