x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 16 December 2017

Guilty finding on Jackson's doctor a joke, says Quincy

Legendary producer Quincy Jones, who is in Dubai for the launch of a charity single, said 'If Murray didn't do it, someone would'.

:Quincy Jones says Conrad Murray merely gave Michael Jackson the treatment he wanted.
:Quincy Jones says Conrad Murray merely gave Michael Jackson the treatment he wanted.
DUBAI // Two days after Dr Conrad Murray, the personal physician of Michael Jackson, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the star's record producer and mentor has spoken out against the result.

"It's a joke," said Quincy Jones, 78, Jackson's producer on the hit albums Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad, which together have sold more than 160 million copies.

Speaking in Dubai, Jones said if Murray had not been treating Jackson there would have been another medical practitioner doing exactly the same.

"People of Michael's stature get whatever they want, it just goes with the territory," said the producer, who has earned a record 79 Grammy nominations over five decades. "There were 40 other doctors lined up to do the same thing, whatever it is.

"I don't know why a guy would kill someone who's giving him US$150,000 [Dh551,000] a month."

Jones is in Dubai for tonight's launch of Tomorrow-Bokra, the charity single he has co-produced with the Moroccan-born musician RedOne and in partnership with the Emirati entrepreneur Badr Jafar.

The single, recorded in Morocco, has been billed as the biggest musical collaboration to come out of the Arab world and features the talents of 24 Arab stars from 16 nations.

Tomorrow-Bokra is an Arabic reworking of Jones's Grammy Award-winning hit Tomorrow (A Better You, A Better Me), with Arabic lyrics written by the Lebanese singer Majida El Roumi.

It goes on sale digitally at 11pm tonight, at the same time as the video premieres live on MBC channels and at an event in the One&Only The Palm hotel in Dubai.

Funds raised from sales of Tomorrow-Bokra will be collected by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture in support of the UN World Food Programme, the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation. They will be used to finance educational programs in music, arts and culture for children from across Middle East and North Africa.

"I've spent much of my life dedicated to humanitarian causes, that's the way I roll," said Jones, adding that he hoped the song would help spread a message of peace across the region. "I've always had the greatest respect and empathy for the indomitable spirit of the people of the Middle East."

He said the project, which was announced in May at the Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World in Rabat, Morocco, was devised before the Arab Spring. He admitted it was a fantastic coincidence.

"The timing is perfect," Jones said. "It happened almost simultaneously."

The single comes out in physical format on November 22, at the same time as the launch of the compilation album Bokra.

It also arrives shortly after the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation granted membership status to Palestine, a move Jones said he wholeheartedly supported.

"I think it's fantastic. They're being treated like a grown-up," he said.

Jones said his friend Hani Masri, the Palestinian-American businessman with whom he launched the We Are The Future project for children living in areas of conflict, had taken him around the region.

The Palestinian bid for UN recognition as a state was something he said he was watching with keen interest.

"I'm on that case so badly you can't imagine. It concerns the world."

aritman@thenational.ae