Hudson performed the 1991 song from Dangerous that was also featured in the hit movie ‘Free Willy.’ By Eric Ditzian
Jennifer Hudson performs at the Michael Jackson memorial service on Tuesday
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
During a day of star-powered speeches and world-class performances at Michael Jackson’s public memorial in Los Angeles, Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer and actress Jennifer Hudson appeared at the Staples Center in front of a packed crowd to cover one of Jackson’s hits from the 1990s, “Will You Be There.”
The track originally appeared on MJ’s 1991 Billboard-topping album, Dangerous. The album went platinum seven times and stayed on the chart for 117 straight weeks. The biggest single, “Black or White,” went platinum and also hit the top Billboard spot. But “Will You Be There” became most well-known when it appeared on the soundtrack for the 1993 movie “Free Willy,” about one boy’s struggle to save an orca whale. The movie grossed almost $80 million at the box office, the track reached as high as #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and went gold.
Hudson wore a knee-length white dress as she belted out a gospel-tinged version of the song. She was accompanied by backup singers performing in unison behind her. Toward the end, lyrics from the song appeared on a large screen — popping in front of a star-filled outer-space backdrop — while a recording of Jackson’s own tear-soaked voice softly spoke the words:
“In my anguish and my pain/ Through my joy and my sorrow/ In the promise of another tomorrow/ I’ll never let you part/ For you’re always in my heart.”
“We love you, Michael,” Hudson said after the song drew to a close.