I'll Be There (The Jackson 5 song)

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"I'll Be There"
Single by The Jackson 5
from the album Third Album
B-side "One More Chance"
Released August 28, 1970 (1970-08-28)
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded Hitsville West, Los Angeles, June 1970
Genre Rhythm and blues
Length 3:57
Label Motown
M 1171
Writer(s) Berry Gordy, Bob West, Willie Hutch, Hal Davis
Producer(s) Hal Davis
The Jackson 5 singles chronology
"The Love You Save"
"I'll Be There"
"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" from Third Album

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"I'll Be There" is a soul song written by Berry Gordy, Hal Davis, and Willie Hutch, which resulted in two U.S. #1 hit singles: the original 1970 recording by American vocal quintet The Jackson 5 and a 1992 live version by American R&B singers Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz.

The Jackson 5 interpretation was recorded for Motown Records, and released as the first single from their Third Album in 1970. Produced by the songwriters, "I'll Be There" was The Jackson 5's fourth #1 hit in a row ("I Want You Back", "ABC", and "The Love You Save"), making them the first black male group to achieve four consecutive #1 pop hits. "I'll Be There" is also notable as the most successful single released by Motown during its "Detroit era" (1959–1972).

The Mariah Carey/Trey Lorenz cover was recorded during Carey's appearance on MTV Unplugged in 1992, and released as the first single from her EP MTV Unplugged in the second quarter of 1992. Co-produced by Carey and Walter Afanasieff, "I'll Be There" became Carey's sixth #1 single in the U.S., and her biggest hit elsewhere at the time.

The Jackson 5 version[edit]


After three upbeat "bubblegum soul" #1 singles from the Jackson 5 ("I Want You Back", "ABC", and "The Love You Save"), Motown head Berry Gordy decided to take a risk and craft a ballad for the group. For this song, he brought in songwriters Hal Davis, Willie Hutch, and Bob West, as opposed to working with the rest of The Corporation, who had crafted the first three hits.

The resulting song was a gentle ballad, in which the narrator asks his lover to make a very special vow ("a pact"), one capable of bringing - as he put it - "salvation back," summarized in the phrase "where there is love, I'll be there," in an allusion to a passage from Matthew 18:20, where it is said (by Jesus): "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." He promises that he'll always be there "to comfort you," and that even if she "should ever find someone new," he'll still be there for her if her new love treats her wrong. Jackson 5 lead singers Michael Jackson and his older brother Jermaine share the lead vocals on this song. Michael's ad-libbed "just look over your shoulders, honey" is an allusion to "Reach Out I'll Be There", a 1966 #1 hit single recorded by the Four Tops. He was instructed by Gordy to say "just look over your shoulder" (exactly as Levi Stubbs had said it in "Reach Out I'll Be There"), but the slightly flubbed line was allowed to remain in the final mix.

Release and reaction[edit]

In his autobiography Moon Walk, Michael Jackson noted that "I'll Be There" was the song that solidified The Jackson 5's careers and showed audiences that the group had potential beyond bubblegum pop. Said Allmusic about the song, "Rarely, if ever, had one so young sung with so much authority and grace, investing this achingly tender ballad with wisdom and understanding far beyond his years".[1]

The most successful single ever released by the Jackson 5, "I'll Be There" sold 4.2 million copies in the United States, and 6.1 million copies worldwide. It replaced Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" as the most successful single released on Motown in the U.S., a record it held until the release of Lionel Richie's duet with Diana Ross, "Endless Love" (1981). Outside the U.S., "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" remained Motown's biggest selling record with worldwide sales of over seven million copies.

The song held the #1 position on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart for five weeks from October 17 to November 14, replacing "Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond; it was succeeded by "I Think I Love You" by The Partridge Family. "I'll Be There" was also a #1 hit on the Billboard Black Singles Chart for six weeks,[2] and a #4 hit in the United Kingdom. The single's B-side was "One More Chance", a song from their second album.

"I'll Be There" was the Jackson 5's final #1 Hot 100 hit as a group. For the rest of their career as a major-label act, Jackson 5 singles would climb no higher than #2. Michael Jackson scored numerous number 1 hits as a solo artist, beginning with "Ben" in 1972.

Michael Jackson performed "I'll Be There" on all his world tours. "I'll Be There" remains one of the most popular of the Jackson 5's hits, and has been covered by a number of artists, including Josie and the Pussycats and Mariah Carey, whose cover brought the song back into the public's consciousness two decades after its original release.

"I'll Be There" was one of the songs used in the showcase for Grease: You're the One that I Want!.

Andy Williams released a version in 1971 on his album, You've Got a Friend.

Green Day has frequently performed a live medley beginning with their original song "King For A Day", morphing into The Isley Brothers' "Shout" and breaks into a smaller medley including, but not limited to, The Penguins' "Earth Angel", "I'll Be There", and Ben E. King's "Stand by Me", then back into "Shout".

The song was performed in the "Jackson 5 medley" during all of Michael's tours: The Bad, Dangerous and HIStory tours.

The song was performed by Michael Jackson in the 2009 film Michael Jackson's This Is It. However, the song was performed by Jackson and backup singers as if they were the Jackson 5. During the song, clips of the Jackson 5 are shown. At the end of the song, Michael dedicates the song to all of his brothers and his parents.

"I'll Be There" was used for a Pepsi commercial during the Dangerous (tour) in 1992. The commercial featured Michael playing the song on his home piano, remembering the Jackson 5 days until his younger self arrives to sing the song with him.


Chart (1970) Peak
Dutch Singles Chart[3] 18
Australian Singles Chart[4] 34
UK Singles Chart[5] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Black Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 24
Chart (2009) Peak
UK Singles Chart 65[6]
Preceded by
"Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Jackson 5 version)
October 17, 1970 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Think I Love You" by The Partridge Family
Preceded by
"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Diana Ross
Billboard's Best Selling Soul number one single (Jackson 5 version)
October 10, 1970 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"Super Bad (Part 1)" by James Brown

Mariah Carey version[edit]

"I'll Be There"
Single by Mariah Carey featuring Trey Lorenz
from the album MTV Unplugged
B-side "So Blessed" "Vanishing" "All in Your Mind"
Released May 26, 1992 (1992-05-26)
Format CD single, cassette single, 7" single
Recorded Kaufman Astoria Studios on March 16, 1992
Length 4:42
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Berry Gordy, Bob West, Willie Hutch, Hal Davis
Producer(s) Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
Certification Gold (New Zealand)
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Make It Happen"
"I'll Be There"
"If It's Over"
Trey Lorenz singles chronology
"Someone to Hold"
"I'll Be There"
"Photograph of Mary"
Mariah Carey's version of The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There" featuring Trey Lorenz from MTV Unplugged

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Mariah Carey had included "I'll Be There" as a last-minute addition to her MTV Unplugged setlist, after she had been informed that most acts on the show commonly perform at least one cover. "I'll Be There" was the sixth track on Carey's MTV Unplugged special, taped on March 16, 1992. It was performed as a romantic duet, with Carey singing Michael Jackson's lines and R&B singer Trey Lorenz singing Jermaine Jackson's lines. The program and resulting MTV Unplugged album were produced by Carey and Walter Afanasieff, who played the piano for the performance. Boyz II Men's Wanya Morris sang the song with Carey in the concert home video, Fantasy: Mariah Carey at Madison Square Garden.

The MTV Unplugged special aired on May 20, 1992, and was a notable success. Carey's label, Columbia Records, received many requests to release "I'll Be There" as a single, which had not been planned. A radio edit of the song was created which removed dialogue portions of the performance, and "I'll Be There" was released as a single. In the U.S., the song was issued with "So Blessed" as a B-side; in the United Kingdom, the "I'll Be There" single included the live version of "Vision of Love", and the album versions of "If It's Over" and "All in Your Mind".

"I'll Be There" was nominated for the 1993 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best R&B Song, losing both categories to Boyz II Men's "End of the Road". The "I'll Be There" music video, directed by Larry Jordan, was compiled from footage of Carey's MTV Unplugged appearance.

During Michael Jackson's memorial service on July 7, 2009, Carey and Lorenz sang their rendition of the song in tribute to Jackson.

Critical reception[edit]

Allmusic editor Shawn M. Haney highlighted it and wrote the power and esteem of "these tales lift to new heights and remain at a peak with the breathtaking, moment-making performance of "I'll Be There."[7] Entertainment Weekly editor wrote that Mariah turned this song into a "killer duet."[8]

Track listing[edit]

Worldwide CD single

  1. "I'll Be There"
  2. "So Blessed"

European CD maxi-single

  1. "I'll Be There"
  2. "So Blessed"
  3. "Vanishing"

UK CD maxi-single

  1. "I'll Be There"
  2. "Vision of Love" (live)
  3. "If It's Over
  4. "All in Your Mind"

Chart performance[edit]

After the underperformance of "Make It Happen" compared to her previous singles, "I'll Be There" was a return to form for Carey: it became her sixth #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and allayed any concerns her record label had about her career in decline. "I'll Be There" was the #1 song on the Hot 100 for two weeks, from June 13, 1992 to June 27. It replaced "Jump" by Kris Kross, and was itself replaced by "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot. It became #1 on the U.S. Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. In fact, it is the only single released from the MTV Unplugged series that hit #1.

"I'll Be There" was Carey's breakthrough hit outside North America, becoming her most successful single in numerous markets. It topped the Canadian Singles Chart for two weeks, and became her biggest hit at the time in the United Kingdom (where it hit #2) and Australia (where it reached #9). It peaked inside the top 20 in most markets across Europe, where Carey's success had previously been limited.

The song has sold a total of 345,000 copies in the UK.[9]


Arthur Hanlon version[edit]

"I'll Be There (Alli Estaré)"
Single by Arthur Hanlon featuring Karlos Rosé
Released May 28, 2013 (2013-05-28)
Format Digital download
Genre bachata
Length 3:32
Label Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Writer(s) Berry Gordy, Bob West, Willie Hutch, Hal Davis
Producer(s) Arthur Hanlon, David Cabrera
Karlos Rosé singles chronology
"I'll Be There"

In 2013, American pianist Arthur Hanlon covered the song in bachata with Dominican guest singer Karlos Rosé as the lead vocalist. Their cover was recorded in Spanglish and will be included on Hanlon's Encanto del Caribe tour.[25] The song was produced Hanlon and David Cabera.[26]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
US Hot Latin Songs (Billboard)[27] 41
US Tropical Airplay (Billboard)[28] 4

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Jason Ankeny. "I'll Be There - The Jackson 5 | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 287. 
  3. ^ Dutch Singles Chart
  4. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 12 December 1970". Poparchives.com.au. 1970-12-12. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  5. ^ a b "UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts". everyHit.com. 2000-03-16. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Shawn M. Haney. "MTV Unplugged - Mariah Carey | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  8. ^ "Carey On". EW.com. 1992-12-25. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  9. ^ Mariah Carey official top 20 biggest-selling songs in the UK MTV. retrieved: 2010-05-03.
  10. ^ Steffen Hung. "Mariah Carey - I'll Be There (Unplugged)". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  11. ^ Belgian Singles Chart
  12. ^ Lwin, Nanda, Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide, 2000
  13. ^ Steffen Hung. "Mariah Carey - I'll Be There (Unplugged)". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "Mariah Carey - I'll Be There (Unplugged)". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  15. ^ [2][dead link]
  16. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  17. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Rianz.org.nz. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  18. ^ Steffen Hung. "Mariah Carey - I'll Be There (Unplugged)". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  19. ^ Steffen Hung. "Mariah Carey - I'll Be There (Unplugged)". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  20. ^ Steffen Hung. "Mariah Carey - I'll Be There (Unplugged)". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  21. ^ a b c "Mariah Carey - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  22. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1992 - Longbored Surfer - Charts". Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 2013-10-21. 
  23. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  25. ^ Longo, Federica (June 1, 2013). "Dominicano Karlos Rose shines in Hanlon collaboration of ‘Alli Estare’". Voxxi. News Website. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Arthur Hanlon canta a dúo con Karlos Rosé" (in Spanish). lamusica.com. May 20, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Arthur Hanlon Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Latin Songs for Arthur Hanlon. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  28. ^ "Arthur Hanlon Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Tropical Airplay for Arthur Hanlon. Retrieved July 30, 2013.