In keeping with my series of posts about Michael Jackson, this week’s #RomanticTuesday song is the one that proved once and for all just how gifted Michael really was. Not that he hadn’t shown his gifts already: three previous singles were all massive hits for the Jackson 5. But this one slowed down the tempo and proved just how great a vocalist Michael was—even at the age of thirteen.
“I’ll Be There” is also today’s Morning Groove.
Written by Bob West, Hal Davis, Willie Hutch and Berry Gordy, “I’ll Be There” was the fourth number one single for the group in just over a year. At this point, the group was the biggest thing in music. With the impressive pedigree the song has from its writers, the true magic is brought by Michael’s amazing vocal. Much would be made about how well Michael could dance in later years, but even as a youngster he was an amazing singer. This song is the proof that his vocal gift manifested itself very early on. And in one of the great callbacks in vocal history, Michael’s “Just look over your shoulder honey!” references the Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I’ll Be There.”
That Mariah Carey managed to also have a #1 hit with this song speaks to the song’s greatness. But as great a vocalist as Mariah Carey was, she had nothing on a thirteen-year old singing with a wisdom and understanding far beyond his years.
A great song, sung by a great singer. That’s today’s Morning Groove, and the #RomanticTuesday song as well. Please enjoy and as always, thanks for reading and listening.