Justin Timberlake has been in the news recently about the story behind a duet by himself and Michael Jackson, but it probably isn’t the song you think it is. Last week Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s duet, “Love Never Felt So Good” was all over the radio when it was introduced as the first single from MJ’s second posthumous album, Xscape. However not long after that Oprah’s OWN Network released 2 teasers for the season premiere of Oprah’s Master Class, which features an in-depth interview with Timberlake. In one of those clips he shares a personal story about himself and MJ from back in 2001 that got the web buzzing. For the first time ever JT reveals that *N Sync’s 2001 single, “Gone” was originally written for Michael Jackson.
“It was the first song I cut by myself and then brought to the guys and included them,” Timberlake said in the clip. Michael Jackson’s final album, Invincible was being recorded from October 2000 to August 2001, and was released by Epic Records on October 30th, 2001. Justin got word from MJ’s camp that the song would not be used for his album, so plan b was to present it to his label and his band mates in a meeting about the creation of the final *N Sync album, Celebrity.
“We were having an A&R meeting for the third ‘N Sync album at that time, and I said, ‘Well, I have this other song, but I originally wrote it for Michael,'”
Everyone must have really liked it because *N Sync recorded it and it was included on the album. Celebrity was recorded and produced between January and April of 2001, and was released by Jive Records on July 24th 2001. However no one must have told the King of Pop about this. He apparently also did not get the memo that he turned the song down for his album, which was still in production. Justin continued to explain how he got what is probably safe to say one of the most awkward phone calls from MJ saying he did in fact want to record “Gone” after all.
Justin tried to find the words to explain to Michael that the song he was requesting was actually already released.
“I’m on the phone, I’m literally punching myself in the face, because I said, ‘I can’t do that. Could we do an ‘N Sync track featuring Michael Jackson? Or Michael Jackson featuring ‘N Sync?’ And he was very absolute about the fact that he wanted it to be a duet between himself and I.”
JT also said that Michael’s absolute decision to do a duet with just him, and not the other members of *N Sync was a confidence builder when he was still only thinking about the idea of becoming a solo artist. Looks like MJ knew what he was talking about right?You can see Justin’s full interview for Oprah’s Master Class on Sunday, May 11th on OWN!
Justin Timberlake’s Michael Jackson Story
*N Sync Featuring Michael Jackson
From MTV Video Music Awards 2001
The Jacksons Featuring *N Sync
From Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Celebration (September 2001)
Michael Jackson Featuring Justin Timberlake
“Love Never Felt So Good”