A new Michael Jackson song will be out in September, and the self-proclaimed king of pop has nothing to do with it. The single, ”Who’s Loving You,” recorded at a 1972 Jackson 5 concert but never released, was first revealed to the producers of ABC’s The Jacksons: An American Dream in early July, four days before the miniseries was set to end its 49-day shoot. The group’s version of an old Smokey Robinson number, the song was found decomposing last year in an untended North Hollywood vault. A cassette was brought to the miniseries’ director, Karen Arthur, who decided to work the song into a lip-synched concert scene that had to be shot during the final hours of production, forcing the crew and cast to work through the night.
The movie’s choreographer, Michael Peters, who orchestrated Jackson’s moves in the ”Thriller” video, was asked to come up with a new dance routine. Jason Weaver, 13, who plays the film’s adolescent Michael, had all of 24 hours to learn the song, the patter that introduces it, and the choreography. ”It was quite a shock,” he says. ”I asked, ‘What about the dance number?’ I had to learn it in an hour.”
Digitally remastered, ”Who’s Loving You” will be released as a single and included on a soundtrack album that will come out before the miniseries airs in November. But Jackson, a control freak of some renown, will have no say about the song. The master is owned by Motown Records, and even if he wanted to, Jackson couldn’t legally prevent its release. The movie’s coproducer thinks he’ll be thrilled. ”It’s in no way competitive with what he’s doing today,” says Suzanne de Passe, a former Motown vice president. ”And knowing what a keen business sense he has, I think he’ll be very pleased.”