November 19, 2011

Will You Be There?

To my dear friend R.,
half a world away but always near.
Thank you.
Happy Birthday !!! 

"Will You Be There?" was released in 1993 and featured on "Free Willy" Soundtrack. First thing that comes to mind when thinking about the song is "epic", the classical meaning of the word. In fact "Will You Be There?" was included in Michael's book "Dancing The Dream, Poems and Reflections" and it fits in perfectly among the other writings.


The full length version includes a prelude, a lesser known portion from Beethoven's "Ode To Joy" (from his "9th Symphony" - German lyrics are written by Friedrich Schiller), performed by The Cleveland Orchestra and The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus.

"You bow down, millions?
Can you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him above the starry canopy!
            Beyond the stars He must dwell."

The follow up to this introduction is a beautiful chorale interlude arranged by Andre and Sandra Crouch  with the Andre Crouch Singers contributing to the song with vocals. Talking about the song producer Teddy Riley said:
"This is Michael again. Bringing a vocal choir in on the track was a stroke of genius. It's something I'd consider doing since hearing him do it. 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."

Hold Me
Like The River Jordan
And I Will Then Say To Thee
You Are My Friend

Carry Me
Like You Are My Brother
Love Me Like A Mother
Will You Be There?
The album version of the song is 7 minutes and 40 seconds long. In the days of 142 characters at a time it's an eternity. But to me it always felt short and intense. If I had to choose a category for it I would list it as a gospel song. Like "Man In The Mirror" and "Keep The Faith", "Will You Be There?" has powerful vocals and amazing harmonies. But unlike the two this one focuses on a deep personal level, it comes from the soul of a man praying for guidance, support, understanding and love. For most of his life Michael has been the genius, the superstar, the odd one, the gloved one and so on and was denied the right to be considered and treated as human.

Tell Me Will You Hold Me
When Wrong, Will You Scold Me
When Lost Will You Find Me?

But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End
But I'm Only Human

The song a huge impact on the fan community and it created a strong bond between us and Michael. I was about 12 when I bought the album and when I watched the live broadcasting of the Bucharest concert ("Dangerous" Tour) and I was mostly unaware of the struggles and pain in his life. It is a song that I have rediscovered since in many occasions. With the release of its video that contained images from his "Dangerous" Tour both on and off stage (including from two places very important to me - Bucharest and Munich), in dealing with all the media bashing, in dealing with the greed driven accusations brought against him, after watching the MTV performance, after the 1996 Bucharest concert (that I attended), during and after the trial, after his death, after meeting with dear friends, each time when I need something to lift my spirit. 
It is always an incredibly emotional experience, that gets richer each time - but the first feel, the first thought will always be connected to that day in 1992 when I first saw him performing it live - a man, dressed in a simple white shirt and black pants, making me see emotions though singing and dancing.


Everyone's Taking Control Of Me
Seems That The World's
Got A Role For Me
I'm So Confused
Will You Show To Me
You'll Be There For Me
And Care Enough To Bear Me

Later on, though the years, learning the meaning of the lyrics and understanding the message of the song I was amazed by the strength he had performing the song each night in front of tens of thousands of people. It must have taken huge amounts of energy just to get thought it.

“When I step out on stage in front of thousands of people, I don't feel that I'm being brave. It can take much more courage to express true feelings to one person. [...] In spite of the risks, the courage to be honest and intimate opens the way to self-discovery. It offers what we all want,
the promise of love. ”
Michael Jackson

In Our Darkest Hour
In My Deepest Despair
Will You Still Care?
Will You Be There?
In My Trials
And My Tribulations
Through Our Doubts
And Frustrations
In My Violence
In My Turbulence
Through My Fear
And My Confessions
In My Anguish And My Pain
Through My Joy And My Sorrow
In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
"Will You Be There?" transformed the untouchable "superhero" figure into the man with a fantastic gift for most of his fans. It built a bridge between the fan community and Michael, helping with the transition to what we now call MJ Family.

I once heard tears being defined as sign that our body can no longer contain our emotions. Each time after I listen the song I have tears in my eyes and feeling overwhelmed. And most times are tears of joy.

I'll Never Let You Part
For You're Always In My Heart.

Written, composed, produced, solo and background vocals by Michael Jackson
Co-Produced by Bruce Swedien
Recorded and mixed by Bruce Swedien and Matt Forger
Rhythm arrangement by Michael Jackson and Greg Phillinganes
Orchestra arranged and conducted by Johnny Mandel
Vocal arrangement by Michael Jackson
Choir arrangement by Andrae and Sandra Crouch, featuring the Andrae Crouch Singers.
Greg Phillinganes and Brad Buxer: Keyboards
Michael Boddicker: Synthesizers
Rhett Lawrence: Synthesizers and synthesizer programming
Brad Buxer, Bruce Swedien: Drums and percussion
Paulinho Da Costa: Percussion
Prelude - Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Opus 125: Presto
                          Performed by the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
                          Directed by Robert Shaw
                          Performed by the Cleveland Orchestra
                          Conducted by George Szell


doublebeee said...

Thank you for this post. I could say a million things about this song and it wouldn't even become close on what it means to me and has done over the time I heard it for the first time and the video too...

What always strikes me is the fact that Michael moves like a feather in the video. Almost no gravity. Never seen anything come even close...

mike1909 said...

The video, the live performances, the dance sequence deserve special attention. I feel the same about his movement but could exactly find the words to describe it. No gravity. It's like he becomes one with the rhythm, with the air around him.

Cassarah said...

Thank you very much @mike1909 for this wonderful post. :)

Dear R., I wish you to have a wonderful birthday and a very happy new year of life! May you always feel the light, especially when the dawn is still dark....

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much my dear friends for your very warm and loving birthday wishes for me! I love you all!

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