"Ben (Live at the Forum)" - Michael Jackson (J5)
Excerpt from Live at the Forum - Disc 2 (1972)
Today’s Forum story:
By the late August 1972 show at the L.A. Forum, Michael Jackson had three solo hits, all taken from his debut LP: “Got To Be There,” “Rockin’ Robin” and “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” which MJ announced at the show as “released as a single right now,” although by then it was on its way down the charts. The hot new Jackson family record at the time was “Ben,” the theme song to a movie about a rat and the title track to Michael’s second solo album.
“Ben” in every way it should not have worked. But Michael made it work; his sincerity and soul permeated the record - a testament to his instincts and art.
Then there is this live version from the Forum. The first half has no background vocals – and this being a J5 show from early in the decade, no strings, horns or video screens, either. Just MJ backed by the sparest arrangement and, except for the occasional scream (“Sing It, Michael!”), a hushed crowd. Bared, Michael is tentative at first, then more confident, and by the time his brothers join him in harmony, you just may forget about the studio version.
Wednesday: ‘Look’ for the other J5 single from summer ’72