”What More Can I Give,” the all-star ”We Are The World”-like song and video that Michael Jackson recorded to raise money for relief for victims of the 9/11 attacks, was never released and never raised a dime to benefit its cause. Nearly two years later, however, both the song and the accompanying video have surfaced on a Jackson fan website, where they will still fail to raise money, since listeners can download them for free.
In the weeks after the attacks, Jackson gathered a lineup of stars that included such names as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana, Tom Petty, Beyoncé Knowles, Usher, Reba McEntire, Nick and Aaron Carter, ‘N Sync, Luther Vandross, Brian McKnight, Gloria Estefan, and Mya to record the single. The bilingual artists on the list also recorded a Spanish version, ”Todo Para Ti.” Both songs were posted at jacksondailynews.net on Friday, along with the making-of video, which ends with testimonials to Jackson by Usher and and a tearful Celine Dion. ”Michael Jackson is a king,” Usher says.
It’s not clear how the website obtained the clips, since the song and the video have been tied up in competing ownership claims since practically the moment the tapes stopped rolling. After Jackson’s management learned that video director F. Marc Schaffel had a past as a director of gay porn, the management distanced itself from the song, and the recordings were mired in a dispute among Jackson’s label (Sony), his managers, Schaffel, and corporate sponsor McDonald’s. Jackson performed the song live at the finale of Washington D.C. 9/11 charity concert he commandeered in October 2001, but it’s never been heard since in an authorized version, only in bootlegs.