Will You Be There?

Album: Dangerous (1991)
Charted: 8 7

Songfacts®:

  • Although the trials of Michael Jackson resulting from allegations of sexual abuse are thoroughly documented, the allegations made against him by an obscure Italian songwriter received relatively little publicity.
    Al Bano had sued Jackson claiming "Will You Be There?" had been plagiarised from his composition "I Cigni Di Balaka". The December 1999 issue of the British magazine The Songwriter carried a report of this action, which after seven years resulted in vindication for the American artist when the Court of Appeals in Milan decided finally that the two songs were not the same. Previously, Rome magistrate Domenico Bonaccorsi had issued a thirteen page ruling to the effect that they were similar enough to warrant an injunction against the Jackson composition and album Dangerous in Italy.
    The songs are certainly very similar both melodically and in phrasing, but this is an old story, there are only a certain number of ways eight musical notes can be arranged (allowing for sharps and flats!), and it is hardly surprising that at times two writers on different sides of the Atlantic come up with similar compositions. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • This was released as the seventh and final US single from Dangerous in 1993 after it was used in the movie Free Willy.
  • This was written, arranged and composed by Michael Jackson and produced by Jackson and sound engineer Bruce Swedien.
  • On this song Jackson was backed by the Andrae Crouch Singers. R&B and hip-hop producer Teddy Riley worked on much of Dangerous. He told Musicradar.com that Jackson's idea of bringing a vocal choir in on this track "was a stroke of genius. It's something I'd consider doing since hearing him do it." He added: "It's a long song as well, a lot of this album really clocks in. This nearly hits eight minutes, I think – it's not a punchy radio edit! Yes, it's long but it came across really well for the album. A lot of the songs on the album are long. That's what makes the album I think."
  • The prelude played at the beginning of the track is from Beethoven's Ninth "Ode to Joy" Symphony.
  • Jennifer Hudson performed this song at Jackson's memorial service on July 7, 2009.

Comments: 7

  • William Terkaa from NigeriaI love the song, it has speak into my LIFE. I will be there.
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaIn July of this year, I listened to this song on my iPod the day that my grandpa died from a stroke at 88 years old. I was heading home on the bus after looking after my parents' house...and I wanted a sad-sounding moving song to accompany me home for the last few minutes of the trip. I never saw my grandpa again after September 2010 and on the same day he died was also the last day I saw one of my parents' cats alive. She was a very eccentric one, but she was also old, peeing a lot and losing weight rapidly. She died just eight days after my grandpa. And just this week, I was listening to the whole Dangerous album on my stereo and I had to pause the album after "Will You Be There" after hearing the speech part near the end of the song, as it made me realize that the death of a close family member will bring me closer together with others. As Michael Jackson himself said, "I will never let you part, for you're always in my heart."
  • Mega from Bandung, IndonesiaThis song is wonderful, touches deepest heart, thank's God for sending Michael to this world..
    See you in heaven mike..
  • Maria from Palmdale, CaThis song is realy nice it's how people
    should be with friends and family.Let them
    know your there for them in time of need
  • Shauna from Atlatna, GaEveryone should listen to this song. The message is clear and to the point.
  • Homer from Springfield, KyI remember hearing this in the movie Free Willy. I loved it from then on.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThis song was released right before the sex abuse allegations - his career was never the same. Will You Be There? is a classic ballad.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gilby Clarke

Gilby ClarkeSongwriter Interviews

The Guns N' Roses rhythm guitarist in the early '90s, Gilby talks about the band's implosion and the side projects it spawned.

Frankie Valli

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo Lyric

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo LyricMusic Quiz

In this quiz, spot the artist who put Romeo into a song lyric.

Superman in Song

Superman in SongSong Writing

Not everyone can be a superhero, but that hasn't stopped generations of musicians from trying to be Superman.

00s Music Quiz 1

00s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

Do you know the girl singer on Eminem's "Stan"? If so, this quiz is for you.

Guy Clark

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.