Song written by Don Black and composed by Walter Scharf
Ben" is a song written by Don Black and Walter Scharf for the 1972 film of the same name (a spin-off to the 1971 killer rat film ). It was performed by Willard Lee Montgomery in the film and by Michael Jackson over the closing credits. Jackson's single, recorded for the Motown label in 1972, spent one week at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, making it Jackson's first number one single in the US as a solo artist.  ranked it as the number 20 song for 1972. Billboard It also reached number 1 on the  ARIA Charts, spending eight weeks at the top spot. The song also later reached a peak of number 7 on the  UK Singles Chart. In 2004, the song appeared in  .
The Ultimate Collection
"Ben" won a
Golden Globe for Best Song. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973, losing to " The Morning After" by Maureen McGovern from . Jackson The Poseidon Adventure lip-synced to the song at the Oscars ceremony, possibly as his vocal range had shifted since its recording.
"Ben" was originally written for
Donny Osmond, but he was on tour at the time and unavailable for recording, so Black and Scharf offered the song to Jackson instead. In addition to its one week at number 1 in the U.S., the song also later reached a peak of number 7 on the  British pop chart. "Ben" won a  Golden Globe for Best Song. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1973; Jackson performed the song in front of a live audience at the ceremony.  called it a "beauty". Billboard
Although Jackson had already become the youngest artist to ever record a number 1 ("
I Want You Back" with The Jackson 5, in 1970), "Ben" made him the third-youngest solo artist, at 14, to score a number 1 hit single. Only  Stevie Wonder, who was 13 when " Fingertips" went to number 1, and Osmond, who was months shy of his 14th birthday when " Go Away Little Girl" hit number 1 in 1971, were younger. The song is one of Jackson's most re-released, having appeared on , The Jackson 5 Anthology , The Best of Michael Jackson , 18 Greatest Hits , Michael Jackson Anthology , Jackson 5: The Ultimate Collection , The Essential Michael Jackson , Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection , Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection , The Definitive Collection , the North American version of The Jacksons Story (even though here it is the 1981 live version), some versions of Number Ones and King of Pop .
A live recorded version was released on the 1981 album
and remixed versions have appeared on The Jacksons Live! , The Remix Suite and some versions of The Stripped Mixes . After Jackson's death, singer Immortal Akon released a remix of the song with his own background vocals and Jackson's original vocal solo.
AllMusic editor Lindsay Planer wrote about the success of the song: "Like much of the Motown empire at the time, the title track's multimedia exposure, coupled with strong crossover appeal, ensured that "Ben" scored the artist his first Pop Singles' chart-topper" and he highlighted the track.  editor Rolling Stone Vince Aletti was not satisfied: "The title song is lovely, no doubt, and Michael packs it with a surprising amount of feeling (his delivery of "They don't see you as I do/I wish they would try to" still tears me up) but it's all a little too thick for my tastes".
Marti Webb version
In 1985, the song became a top 10 hit again in the U.K. when covered by
Marti Webb as a tribute to  Ben Hardwick, a young liver transplant patient. [ This version reached #5 in the ] citation needed U.K. Singles Chart and was one of the singer's biggest hits. The song's lyricist, Don Black, was at the time Webb's manager.  [
] citation needed