MICHAEL JACKSONS estate will be at the centre of an extraordinary legal battle which could last years. He died leaving a tangled financial legacy overshad- owed by an estimated $500m of debt. A decade and a half of scandal combined with an extraordinarily lavish lifestyle had left the King of Pop still struggling to stabilise his Friday, 26 June 2009 London Lite details of jackos tangled finances emerge asmichael jackson 1958-2009 Musical legacy... DURING a pop career that lasted from age four to 50, Michael Jacksons music underwent changes as radical as his own appearance. Spinning and wailing with his brothers, he was unique -- the little boy who could drench the ecstatic melody of I Want You Back in real soul. Motown saw the song become its fastest-seller ever in 1969. Even as the label issued Jackson 5 albums, it launched Michael on a solo career which gave rise to saccharine ballads such as Got To Be There and Ben. His union with producer Quincy Jones resulted in the 1979 album Off The Wall and the worlds introduction to Michael Jackson the grown man. Off The Wall sold 20 million copies -- a trifling number in comparison with the phenomenon that came next. Thriller sold a million copies per week for seven months solid in 1983, the biggest-selling album of all time. Beat Its propulsive rock and the polished soul of Billie Jean fired him into a stratosphere all his own. The title tracks 13- minute horror story -- then the most expensive pop video ever -- gave us a jerkily dancing, zombie Jackson. The 1987 album Bad, his last with Jones, spawned five US number one singles. When Dangerous arrived in 1991, his songs had a harder edge. The next album, HIStory in 1995, would play safe and ensure sales by being packaged with a greatest hits collection. Jackson then recorded the environmental ballad Earth Song, his biggest hit in Britain despite his infamous performance of the track at the 1996 Brit Awards where he portrayed himself as a Christ-like figure. By the time the restrained, classy R&B of Invincible arrived in 2001, Jackson the musician was of little interest in comparison to Jackson the controversy magnet. But whatever else he did, his incredible catalogue of pop will always be among the greatest. a superstar with debts of $500m gigticketssold asmemorabilia at his peak in the Eighties and early Nineties he was the worlds most bankable star. Even at the time of his death he still enjoyed an annual income estimated at $19m. His shrewdest deal was in 1985 when he paid $47.5m for ATV Music, which owned the rights to 251 Beatles songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. He was able to pay $14.6m for the eventually infamous Neverland ranch, a fantasy-like 2,500-acre estate near Santa Barbara. In 1991 he signed a $65m recording deal with Sony. But then in 1993 he was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy and although he settled with the boys family, he began his descent into financial chaos. In 1995 he agreed with Sony to merge ATV with Sonys library of songs for $150m and sold Sony music publishing rights for $95m. But unpaid creditors started to circle. In 2002 he faced a lawsuit from Union Finance & Investment Corporation for $12m in unpaid fees and expenses. Jacksons 2004 trial, when he was cleared of molesting another boy, heard from a forensic accountant that the performer was spending $20m to $30m more per year than he earned. Last year Jackson faced foreclosure on Neverland. But he found a benefactor in Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the second son of the king of Bahrain. That relationship quickly soured however and Al Khlalifa sued Jackson for $7m. Apart from the 02 deal, Jackson last week rehired John Branca, a high-profile Los Angeles entertainment lawyer who struck many of the singers most lucrative deals. TICKETS for the Michael Jackson concerts are now being sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds -- as memorabilia. Described as the last piece of Jackson merchandise, the passes for the shows, of which there were due to be 50 at The 02 arena from next month, are being offered for up to 200,000 on Gumtree. Buyers are told they would look great framed in your house! Meanwhile on eBay, tickets put up for auction before the news broke of the stars death are going for up to 2,000. An Ebay spokeswoman said the website was working quickly on cancelling any auctions listed that were selling Jackson concert tickets. Fantasy: Fame bought him infamous Neverland Pop royalty: Jackson before his life turned sour personal finances. In recent years he had become increasingly dependent on a circle of benefactors who had kept him one step ahead of total ruin. His 50-concert deal with AEG Entertainment to perform at The 02 this summer was just his latest attempt to put his affairs back on an even keel.Yet by georgina littlejohn H index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html48.html49.html50.html51.html