Michael Jackson: How He Felt About 1 of His Songs Being in a Killer Rat Movie

Michael Jackson’s songs have appeared in a number of movies, including one about killer rats. In his memoir, Jackson revealed what it was like to see his name flash on the screen during the credits of that movie. He also discussed what he thought of the song he performed for the film.

Michael Jackson went to the theater to see a movie that had 1 of his songs in it

In his memoir, Moonwalk, Jackson discussed his feelings about the silver screen. He said he greatly admired Walt Disney for bringing joy to millions of people across the globe. He also discussed what he felt about the movie Ben, the sequel to the killer rat movie Willard. For context, Jackson performed the title song from Ben.

“My first real involvement with films came when I sang the title song for the movie Ben in 1972,” he said. “Ben meant a lot to me. Nothing ever excited me as much as going to the studio to put my voice on film. I had a great time.”

Jackson had a strong reaction to seeing his name in the film’s end credits. “Later, when the movie came out, I go to the theater and wait until the end when the credits would flash on, and it would say “‘Ben’ sung by Michael Jackson,” he wrote. “I was really impressed by that.”

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How Michael Jackson reacted to the story of ‘Ben’

While Ben wasn’t exactly a critical darling, Jackson enjoyed it. “I loved the song and I loved the story,” Jackson recalled. Jackson compared the plot of the film to Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Notably, Jackson also performed a song for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial titled “Someone in the Dark.”

Jackson elaborated on how “People didn’t understand the boy’s love for this little creature,” Jackson said. “He was dying of some disease and his only true friend was Ben, the leader of the rats in the city where they lived. A lot of people thought the movie was a bit odd, but I was not one of them.” 

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How the public reacted to the song

Ben became Jackson’s first No. 1 hit in the United States as a solo artist. The song remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks. Its parent album, Ben, was a hit as well. It reached No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 32 weeks. 

“Ben” was a hit in the United Kingdom as well. According to The Official Charts Company, the track reached No. 7 in the U.K. “Ben” remained on the chart for 17 weeks. Ben reached No. 17 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for seven weeks. While the movie Ben hasn’t gone down in history as a classic of 1970s cinema like The Godfather or Apocalypse Now, the public seemed to embrace its title song — and so did Jackson.