In the animal-songs canon, “Ben” may be the just love song around a rat. The track was the title monitor of the sequel come the 1971 movie Willard, in which a young outsider trains a rat population to attack his enemies. At some point the rats, led by their leader, Ben, turn on Willard and devour him. In the disaster-horror genre the the era, this film to be so successful that Ben changed the complying with year because that his very own sequel. The is slightly much more benevolent in this version, befriending a young boy named Danny and helping that to defeat his bullies (until the rats turn on anyone again, surprise). Because that the sequel, Ben also got his very own surprisingly sentimental song, created by longtime composer and Willy Wonka & The cacao Factory music director Walter Scharf. It to be sung by then-teenaged Michael Jackson over the last credits.

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The Jackson 5 had been successful for some time by 1972. Yet Michael Jackson, like Donny Osmond in another brother act, was the the star the the present as the youngest, and had began to break out with hits choose “Rockin’ Robin.” Jackson obtained this track after Osmond turned the down. As just he might do, the young Jackson adds a enthusiasm emotionality as he sings come a pet that’s constantly running “here and there / You feel you’re not wanted anywhere.” since Ben is a rat, this is probably true. However when Jackson hits the high note in “They don’t check out you as I carry out / i wish castle would try to,” his vocal instrumentation is unexpectedly moving for a track so rodent propelled.

Radio listener agreed, do “Ben” the No. 20 tune for 1972, and paving the means for Jackson’s future solo career. It was the very first of his solo No. 1 hits; he didn’t have another until 1979’s “Don’t prevent ’Til You obtain Enough.” “Ben” winner the 1973 gold Globe and practically won the Academy award for best Song, shedding to The Poseidon Adventure’s “The Morning After.” Crispin Glover re-recorded the song for Willard’s 2003 remake, a foolish initiative that never can have stood up to the gold-standard version of rat love songs.

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