Better late than never. After two years in legal limbo, Michael Jackson’s charity single, ”What More Can I Give,” is finally being released. The song will be available for download at $2 a pop starting Monday afternoon at Music for Giving, which supports children’s literacy and arts education projects. The self-styled King of Pop will introduce the song Monday night when he serves as a presenter at the 2003 Radio Music Awards, being broadcast live on NBC from the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.
Jackson recorded the single in the weeks after 9/11 with a ”We Are the World”-style all-star chorus, including Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Beyoncé, Ricky Martin, Reba McEntire, ‘N Sync, Tom Petty, Carlos Santana, Shakira, Thalia, Usher, and Luther Vandross. He performed the song just once, at a 9/11 benefit concert in Washington, D.C., in October 2001, but Jackson’s label, Sony, shelved the single and its accompanying video. According to earlier reports by the Los Angeles Times and MTV, once 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 trapped in a dispute among the managers, Sony, Schaffel, and corporate sponsor McDonald’s. Since then, the song has surfaced only as a bootleg on radio and Jackson fan websites, and it has never raised a dime for any charity.
Jackson is one of several big names expected to appear during the Radio Music Awards, which will be hosted by ”American Idol”’s Ryan Seacrest and ”Dog Eat Dog”’s Brooke Burns. Nominees in the 17 prize categories include Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Coldplay, 50 Cent, U2, Eminem, and Jennifer Lopez. Scheduled performers include Tim McGraw, Beyoncé, Nelly with Murphy Lee, Michelle Branch, Kelly Clarkson, Jewel, and Avril Lavigne. Joining Jacko at the dais as presenters will be Carson Daly, ”Newlyweds”’ Nick Lachey, Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath, Monica, Dennis Rodman, Anna Nicole Smith, Uncle Kracker, and NBC actors Molly Sims (”Las Vegas”), and Parminder Nagra (”ER”).