Michael Jackson's London comeback: dream setlist revealed!

Amazingly, it's actually happening.
Amazingly, it's actually happening.

Michael Jackson's just-announced summer shows at London's O2 Arena are sure to be a massive draw, but let's face it, the guy hasn't performed for a while, and a few star cameos certainly wouldn't harm his cause.

Fortunately, MJ has a well-stuffed contacts book on which to call. He's worked with some of the biggest names in music over the years - we've put together a setlist of collaborations that that would tear the roof off the venue formerly known as The Millennium Dome.

Beat It featuring Eddie Van Halen, Slash or John Mayer

Jackson will need to get the crowd on his side from the word go, so what better place to start than this US number one from 1983? For absolute authenticity, Eddie Van Halen should be hauled on stage to recreate the guitar solo he performed on the original recording, though Slash has played this live, too (see below), and John Mayer took on axe hero duties when Fall Out Boy covered the song.

I Just Can't Stop Loving You featuring Sheryl Crow

Siedah Garret may have sung on the studio version (allegedly, both Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston were offered the duet first), but when The King Of Pop toured 1987's Bad album, a young Sheryl Crow, who was on backing vocal duties, was required to sing the song. Getting her onboard for the comeback shows could be tricky, though, as could finding enough spray to make her hair this big.

Scream featuring Janet Jackson

She'd previously provided backing vocals on 1983's P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), but this 1995 single represented the first full-on duet between Michael and his younger sister, who brought along regular production duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to help out. If she did turn up at the O2, though, another 'wardrobe malfunction' must be avoided - that would just be plain wrong.

Dirty Diana featuring Steve Stevens

Jackson called up another notable guitarist when he needed a solo for this groupie lament from 1987's Bad. Stevens also features in the video, which was shot in front of a live audience. As such, he already knows a thing or two about what it's like to perform with Jackson on a stage.

The Girl Is Mine featuring Paul McCartney

It's cheesy as hell, but we'd love to see this 1982 hit live - if only to discover if Macca could utter his "She told me that I'm her forever lover" line without curling up into a foetal ball of embarrassment. However, the two ex-pals aren't so tight these days - Sir Paul is still annoyed at the fact that MJ out-bid him to secure the rights to The Beatles' back catalogue in 1985. Maybe Jackson's rumoured decision to leave them to McCartney in his will could square things between the two of them.

Whatever Happens featuring Carlos Santana

By 2001, interest in Michael Jackson's music was on the wane, so you might not know that he managed to persuade Carlos Santana to play guitar on this track from that year's Invincible. "I was very honoured that he called on me to work with him, and I love the song," Santana is quoted as saying, so maybe a live appearance wouldn't be out of the question.

Hold My Hand featuring Akon

This was supposed to appear on Akon's 2008 album Freedom, but that plan was scrapped when the song leaked onto the internet. "We wanted it to be special," said the disappointed Convict Music man - maybe a live performance or two of the song that never was would help to ease his pain. They could do Akon's remix of Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', too, though the original would be preferable.

Bad featuring Prince

If you believe the rumours, Michael Jackson intended this to be a duet with Prince - a song that would bring their supposed '80s rivalry to a musical head. However, the Minneapolis man turned it down. Years later, Prince is said to have joked: "The first line is 'Your butt is mine'. I said, 'Who's singing that to whom? Cause you sure ain't singing that to me'". A solo vocal this will remain, then.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.