My Conversation with Best Selling Author Lynton Guest

By:- To MJ Respect is due

After reading The trials of Michael Jackson, I had a better understanding of the nature of the beast. You thought you knew but had no idea; is a trending thought that becomes more and more undeniable when you chance outside the box of societal propaganda. In this page turning best seller, the things you learn are jaw dropping, heart breaking and at times down right mind blowing. The media’s character assassination of Michael Jackson was nothing more than a smoke screen to keep the attention away from the deliberate dismantling of a musical dynasty. The truth, that Michael had been set up and falsely accused of a career devastating crime. The truth that, a record label would work against its artist and business partner to gain his 50% stake in a multi-billion dollar publishing empire. The truth, that Michael Jackson was in fact the target in a complex scheme; to finance the Japanese Conglomerate’s rise to a world super power.

Working as a musician, producer and manager Mr. Guest has the skinny on what’s really going on behind the scenes of the industry we can’t get enough of. With close friends in high place and people willing to speak to him across 3 Continents and the Japanese Embassy in London, about the most sacred of transactions at the second largest music label in the world.

Lynton Guest’s book The Trials of Michael Jackson is a must read if you want straight facts. What’s brilliant about this work is that Lynton provides indisputable facts about business practices agendas and motives, that far supersedes the music industry its a part of and more ruthless than a mob hit on the streets on New York.

——————————–

With the upcoming, trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, for the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson, a little over a month away. I began to focus more on certain areas of this cataclysm that happened on June 25th 2009. Any open minded clear seeing person would notice many inconsistencies surrounding and in this case. As a true admirer of Michael since the age of nine my heart continually weeps over the loss of this magical man in the mirror. As a writer and researcher I began to look at angles that I felt the press and media have purposely avoided. Analytical mind in tow, I questioned events, looked at motives and delved deep into the images that were before me. I needed and wanted to know more, the injustices that were being blatantly carried out feels quite personal and is a slap in the faces of the millions of Michael supports worldwide. I began for the first time to read books that spoke about Michael to see if I could find some clues..evidence, that could possibly somehow makes sense of this tragic loss.

I had the pleasure of speaking with international chart topping artist and best-selling author Lynton Guest. Lynton has been in the music industry over 4 decades since he joined the group Love Affair in 1968. Later Lynton graduated from London’s prestigious University of London; Kings College. As a journalist, he worked for London’s Daily Mirror and Sunday Telegraph. All while writing 5 bestselling books on football and one on Michael Jackson. Lynton Guest’s book The Trials of Michael Jackson sheds a much needed light on the infamous world of entertainment.

After reading The trials of Michael Jackson, I had a better understanding of the nature of the beast. You thought you knew but had no idea; is a trending thought that becomes more and more undeniable when you chance outside the box of societal propaganda. In this page turning best seller, the things you learn are jaw dropping, heart breaking and at times down right mind blowing. The media’s character assassination of Michael Jackson was nothing more than a smoke screen to keep the attention away from the deliberate dismantling of a musical dynasty. The truth, that Michael had been set up and falsely accused of a career devastating crime. The truth that, a record label would work against its artist and business partner to gain his 50% stake in a multi-billion dollar publishing empire. The truth, that Michael Jackson was in fact the target in a complex scheme; to finance the Japanese Conglomerate’s rise to a world super power.

Working as a musician, producer and manager Mr. Guest has the skinny on what’s really going on behind the scenes of the industry we can’t get enough of. With close friends in high place and people willing to speak to him about the most sacred of transactions at the second largest music label in the world. I was so honored when Lynton granted me this interview. As I probed the mind of this most charming man, I became educated on an aspect of business that far supersedes the music industry its a part of and more ruthless than a mob hit on the streets on New York.

My conversation with Lynton Guest…

At what age did you realize you were musically talented?  

When I was about 4 years old my mother worked in the house of a local bigwig. There was a piano in the living room. It fascinated me. When she took me to her workplace I would sit at the piano and try to play it. That’s what got me going. From there I wanted to play music. I learnt the piano. When I look back I have no idea where I found the time to practice. I was also a very keen sportsman. When I was about twelve I used to play keyboard backing singers  in dives called Working Mens’ Clubs. I would play Saturday nights, Sunday lunchtimes and Sunday nights. It was a great grounding.

 

At 16 you joined the group the Love Affair, and released the international hit Everlasting Love, how did this group come to be?

I answered an advert for a keyboard player in the coolest music mag of the day, Melody Maker. I was 16 and decided to go to London from my home in Leicester for the audition. That was it for me, there was no way I was going back home even if I didn’t get the job. As it happened, despite the fact that there were about 50 keyboard players at the audition, I got the job. The drummer was the nephew of a famous British jazz drummer of the 1940s called Max Bacon and his family helped us big time.

Did you all write your own lyrics and create your songs’ melody?

We did do some writing and altered the arrangement of Everlasting Love to suit ourselves. However, our live gigs in those days were really as a soul band, playing the soul standards of the day: Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, that sort of thing, along with some blues.

 

What record label signed your group Love Affair?

We had one record out with Decca, which was associated with London Records in the USA. But after that we were signed to CBS, which was the British arm of the American CBS labels, Epic and Columbia.

 

Sony bought CBS Records in 1988 as well as CBS’ Columbia Pictures in 1989, did Love Affair as well other CBS Records artists make the move to Sony Music?

We had no choice really. In those days contracts were heavily  weighted to the benefit of the record label. CBS had complete rights to sell everything, including the copyright of our recordings, to whoever they chose.

 

Love Affair on CBS Records in 1968 made the song Everlasting Love a chart topping hit, which is now part of Sony Music’s back catalog.  Because you are paid royalties, does that mean that your masters are owned by Sony?

Yes, Sony owns the Love Affair’s back catalogue.

 

Would you please explain what the Dunkirk law is?

In my day, contracts were completely in the favour of the record label. They held the copyright for all time. Then, in the 1970s, some enlightened executives of record labels and managers of bands accepted that this was unfair and exploitative. They then began to offer the artists the chance to own their own copyrights after a certain length of time. The clause in contracts that covered this was called the Dunkirk Clause.

 

As a musician and recording artist, having a plethora of production credits, you’ve managed groups, worked for labels on the business side…would you say that you have a great understanding of the music biz?

I think that with the variety of experience I have had since being a youngster in the business, I do understand how the music business works, and I know the motivations of all those involved.

 

You took a break from the Music biz and attended Kings College and gained a degree in Ancient and Mid-Evil History, can you tell us why you chose such a major?

I don’t normally make a big thing of this but I had a severe medical problem with my ears when I was in my thirties. Because of that I decided to see if I could do something other than music so I went back into full time education. I had read a book called The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and that got me interested in Ancient and Medieval studies. I really went into it and was accepted by Kings College, University of London, one of the great colleges of the world, to study for a BA.

 

After becoming a Kings College fellow you entered the world of journalism. As a journalist you wrote for the Daily Mirror as well as the Sunday Telegraph’s sports department. What was it like being on the investigative reporting side of the “industry”?

 

 

Wow, it was cool. I learned so much and broke a few exclusive stories, particularly for the Sunday Telegraph.

 

 

 

You’re known for your straight talk and real approach to stories. One of very few, whom doesn’t subscribe to allowing your pieces to be

altered by political agendas, character defamation or spin. Can you please tell us how you were able to keep the integrity of your pieces in an industry that will do anything to sell papers, music, news etc……?

 

 

I have to say I was encouraged by a fantastic editor of the sports section of the Telegraph, a guy called David Grice. He ensured I didn’t run away with my own importance and showed me how to keep things real. It is possible you know, even in the cut-throat world of the British press.

 

 

 

Was there ever a time when you felt that the integrity of your piece was at stake or you were asked by your paper’s superiors and/or editors to “spin” a story in a certain light. If so, would you tell us a little about that?

 

 

Yes. Once. As I explain in my book, The Trials of Michael Jackson, I got to interview OJ Simpson after he was acquitted of murder and after he appeared in a debate at Oxford University. When I wrote the piece for the Telegraph I was told in no uncertain terms that it was too “neutral”. They only wanted it if I was prepared to say that Simpson was definitely guilty. I wasn’t prepared to say that and refused to make the change. So the paper refused to print the article.

 

 

 

As a bestselling author of five books on the game of football, “For Love or Money” For Love or Money: Manchester United and England – The business of Winning” “Heroes and Villains” “Out of Time: Why English Football Isn’t Working” “A Survey of Football League Clubs” what made you write the best seller “The Trials of Michael Jackson”?

 

 

Obviously, I had an interest in music and some experience in the industry. Also, I had always enjoyed Michael Jackson’s music. However, what really made the difference was that when Michael was on trial I was at the home of Paul Russell, who was a senior executive for CBS and Sony for many, many years. He told me certain things he knew as we were drinking a bottle of wine in his lovely house. What he said impacted on what was being said in the trial. So I decided to find out more and that led to the book.

 

 

Earlier in our conversation you explained how your group the Love Affair was signed with CBS records. Which was later bought by the Sony Corp in 1988 and you became a Sony Music artist. In your book “The Trials of Michael Jackson”, you speak about your friend Paul Russell; can you tell us who he is?

 

 

Paul started out as a music business lawyer, looking after the affairs of artists such as Led Zeppelin. He was then asked to join CBS, initially as a lawyer. Over time he rose up the organization, running the London Label, then the international label in New York, the Australian arm of CBS and was one of the the top three international executives. When Sony bought half of the ATV Music publishing catalogue from Michael, Paul became Chairman of the company. He was involved with almost every major artist CBS/Sony signed from 1970 onwards, from Billy Joel to Abba. Of course, one of the artists he worked closely with was Michael Jackson.

 

 

 

Michael Jackson taking the baton from Walter Yetnikoff helped CBS Records seal the deal to be acquired by the Sony Corporation while on the Bad Tour which ended in Tokyo in 1988. Why was it instrumental for Mike to be a part of closing this deal?

 

 

The Japanese realized that Michael Jackson was the biggest recording artist there had ever been. To own the company that boasted Michael on its books was something the Japanese wanted more than anything. It put them right up there.

 

 

 

Please tell us who Walter Yetnikoff is?

 

 

Walter Yetnikoff ran the American end of CBS records, then Sony, for many years. He was a brilliant record man but was also something of a loose cannon.

 

 

 

How did Tommy Matolla become Walter Yetnikoff’s successor?

According to Yetnikoff, he had become an embarrassment to the Japanese. He was too rock & roll, taking drugs and drinking to excess. He also began alienating artists. He had brought Tommy Mottola to the company but Mottola undermined Yetnikoff, eventually taking his job.

 

 

After Russell’s retirement he started to speak candidly about his many years in the music game. Is this normally OK for former and/or current Sony Music employees to do?

 

 

Well, that’s a good question. Yetnikoff wrote a book; Paul was prepared to talk to me. However, both of them were supposedly subject to confidentiality clauses in their contracts.

 

 

 

What did Paul Russell, a CBS Records as well as a Sony Music exec, say about Michael Jackson having known him since the 70’s both professionally and personally, in regards to the child molestation trial of 2005?

(Michael was later acquitted on all counts)

 

 

Paul was adamant Michael was not guilty. For instance, we were watching the trial together when there was evidence of Michael

drinking alcohol on board airplanes. Paul told me that in all the years he worked and socialized with Michael, he had never seen him drink alcohol. And record company execs are trained to recognize drink and drug use.

 

 

 

After, you convinced Paul Russell, to be forthcoming about Michael Jackson’s finances at the time. The two of you went to the London press and an article was written, which became world news and pretty much derailed Tom Sneddon’s case. Why did you feel the need to have this information public knowledge?

 

 

Sneddon was trying to use Michael’s finances as evidence of his guilt. Both Paul and I felt this was wrong. Although we decided to reveal details of Michael’s finances, we felt it was the right thing to do so that Sneddon would be required to answer for his distortions and lies.

 

 

 

Tom Sneddon (Santa Barbara district attorney during the 2005 child molestation trial against Michael Jackson) tried to bring up the fact that Michael’s financial issues at the time, was a motive to do the Living with Michael Jackson “current events” lol documentary and allegedly holding the Arvizo Family hostage. How did Mr. Tom Sneddon Santa Barbara District attorney get knowledge of Michael’s finances?

 

 

My information, and I cannot reveal the source, was that details of Michael’s financial situation was provided by Sony in Japan. No-one else, in my view, could have supplied it.

 

 

 

In your book “The Trials of Michael Jackson” you introduce us to the founding fathers of the Sony Corporation, Morita and Ibuki. Would you tell us a little about them?

 

 

They were both from traditional Japanese backgrounds. Morita was instrumental in the Japanese war effort and was assisted by the Americans after the war to set up a new electronics company. He recruited his old friend Ibuki, who was something of an electronics wizard, to help him.

 

 

 

The Sony Corporation rose out of the ashes of PIRC after the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What do the initials PIRC stand for and what was this organization about?

 

 

PIRC stood for Precision Instrument and Research Committee. It was a special unit of the Japanese military which tried throughout the war to invent and miniaturize weapons with which to surprise the Americans. It was intimately concerned with the transistorisation of electronic components.

 

 

 

The Sony Corp and CBS Records had business dealings since 1968, before Sony took 100% ownership of the record company in 1988. This was a successful joint music venture in Japanese music; at the time they were known as Sony/CBS Records. This music relationship lasted 20yrs. Their Japanese friends weren’t paying them their dividends, citing it’s against Japanese law to pay such dividends to an overseas corporation. This weakened CBS even further, wanting to hold on to their Television licenses and News networks. CBS wanted to off load some of its assets. CBS Records consisting of the Epic and Columbia music labels along with Columbia pictures were sold and bought by the Sony Corp. Why did the Sony Corporation decide to get into the entertainment game on an even larger scale with the acquisition of CBS Records and Columbia Pictures?

 

By the time of the takeover, Sony was headed by Norio Ohga, who had risen up the company as Morita and Ibuku got older. Ohga was a musician in his youth and he had an understanding that, for Sony to maximize its world-wide reach, it needed to add software products to its existing hardware business. Music copyright, which was becoming subject to international treaties, and movies were the obvious choice. At the time Sony were cash rich, while CBS were suffering financial problems. So Sony saw an opportunity to buy a blue-chip US corporation which would give them massive credibility in the world of music and films, as well as a never-ending revenue stream from some of the world’s greatest recording artists. They first bought the record company, then later Columbia Pictures

 

 

 

Your book The Trials of Michael Jackson is backed by undisputed evidence from sources named and un-named on three different continents, within the Sony corporation, the Japanese embassy in London as well as the Bertelsmann company (BMG). Why do you think these people opened up to you about Sony and Michael Jackson?

 

 

It’s hard to say really. I think some were genuinely ashamed of Sony’s attitude towards Michael and believed in justice. Others may have had their own agenda and I’m sure some wanted to settle old scores.

 

 

 

Can you please tell our readers what Sony/ATV is?

 

 

Sony/ATV is a music publishing company, which holds the copyright of the songs written by Lennon and McCartney, along with many other great songs from the 50s and early sixties. Originally called ATV Music it passed through many hands of ownership until it was bought by Michael Jackson. Later, Sony

purchased 50% of the company from Michael and renamed it Sony/ATV

 

 

 

 

How much is Sony/ATV worth then and now and what type of income did Michael Jackson make as a 50% owner of Sony/ATV?

 

 

Michael bought the company for around $50 million. He sold half to Sony for $50 million. Today, the company is worth, in my opinion, well mover $2 billion.

 

 

 

Michael Jackson due to the merger of Sony with ATV (Michael Jackson’s sole owned music publishing company at the time) was on the board of directors of Sony/ATV, attended all business meeting religiously, had veto privileges and a 50% ownership the company. Can you tell us what are the significances of this in regards to his power in and the economics of the entire Sony Corporation?

 

 

Well, if Sony wanted to exploit the music to its maximum, it had to have Michael’s approval for every deal. Michael was more interested in keeping the legacy of the music alive, rather than financial gain. For Sony, this attitude prevented them from earning the maximum amount from their ownership.

 

 

 

Michael’s personal music, his famed Thriller album (which to this day has sold the most copies in the history of recorded music since recording music began) as well as the music of other well-known artists such as Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield and Sly and the family Stone was owned by his baby; a publishing company called Mijac. How did Sony Music get a stake in Michael’s personal company?

 

 

Michael used his ownership of Mijac to borrow money from the Bank of America. This debt eventually ended up with Sony, who effectively gained control of Mijac in the process.

 

 

 

In 1993 and again a decade or so later in 2005, Michael was falsely accused of child molestation. During the accusation in 1993, Michael was on a sold out world tour called Dangerous. Which was 69 performances to an audience of 3.5 million plus. Where all profits, were donated to various charities including Michael’s personal charity at the time, “Heal the World Foundation”. This tour ran from June 27th 1992 – November 11th 1993. During this time the media had reported none of this; it later became apparent that all things good about Michael wasn’t news worthy. Michael ended up settling out of court with his accuser Jordan Chandler for a reported 20 million dollars. Can you please tell us who advised Michael to do this and why?

 

 

Sony was instrumental in this. They (along with others) advised Michael to settle to make the Chandler allegations go away. It was never the case, as was reported by the media, that the settlement was an admission of guilt. Michael did it to protect Sony’s investment in him. But he brought more to Sony than they ever brought to him. It was a disastrous decision as it turned out but it was made because he was told that a long, drawn-out trial would put his career on hold and would make him the subject of never-ending media speculation.

 

 

 

How did Sony Music feel about the child molestation accusations of 1993 and 2005?

 

 

They were not pleased. They felt the allegation compromised their image of a family company.

 

 

 

In 2005, we learned from your very well written and informative book The Trials of Michael Jackson that then Santa Barbara district attorney Tom Sneddon who prosecuted the child molestation case against Michael in 2005 and failed at his attempts to bring charges against Michael in 1993 gained information on Michael’s then financial situation, from the Tokyo

offices of Sony’s headquarters through way of New York. Tom Sneddon was attempting to use this as a motive for Michael’s agreeing to do Martin Bashir’s documentary Living with Michael Jackson as a means of reviving his career and solving his money problems. Tom Sneddon also wanted to prove the count of conspiracy and kidnapping, stating that Michael wanted to cover up alleged wrong doings which he was then being prosecuted for based on the Bashir piece. What was Michael’s relationship with Sony at this time and why did they give such information about Michael’s finances to the Santa Barbara district attorney’s office?

 

 

That’s a good question. Michael’s relationship with Sony began to deteriorate after the settlement with Jordi Chandler. There were many reasons for this, not least when Tommy Mottola took over the US operation from Walter Yetnikoff. By the time of the 2005 allegations, Sony was conducting a campaign to gain full control of Sony/ATV and ownership of Michael’s back catalogue. If he were bankrupted and disgraced, this would enable them to achieve their goal much quicker and easier than would otherwise have been the case.

 

 

 

Based on our discussion thus far can you please connect the dots for our readers between Sony Music being formed, Michael Jackson’s financial problems, the child molestation accusations of 1993 and 2005  and finally Sony becoming the major owner having now 75% of the Sony/ATV publishing company?

 

 

Well to do this subject justice people would really have to read the book. What I can say is that Michael’s debts were impossible to repay following the disruption caused by the molestation cases of 1993 and 2005. After Michael was acquitted he nevertheless suffered media assassination and his record sales went down. Using all this, Sony eventually reached a deal with Michael whereby they ended up effectively owning both Sony/ATV and Michael’s back catalogue.

 

 

 

Your revised version of The Trials of Michael Jackson included a very telling epilogue. This was released after Michael’s murder on June 25th 2009. You talked about AEG the production company responsible for the tour Michael was to embark on This Is It. Can you tell our readers in conclusion to this most fascinating interview, a little about AEG, Sony and the Estate of Michael Jackson (executed by John Branca and John McClain) and how they are all connected……..?

 

Wow, another huge question. AEG, which is essentially a company promoting live music, is wholly owned by Phillip Anscluss, one of the richest people in the world and a committed evangelical Christian. Anschluss has an agenda to impose his beliefs throughout the entertainment industry. AEG were organizing the “This is It” appearances in London and they employed Dr. Conrad Murray. Following Michael’s death, footage of the rehearsals was subject to a deal between AEG and Sony with agreement from Michael’s estate. Sony has continued to receive income from Michael’s recordings and Sony/ATV music as well as the movie. In death Michael’s earning power for AEG, Sony and the estate has rocketed. It’s been a pleasure answering your questions.

 

 

 

In conclusion, straight talk….buy Lynton Guest’s book The Trials of Michael Jackson if you want a better understanding of the happenings in Michael’s life sans the spin; this book’s goal is to bring that to you. Educate yourselves and stop leaving it to the discretion of the conventional press and media. Informing and becoming informed is an act of Love. I Love you all and Lynton and I both thank you all for reading.

 

 

This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.