Will You Be There

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"Will You Be There"
Will You be There.jpg
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Dangerous and Free Willy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side
ReleasedJune 28, 1993
Recorded1990–91
Genre
Length7:40 (Album Version)
5:52 (Edit)
3:40 (Radio Edit)
LabelEpic
Songwriter(s)Michael Jackson
Producer(s)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Whatzupwitu"
(1993)
"Will You Be There"
(1993)
"Gone Too Soon"
(1993)
Music video
"Will You Be There" on YouTube

"Will You Be There" is a song by Michael Jackson which was released as a single on June 28, 1993. The song is the eighth single from the 1991 album Dangerous. The song gained recognition for its appearance on the soundtrack to the film Free Willy (1993), under the title "Will You Be There (Theme from Free Willy)", of which it is the main theme, and was also included in the album All Time Greatest Movie Songs and video game Michael Jackson: The Experience. With the album version clocking in at seven minutes and forty seconds, it is the longest song in Michael Jackson's solo discography.

"Will You Be There" became yet another successful single from Dangerous, peaking at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, selling 1,000,000 copies and earning a platinum certification. Outside of the United States, "Will You Be There" peaked within the top ten of the charts in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Background[edit]

The song is written in the key of D Major.[1] Jackson's vocal spans from D3 to E5.[1] It has a tempo of 83 beats per minute. Jackson wrote and produced "Will You Be There" – with co-producing credits going to Bruce Swedien – and orchestrated the rhythm and vocal arrangements. Featured instruments are noted as piano, synthesizer, keyboard, drums, and percussion. In 2002, Jackson told a documentary produced by British television network ITV it was written at his Neverland Ranch, in what he calls his Giving Tree: "I've written so many of my songs in this tree. I wrote... Will You Be There..." (Living with Michael Jackson, aired Feb 2003).[2]

Song information[edit]

The full version of the song includes a prelude featuring the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus performing a portion of Beethoven's ninth symphony. The segment is from the fourth movement and is a lesser known portion of the famous "Ode to Joy". The German lyrics were written by Friedrich Schiller.

German original[3]
English translation
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.

This classical introduction is then followed by a chorale interlude arranged by Andrae and Sandra Crouch. The Andrae Crouch Singers are heard throughout the rest of the song as well. In addition, Jackson performs a spoken poem at the end.

The full version of the song without the intro played during the closing credits of Free Willy. The radio edit, also known as "Will You Be There" (Reprise), omits the intro and outro.

Legal issues[edit]

"Will You Be There" was the subject of two lawsuits. The first was for copyright infringement of the Cleveland Orchestra's recording and lack of credit to Beethoven for the use of his symphonic prelude. The suit was filed by the Cleveland Orchestra[4] for 7 million dollars and was settled out of court with subsequent pressings of Dangerous including full credits in the album booklet. The second lawsuit was a claim of plagiarism by Italian songwriter Albano Carrisi who claimed that "Will You Be There" was copied from his song "I Cigni di Balaka" ("The Swans of Balaka"). After seven years, an Italian court ruled in favor of Carrisi because Jackson failed to show up to court. In a follow-up case some months later, the court ruled in favor of Jackson and rejected the claim, stating that while the two songs were very similar, they both may have been inspired by The Ink Spots' 1939 hit "Bless You for Being an Angel".[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Chris Lacy from Albumism noted "the gospel fervor" of "Will You Be There".[6] Larry Flick from Billboard described it as a "highly inspirational, gospel/pop tune", stating that Jackson "offers one of his purest vocals in a long while, wisely sidestepping busy instrumentation and studio gimmicks". He added, "As a result, listeners are reminded how special and unique he truly is."[7] Troy J. Augusto from Cashbox commented, "Not as immediate as much of Michael's material, but dreamy enough to connect with his audience." He added, "Big vocal chorus and string arrangement add to song's appeal."[8] Rolling Stone wrote that "the grandiose 'Will You Be There' never catches fire" and added that "the sequencing of Dangerous often clusters similar songs in bunches", and with that "it's easy to overlook" the following track "Keep The Faith" which, like "Will You Be There", also features the Andrae Crouch Singers. However, according to the article "is looser and sets off fireworks with a call-and-response gospel coda".[9]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Result
1994 MTV Movie Awards Best Song From a Movie Won

Music video[edit]

Two different music videos were created by Vince Patterson. The official video included Jackson performing the song during the Dangerous World Tour while scenes from Free Willy are shown. The original VHS copies of Free Willy included the music video prior to the film. The second video from Dangerous: The Short Films contained the full length of MTV's 10th Anniversary special performance intercut with the Dangerous World Tour performance and footage of the fans.

Live performances[edit]

Jackson first performed "Will You Be There" at MTV's 10th Anniversary special on June 6, 1991. He would perform it again throughout the Dangerous World Tour while incorporating sign language. During the spoken outro, Jackson would sometimes have children in tow. But for the MTV 10th Anniversary performance, an angel appears from behind and embraces him after reciting the prayer. At the 25th NAACP Image Awards in 1993 where Jackson accepted "Entertainer of the Year" that night, Daryl Coley, Patti LaBelle and the Voices of Faith Choir performed the song with Jackson joining in at the end. The song was planned for the HIStory World Tour (1996–1997), but was not included in final set list. A version was released on the 2004 DVD Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour. Jackson would have performed the song for the This Is It concerts which never took place due to his sudden death. The rehearsal for it, which took place on June 23, was not featured in the film This Is It (although it appears briefly on the DVD/Blu-ray bonus features), but was confirmed to have been part of the concert, along with "Dirty Diana", "Dangerous", "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", "Rock With You", "Off The Wall", "You Are Not Alone", "You Rock My World", "Heal the World" and "Stranger in Moscow" rehearsals, which were also not seen in the film.

Other performances[edit]

Jennifer Hudson performed the song at Michael Jackson's memorial service on July 7, 2009.

The song was also covered by the band Boyce Avenue on their 2010 album Influential Sessions. Sales of this song on iTunes were used to raise money for relief of the 2010 Haiti earthquake through the American Red Cross. Band member Alejandro Manzano said "...though we knew that any cover of [Michael Jackson's] music would pale in comparison to the original, we were still compelled to give a shout out to the late great in this time of need, by doing our rendition of one of our favorite songs of his, 'Will You Be There.'"[10]

Michael Lynche performed the song on the ninth season of American Idol on May 11, 2010, prior to being eliminated from the Final 4.

Melanie Amaro performed the song in the first season of The X Factor on 2011. She survived during elimination bouts at judges' houses.

Fleur East performed the song on the eleventh season of the original The X Factor in the United Kingdom on November 8, 2014, during Queen vs. Michael Jackson week.

"Will You Be There" was included in the "Heal the World – Will You Be There" number in Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.

Track listing[edit]

CD and 12" single

  1. "Will You Be There" (Radio Edit) – 3:40
  2. "Man in the Mirror" – 5:19
  3. "Girlfriend" – 3:04
  4. "Will You Be There" (Album Version) – 7:40

CD promo

  1. "Will You Be There" (Radio Edit) – 3:40

7" and cassette single

  1. "Will You Be There" (Radio Edit) – 3:40
  2. "Will You Be There" (Instrumental) – 3:40

3-inch single

  1. "Will You Be There" (Radio Edit) – 3:40
  2. "Girlfriend" – 3:04

Video single

  1. "Will You Be There" (Music Video) - 5:56

Running time: 4 minutes 30 seconds

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Will You Be There– Michael Jackson Digital Sheet Music (Digital Download)". MusicNotes.com. Alfred Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
  2. ^ "Will You Be There". Fanpop. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
  3. ^ "Beethoven Foundation – Schiller's "An die Freude" and Authoritative Translation".
  4. ^ Michael Jackson: The King of Pop Branden Publishing Company, 1993, p. 315
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Lacy, Chris (November 21, 2016). "TRIBUTE: Celebrating 25 Years of Michael Jackson's 'Dangerous'". Albumism. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  7. ^ Flick, Larry (June 26, 1993). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 84. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Augusto, Troy J. (July 3, 1993). "Pop Singles: Reviews - Pick Of The Week" (PDF). Cashbox. p. 13. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  9. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/dangerous-19920101
  10. ^ Will You Be There – Help for Haiti on YouTube
  11. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  12. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2242." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 2231." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  16. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 32. August 7, 1993. p. 15. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  17. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  18. ^ "Lescharts.com – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Will You Be There". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 33, 1993" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Charts.nz – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  24. ^ "Notowanie nr599". Nowe Media, Polskie Radio S.A. LP3.polskieradio.pl. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  25. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  27. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  28. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  29. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  30. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  31. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  32. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Canadian Digital Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  33. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". Tracklisten. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  34. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". Singles Top 100. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  35. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  36. ^ "Michael Jackson Chart History (Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  37. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1993" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  38. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  39. ^ "The RPM Top 100 A\C Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  40. ^ "1993 Year-End Sales Charts" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 10 no. 51/52. December 18, 1993. p. 15. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 1993" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  42. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1993". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  43. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1993" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  44. ^ "End of Year Charts 1993". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  45. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1993". Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  46. ^ http://98.130.35.56/archives/90s_files/1993YESP.html
  47. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  48. ^ "American single certifications – Michael Jackson – Will You Be There?". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved November 15, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]