For first performance of Staples Center tribute, Carey and Trey Lorenz reprise their 1992 cover.
By Eric Ditzian
After a slight delay, Michael Jackson’s memorial tribute at the Staples Center in Los Angeles got off to an emotional beginning as Mariah Carey performed a version of the Jackson 5’s biggest hit, “I’ll Be There.”
Taking the stage in an elegant black dress, Carey began to sing alone. She was soon joined by frequent collaborator Trey Lorenz for the performance. While the duo sang, photos of the singer flashed on a huge screen above them.
This was the second time since the pop singer’s death that artists had performed “I’ll Be There” on live TV. Just days after Jackson’s death, Ne-Yo and Jaime Foxx concluded an MJ-centric BET Awards with a gospel-inspired version of the song.
Upon its release in 1970, “I’ll Be There” shot to the top of the Billboard chart. Co-written and co-produced by Motown founder Berry Gordy, the track was a departure from earlier, uptempo Jackson 5 hits like “ABC.” Michael shared the lead vocal with his brother Jermaine. The song became the group’s final #1 single, although Michael would go on to score many more during career as a solo artist.
Carey and Lorenz’s version at the Staples Center was a reprise of their 1992 “MTV Unplugged” cover of “I’ll Be There,” which also landed the top Billboard slot.
The song has also been covered by New Kids on the Block, Leona Lewis (on the British “X Factor” show) and on both “American Idol” and “Britain’s Got Talent.”
For complete coverage of the life, career and passing of the legendary entertainer, visit “Michael Jackson Remembered.”
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