Ben (1972)

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By: Michael Jackson (born August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, died June 25, 2009 of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, California.)

Called the King of Pop, Jackson is recognized by Guinness World Records as the most successful entertainer of all time. His contribution to music, dance and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

The eighth child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene alongside his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5 in the mid-1960s, and began his solo career in 1971.

"Ben" was featured in the 1972 movie of the same name. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song, and Jackson sang it at the ceremony in 1973.

According to the book Jacksons Number Ones, "Ben" was intended for Donny Osmond, but co-writer Don Black suggested Jackson instead.

Despite being about a rat, the lyrics make no reference to rodents. The song is about someone named Ben who is not regarded as a friend by anyone, but is thought to be and comforted by the singer.

"Ben" was one of Michael Jackson's favorite songs.

It was his first #1 hit as a solo artist. Motown began recording him as a solo artist when the Jackson 5 stopped selling well. Jackson was 14 at the time, and became the youngest artist to top the US charts both as a solo artist and as a member of a group (the Jackson 5).

Chart position: #1 (US, 1 week), #7 (UK).

It charted again in 2009 (after Jackson's death) in the UK at #46.

It was preceded at #1 in 1972 by "Baby, Don't Get Hooked on Me" (Mac Davis) and succeeded by "My Ding-a-Ling" (Chuck Berry).

The Top Ten Songs:
October 14, 1972 (US Billboard Hot 100).
  1. "Ben" (Michael Jackson)
  2. "Use Me" (Bill Withers)
  3. "Everybody Plays the Fool" (Main Ingredient)
  4. "Burning Love" (Elvis Presley)
  5. "Go All the Way" (Raspberries)
  6. "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me" (Mac Davis)
  7. "My Ding-a-Ling" (Chuck Berry)
  8. "Nights in White Satin" (Moody Blues)
  9. "Back Stabbers" (O'Jays)
  10. "Popcorn" (Hot Butter)

Written by:
Don Black and Walter Scharf.

Black and Scharf wrote this for the 1972 movie of the same name.

Black wrote many movie themes, including "Diamonds Are Forever" (for the James Bond movie) and "Born Free".

At his 2007 induction in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame, Black explained: "When it came to writing about a rat, I said, 'You can't write about a rat.' I mean, I'm not going to use words like 'cheese.' I thought the best thing to do is write about friendship."

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