Will You Be There

For the song by Heart, see Will You Be There (In the Morning). For the song by Celebrate The Nun, see Will You Be There (Celebrate The Nun song).
"Will You Be There"
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Dangerous and Free Willy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
B-side "Man in the Mirror"
Released June 28, 1993
Format CD, Cassette, 7", 12", VHS single
Recorded 1991
Genre Pop, R&B, gospel[1]
Length 7:40 (album version)
5:52 (edit)
3:40 (radio edit)
Label Epic
Writer(s) Michael Jackson
Producer(s) Michael Jackson
Bruce Swedien (co-producer)
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Will You Be There"
"Gone Too Soon"
Music video
"Will You Be There" on YouTube

"Will You Be There" is a song by Michael Jackson which was released in 1993. The song is the eighth single from the 1991 album Dangerous. The song also appeared on the soundtrack to the film Free Willy, of which it is the main theme. With the album version clocking in at seven minutes and forty seconds, it is the longest song in Michael Jackson's solo discography.

The song was one of the biggest hits from Dangerous, staying in the top 40 for over six weeks in the UK. The single achieved even greater success in the U.S., where it sold 500,000 copies and stayed in the top ten for six weeks, peaking at number seven and earning a gold certification.[2][3]


The song is written in the key of D Major.[4] Jackson's vocal spans from D3 to Eb5.[4] It has a tempo of 83 beats per minute. Michael wrote and produced Will You Be There – with co-producing credits going to Bruce Swedien – and orchestrated the rhythm and vocal arrangements. Featured instruments are noted as piano, synthesizer, keyboard, drums, and percussion. In 2002 he told an ITV documentary it was written at his Neverland ranch, in what he calls his Giving Tree: "I've written so many of my songs in this tree. I wrote... Will You Be There..." (Living with Michael Jackson, aired Feb 2003).[5]

Song information

In a 2002 interview with the British television network ITV, Jackson said that he wrote "Will You Be There" while sitting in a tree at his Neverland Ranch.

The full version of the song includes a prelude featuring the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus performing a portion of Beethoven's ninth symphony. The segment is from the fourth movement and is a lesser known portion of the famous "Ode to Joy". The German lyrics were written by Friedrich Schiller.

German original[6]
English translation
Ihr stürzt nieder, Millionen?
Ahnest du den Schöpfer, Welt?
Such' ihn über'm Sternenzelt!
Über Sternen muss er wohnen.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.

This classical introduction is then followed by a chorale interlude arranged by Andrae and Sandra Crouch. The Andrae Crouch Singers are heard throughout the rest of the song as well.

"Will You Be There" was the subject of two lawsuits. The first was for copyright infringement of the Clevelend Orchestra's recording and lack of credit to Beethoven for the use of his symphonic prelude. The suit was filed by the Cleveland Orchestra[7] for 7 million dollars and was settled out of court with subsequent pressings of Dangerous including full credits in the album booklet. The second lawsuit was a claim of plagiarism by Italian songwriter Albano Carrisi who claimed that "Will You Be There" was copied from his song "I Cigni di Balaka" ("The Swans of Balaka"). After seven years, an Italian court ruled in favor of Carrisi because Jackson failed to show up to court. In a follow-up case some months later, the Court ruled in favor of Jackson and rejected the claim, stating that while the two songs were very similar, they both may have been inspired by The Ink Spots' 1939 hit "Bless You for Being an Angel".[8]

Critical reception

Rolling Stone wrote that "the grandiose 'Will You Be There' never catches fire" and added that "the sequencing of Dangerous often clusters similar songs in bunches" and with that "It's easy to overlook" the following track 'Keep The Faith' which like 'Will You Be There' also features the Andrae Crouch Singers but according to the article "is looser and sets off fireworks with a call-and-response gospel coda".[9]


"Will You Be There" won the MTV Movie Award for "Best Song in a Movie" in 1994. It was also included in the album All Time Greatest Movie Songs, released by Sony in 1999.

Music video

A music video was made for the song. It included Jackson performing the song during his Dangerous World Tour and footage from Free Willy. Another video mixing footage of Jackson's performance of the song on tour and on MTV's tenth anniversary was included on the DVD releases, Dangerous: The Short Films and Michael Jackson's Vision; the latter release includes alternate shots of the audience near the end.

Live performances by Jackson

Michael Jackson performed "Will You Be There" live throughout the Dangerous World Tour. Outside of the tour, Jackson performed the song at the MTV 10th anniversary show and at the NAACP Image Awards in 1993. A version was released on the 2004 DVD Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour. Jackson would have performed the song for the "This Is It" concerts which never took place due to his sudden death. It was not featured in the film This Is It (although it appears briefly on the DVD/Blu-ray bonus features), but was confirmed to have been part of the concert, along with "Dirty Diana", "Dangerous", "Rock with You", "You Are Not Alone", "You Rock My World", "Heal the World" and "Stranger in Moscow", which were also not seen in the film.

Other performances

The song was covered at the 25th NAACP Image Awards in 1993 by Daryl Coley, Patti LaBelle and the Voices of Faith Choir, with Jackson joining in the end.

Jennifer Hudson performed the song at Michael Jackson's memorial service on July 7, 2009.

The song was also covered by the band Boyce Avenue on their 2010 album Influential Sessions. Sales of this song on iTunes were used to raise money for relief of the 2010 Haiti earthquake through the American Red Cross. Band member Alejandro Manzano said "...though we knew that any cover of [Michael Jackson's] music would pale in comparison to the original, we were still compelled to give a shout out to the late great in this time of need, by doing our rendition of one of our favorite songs of his, 'Will You Be There.'"[10]

Michael Lynche performed the song on the ninth season of American Idol on May 11, 2010, prior to being eliminated from the Final 4.

Fleur East performed the song on the eleventh season of The X Factor (UK) on November 8, 2014, during Queen vs. Michael Jackson week.

Track listing

  1. "Will You Be There" (radio edit) – 3:40
  2. "Man in the Mirror" – 5:19
  3. "Girlfriend" – 3:04
  4. "Will You Be There" (album version) – 7:40
  1. "Will You Be There" (radio edit) – 3:40
  1. "Will You Be There" (radio edit) – 3:40
  2. "Will You Be There" (instrumental) – 3:40
  1. "Will You Be There" (radio edit) – 3:40
  2. "Girlfriend" – 3:04
  1. "Will You Be There" (music video) - 3:38

Running time: 4 minutes 30 seconds




  1. "Dangerous". Sputnik. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  2. "Best-Selling Records of 1993". Billboard. BPI Communications. 106 (3): 73. January 15, 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  3. "American certifications – Jackson, Michael – Will You Be There". Recording Industry Association of America.
  4. 1 2 "Will You Be There– Michael Jackson Digital Sheet Music (Digital Download)". MusicNotes.com. Alfred Publishing Co. Inc. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  5. "Will You Be There". Fanpop. Retrieved 2012-07-13.
  6. "Beethoven Foundation – Schiller's "An die Freude" and Authoritative Translation".
  7. Michael Jackson: The King of Pop Branden Publishing Company, 1993, p. 315
  8. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/dangerous-19920101
  9. Will You Be There – Help for Haiti on YouTube
  10. Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  11. 1 2 "Swiss Singles Chart Archives". hitparade.ch. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  12. "Australian Singles Chart". Australian Record Industry Association. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  13. "New Zealand Singles Chart". RIANZ. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  14. Steffen Hung. "Michael Jackson – Will You Be There". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
  15. "UK Singles Chart". The Official UK Charts Company. Archived from the original on March 14, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.
  16. U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs
  17. "Billboard Top 100 – 1993". Retrieved 2010-08-27.
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