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Ben Michael Jackson.jpg
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Ben
B-side"You Can Cry on My Shoulder"
ReleasedJuly 12, 1972
Format7" single
Producer(s)The Corporation
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"I Wanna Be Where You Are"
"With a Child's Heart"

"Ben" is a song written by Don Black and composed by Walter Scharf for the 1972 film of the same name (the sequel to the 1971 killer rat film Willard). It was performed in the film by Lee Montgomery and by Michael Jackson over the closing credits. Jackson's single, recorded for the Motown label in 1972, spent one week at the top of the U.S. pop chart.[1] Billboard ranked it as the No. 20 song for 1972.[2] It also reached number one on the Australian pop chart, spending eight weeks at the top spot.[1] The song also later reached a peak of number seven on the British pop chart.[1] In 2004 the song appeared in The Ultimate Collection

"Ben" won a Golden Globe for Best Song. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973, losing to "The Morning After" by Maureen McGovern from The Poseidon Adventure; Jackson performed the song in front of a live audience at the ceremony.[3] The song was Jackson's first U.S. #1 solo hit.

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[applause] Alright, so [applause] OK, so I want you to know we have not rehearsed anything here, okay? This is all going to be new. The orchestra, actually, has no idea what Ben's going to do. In fact, Ben doesn't know what he's going to do because he's going to ask you what to do. So a couple of things. I would like from the audience a key that Ben can work in. [audience shouts out suggestions] Whoa, that's a lot of people. I think I heard an A-minor in there. Okay? Okay A minor. Now could somebody give me a tempo. Do you want here ballad or do you want to hear something more upbeat. [audience: "upbeat"] Pretty universal. Okay now does anybody have a program booklet that has an interesting sentence in it? And because I can't decipher 50 sentences coming at once I'm gonna have some volunteers from the front here... Call out a sentence to me that's interesting. [audience calls out] I'm sorry, one more time. These new spaces are all designed to be flexible. Yeah, yes. [audience laughter] So, Ben is going to improvise in A minor, an upbeat song on "these new places are designed to be flexible." [applause] It has to be something completely new, right? [plays first 4 notes from Beethoven's 9th] OK [laughter] OK A minor. [music] These new spaces are all ... designed ... [audience laughing] to be flexible. [laughter] These new spaces are all all designed ... to be flexible, flexible, flexible, flexible. Okay let's see, now let's see... [applause] Cellos, let's try, um, Arco go um... [plays piano] [cellos play, correspondingly] [music] Yeah and then just one on the second one. [makes rhythm sounds] Great. Now let's move that down, then the same, the same thing and we can go to F so so that's, that's the A minor that's and that's with a 9 on it so [makes rhythm sounds] [makes rhythm sounds] and that's an F, a concert F. The C, G [makes rhythm sounds], 2 there [makes rhythm sounds] and then a low C Eeeee So whole cycles. [music] Okay great, now let's see, uh, [music] Let's do one size fits all sort of thing for the, uh, uh, the winds, reeds let's just take, like, flutes, oboes, and bassoon, clarinets, and just it just it this can be in whatever octave spread you want and we're gonna go... [music] No, no, let's just make it a harmony we go [music] I'm taking them out. Just, clarinets, two clarinets go E, concert E, and G go... [music] Let me hear that, make sure I don't suck. [laughter] [music] That's it. [music] OK you can let me hear that with the cellos for a moment... 3, 4... [music] Okay that, so when we go to that E we're gonna do that. So the first, the first one is uh, Sorry this takes a second to create a whole song. [laughter] And I'm gonna take something back about the cellos, let's just do that one cycle on each one [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] and yeah [rhythmic sounds: bum, bum, bum, bum] [music] And then, ah [music] Then the clarinets [music] Yeah, so let's try that. Two, three, four [music] Ok this last one of the cycles goes [music] So move that, ah, G up anyone has the G moving up to G sharp [music] Okay great. Now, uh, uh, [music] Okay, uh, violins, first violins let's go, uh, A [music] Great and then the second violins go up... [music] Uh, so you'll go to E. Eeee...B [music] OK, you're going... [music] Great, let's hear it all together, make sure it's not crazy. two, three, four [music] OK, great. Thank you, now, uh.. I'll give the, uh, the viola a little timing sizzle here, just go... one, [music] Great, perfect, and then and then double-basses you know what you must do... [music] [applause] OK, let's start it from the top. Now if there's anyone who would like a drum set you know what to do... [laughter] Um, and, uh, then I'd say, uh, you know if there's a trumpet player that wants to take a solo after the first course when I run out of ideas then you can just jump right in. OK, so let's, uh, and then, you can bring anyone in and out that you want to but I think I'm probably almost over my time when, I had to write a song in ten minutes so... let's just start in, or close to it. one, two, three, four... [music] For more than 25 years the JFK Center, with the performing arts has served as a living memorial to President Kennedy by bringing an unparalleled diversity to our arts. Our nation's capital... And serving a critical role as a leading provider of the arts education mission across the USA and around the world [music] These new spaces... [laughter] are all designed to be flexible These new spaces are all designed ... Let's milk it, make it a little bit louder now. Mezzo forte. Forte Double forte... double forte Fortissimo. Fivetisimo [music] Let's take it out now, you ready? Way down here... [music] [applause] Thank you very much. [applause] Um, so for those of you that are obviously liking Ben Folds' work... [laughter] Available in the lobby... he will be the next artistic advisor for the National Symphony Orchestra. [applause] Mr. Ben Folds. [applause]



Originally written for Donny Osmond, "Ben" was offered to Jackson as Osmond was on tour at the time and unavailable for recording.[4] In addition to its one week at #1 in the U.S., the song also later reached a peak of number seven on the British pop chart.[1] "Ben" won a Golden Globe for Best Song. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973; Jackson performed the song in front of a live audience at the ceremony.[3]

Although Jackson had already become the youngest artist to ever record a number-one ("I Want You Back" with The Jackson 5, in 1970), "Ben" made him the third-youngest solo artist, at fourteen, to score a number-one hit single. Only Stevie Wonder, who was thirteen when "Fingertips, Pt. 2" went to number one, and Osmond, who was months shy of his fourteenth birthday when "Go Away Little Girl" hit number one in 1971 were younger. The song is one of Jackson's most re-released, having appeared on The Jackson 5 Anthology, The Best of Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson Anthology, Jackson 5: The Ultimate Collection, The Essential Michael Jackson, Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection, Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection, The Definitive Collection, the North American version of Number Ones (even though it’s the 1981 live version), some versions of King of Pop and Icon.

A live recorded version was released on the 1981 album The Jacksons Live! and remixed versions have appeared on The Remix Suite, The Stripped Mixes and some versions of Immortal. After Jackson's death, singer Akon released a remix of the song with his own background vocals and Jackson's original vocal solo.

Chart performance


Single by Marti Webb
from the album Encore
B-side"Nothing Ever Changes"
Format7" single
RecordedAngel Recording Studios, London
LabelStarblend Records
Producer(s)John Altman
Marti Webb singles chronology
"For the Touch of Your Love"
"Ready for Roses Now"

Marti Webb version (1985)

In 1985, the song became a top ten hit again in the UK when covered by Marti Webb[16] as a tribute to Ben Hardwick, a young liver transplant patient.[citation needed] This version reached #5 in the UK Singles Chart and was one of the singer's biggest hits.[16] The song's lyricist, Don Black, was at that time Webb's manager.[citation needed]

Crispin Glover version (2003)

Crispin Glover re-recorded a version of the song for the soundtrack of the 2003 remake of Willard. A music video for the song was also produced, which also featured Glover.

Critical reception

Allmusic editor Lindsay Planer wrote about the success of the song: "Like much of the Motown empire at the time, the title track's multimedia exposure, coupled with strong crossover appeal, ensured that "Ben" scored the artist his first Pop Singles' chart-topper" and he highlighted the track.[17] Rolling Stone editor, Vince Aletti was not satisfied: "The title song is lovely, no doubt, and Michael packs it with a surprising amount of feeling (his delivery of "They don't see you as I do/I wish they would try to" still tears me up) but it's all a little too thick for my tastes."[18]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Cadman, Chris (2007). Michael Jackson: For the Record. Authors OnLine. ISBN 978-0-7552-0267-6.
  2. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972
  3. ^ a b ""Ben" at Oscars". 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  4. ^ "Donny Osmond". 2009-06-27. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  5. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  6. ^ "Item: 9840 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Chart Stats". Archived from the original on 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 118.
  10. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 10/21/72". 1972-10-21. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  12. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  13. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  14. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1972". 1972-12-30. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  15. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^ Lindsay Planer. "Ben - Michael Jackson | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  18. ^ "Michael Jackson: Ben : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". 1972-12-07. Archived from the original on June 18, 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-26.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 December 2018, at 15:42
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