Michael Jackson announces 'curtain call'
Thursday 05 March 2009
Michael Jackson has announced a series of London shows after a long absence from the concert circuit.
The BBC published pictures of bright orange posters adorned with Jackson's profile advertising 10 shows in July.
Tickets are expected to sell quickly despite concerns the 50-year-old star may not be up for a return to the spotlight.
The King of Pop has been plagued by financial, legal, and medical woes for years and has not performed a major concert since 2001. His last studio album was released the same year.
A previous attempt to relaunch Jackson's career collapsed amid reports of ill health and court action. An Arab sheik who hosted Jackson in the Gulf state of Bahrain sued the singer in November, saying Jackson never delivered on a promised album.
Video played during the trial at London's High Court showed Jackson singing in a thin, weak voice. Although due to testify in the case, a lawyer for Jackson said he might be too sick to travel and the suit was eventually settled out of court.
Jackson has sold more than 750 million albums and won 13 Grammys. "Thriller," released in 1982, is still the best-selling album of all time.
But he has appeared in public rarely since being acquitted of child molestation in California in 2005. He has struggled to pay his debts and last year was forced to give up the deed to Neverland, his 2,500-acre (1,000 hectare) ranch and miniature amusement park in California.
On Wednesday, Jackson launched a lawsuit against an auction house to stop the scheduled sale of more than 2,000 personal items from Neverland, including platinum and gold records, a customized Harley Davidson and a Rolls Royce limousine.
His company, MJJ Productions, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Julien's Auction House, describing the attempt to sell the items as "malicious, fraudulent, extreme, outrageous and without any legal justification whatsoever."
Auctioneer Darren Julien said he was surprised by the lawsuit and claimed Jackson "had been apprised of everything since the day we started."
The five-day auction was due to be held in April.
Hundreds of the items were going on display to the news media Thursday at a preview in Newbridge, Ireland. It will open to the public on Friday.
The auctioneer said the preview was unaffected by the lawsuit.
Jackson's gigs at the O2, which can hold up to 20,000 people, follow performances there by stars including Led Zeppelin and Prince, who played a 21-day series of shows in 2007. Britney Spears is due to play there for eight nights in June.
Associated Press Writers Jill Lawless in London and Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin contributed to this report.
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