03/14/2009 at 11:00 AM EDT
Sales of Michael Jackson's just-announced comeback performances
in London have
been thrilling: his run of 50 U.K. concerts scheduled to begin on
July 8 sold out five hours after tickets went on sale on Friday,
according to promoters.
The 50-year old pop star was originally slated to perform 10 concerts
for his This Is It
tour at London's O2 Arena, but the
overwhelming fan response – 750,000 tickets have been sold to date at
the rate of 11 tickets per second – led organizers to expand the run to
50 shows, ending on February 24, 2010.
"Michael's already pretty much put together a list of the dancers he
wants," Randy Phillips of promoters AEG Live told BBC Radio. "Michael's very engaged now."
The unprecedented sales come despite the fact Jackson hasn't recorded
an album since 2001's Invincible
and has gotten more attention in
recent years for his bizarre behavior and, in 2005, his acquittal on
child abuse charges.
The "King of Pop" has sold around 750 million
records and won 13 Grammys.