Monday, June 28, 2010

Michael Monday: The Single that Never Was

Michael's second solo LP, Ben, was issued on August 4, 1972, less than eight months after his first solo LP. Although there were three singles pulled from the first album, Got to Be There, only one single was issued from the second album -- the title song, "Ben."

A test pressing I bought years ago shows that there had, however, been plans for a second single from the album, scheduled as Motown 1218. The A-side was "Everybody's Somebody's Fool," a dreamy slow-tempo number that had previously been recorded by jazz greats such as Lionel Hampton (his wife, Gladys, shared a writing credit on the song), Etta James, and Dinah Washington. But Motown producers Mel Larson and Jerry Marcellino may have been thinking of the version by the high-pitched vocalist for Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra, Little Jimmy Scott, when they decided to have Michael record a cover version.

The B-side was a cover of a Stevie Wonder song, "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day," produced by Hal Davis. Michael turned in one of his strongest vocal performances of his early solo years with this song, which was filled with riffs showing an amazing amount of vocal control for a singer of any age, let alone one on the brink of an adolescent voice change.

We'll probably never know why Motown decided to cancel the single. We do know, however, that the same catalogue number was used in April of 1973 for Michael's next single, taken from from his third album, Music and Me. It, too, was a cover version of a Stevie Wonder song, "With a Child's Heart."


  1. We want to know more about this ¿?¿?¿

  2. Yes, more please! Roberta

  3. oh wow. Never heard about that. Do you have this record, or just the photo?
    If you have a story to tell about this, I'll be happy to read it too. ;)


  4. Sorry, for some reason the text disappeared, so I have recreated it.

  5. How lucky you are to have this treasure. I assume you still have a record player on which to play the songs. Thanks for this great back story!