Thursday, 22 March 2012

Ben, the two of us need look no more...

...We both found what we were looking for.
With a friend to call my own, I'll never be alone
And you my friend will see, you've got a friend in me.

This haunting tune with it's sickly sweet lyrics was originally performed by Michael Jackson for the soundtrack to the 1972 thriller of the same name. However, that's not where I first heard it, it of course being before I was born!

My first encounter with this sentimental ballad was an entirely different experience and yet it still struck all the right chords.

Growing up, our house was usually bedlam. My brother and I had hobbies that kept us busy most evenings and often weekends too. However, occasionally (usually on a Saturday evening) we'd all be home together and then we'd settle down for some quality family time in front of the TV. This was back in the day when family entertainment was at it's best with firm favourites like Noel's House Party, Family Fortunes and 3,2,1.  It was on one such evening that I first fell in love with the song Ben.

It was back in 1987 and we were watching Bob Says Opportunity Knocks when a young 9-year-old girl by the name of Toni Warne came on and performed it and stole the show. In fact,  she did this again and again, become the youngest ever three times winner of the programme.  Of course, the song was released as a single and I can still picture her angelic face in her little stripey top, peering at me from the sleeve of the record.

Even now, 25 years later, her rendition of this beautiful track remains my favourite and reminds me how lucky I have been to grow up in the bosom of such a loving, supportive family.

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