A duet with Akon, this was released as the first single from Michael Jackson's first posthumous album of original material, Michael. A handwritten note from Jackson belonging to his Estate indicated his desire that this song should be the first single on his next project. Though an unfinished version of the song leaked out in 2008, Akon went on to complete a new and final production. He commented: "The world was not ready to hear 'Hold My Hand' when it leaked a couple years ago. We were devastated about it. But its time has definitely come; now in its final state, it has become an incredible, beautiful, anthemic song. I'm so proud to have had the chance to work with Michael, one of my all time idols."
Akon told MTV News that it was an incredible privilege to work with the King of Pop. He said: "Just to be in the same room [with him], I felt everything I wanted to accomplish in life has been achieved. That aura... that's how incredible that aura is. We about to shake the world up, man. You know how you be with somebody and you can't even explain [the feeling]? I used to sit and think, 'How does somebody sell so many records and dominate a whole business genre to a point [where] nobody can't be a part of that without associating with you?' The way he thinks - some artists think regional, some think national, I was thinking international. He thinks planets. It's on another level."
Claude Kelly wrote this. His previous writing credits included the track "Forgive Me" for Leona Lewis, but this song was his big breakthrough. Kelly told Billboard magazine that it was a total surprise for him to hear Jackson's voice on the track. The New York singer/songwriter explained "I wrote the song and gave it to Akon with the intention of it going to maybe Whitney Houston, but Akon said he wanted to cut it himself. I thought, 'It doesn't get any bigger than this'. A few months after, Akon plays the song for me and all of a sudden I hear Michael Jackson's voice. I was literally shaking by the time the song was over."
Akon spoke to MTV News about this song: "The concept is to bring all the people together as one person linking as one world. At the state of where the world is now, with all these wars and conflict all over the place, I think a record like that is needed. That's the best time when a voice needs to be heard. I felt like, 'What better voice between me and Mike to be able to say something like that at the time we in?' Outside of trying to do a club record or a record we expect to get thousand of [spins], it was more so, 'Let's do a record that fits all formats but also has some meaning to it.'"
This was set to appear on Akon's 2008 Freedom album but after the track leaked on the internet he changed his mind. Akon explained to Billboard magazine: "It took all the excitement away. It was a heartbreaking moment for both of us. We wanted it to be special. We wanted it so that when people got my album, it was something that was never heard -- a big surprise. But, the leak stopped those plans."
The album cover, an oil painting which features a montage of classic Michael images, was created by award-winning African American artist, illustrator and author Kadir Nelson.
This was the first single released from the posthumous Michael album and it led to some questioning whether Jackson would have been happy about people completing work on his songs without his final approval. However, Akon insisted to MTV News this song was complete before the singer died. He said: "I'm definitely excited about our single, because that was finished, complete, and I'm happy with the outcome. And I know [Jackson] was [happy] cause we were there finishing the song together, so I'm really happy about what we accomplished on that record 'Hold My Hand.'"
Akon continued: "It was a song I was previously working on that I eventually let [Jackson] hear, and when he heard it, he fell in love with it. We clicked instantly when it came to it. That was the main concept: let's figure out something we can leave behind [and] 20,000 years later it can still be relevant."
This was Michael Jackson's 48th, and first posthumous, Hot 100 chart entry. His previous appearance was another Akon collaboration, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' 2008," which peaked at #81 the week of Feb. 9, 2008.Can you name the other artist who has teamed up with the King of Pop in multiple Hot 100 visits? Here's a clue - he also had a hit with his former group about holding hands
. Yep, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson reached #2 for three weeks in 1983 with "The Girl Is Mine
" and spent six weeks at #1 at the end of the same year with "Say, Say, Say
The song's music video was filmed in November 2010 partly at the airship hangars at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, and includes a collage of images including excerpts from Jackson's Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour
, Akon singing, a woman weeping and children, families and old people holding hands. The video's producer Mark Pellington
said on Jackson's website: "The video is a tribute to all that Michael stands for - life, in all its permutations... love, and its power. A video of memory, healing and joy."
Michael was the first album of new Jackson material in over nine years, his previous set being Invincible in 2001.