20 Greatest Best Song Oscar Performances

From Springsteen to Southern hip-hop and hot-buttered soul, Oscars' grandest, grooviest musical showstoppers

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6. Michael Jackson, 'Ben' (1973)

Check out that 13-year-old with the killer afro and that dope red sweater vest: Yes, that's really the future King of Pop singing that sweet, sad song about the rat who got away. As "one-fifth of the Jackson Five," per presenter Charlton Heston's introduction, Michael Jackson could be a dynamic performer; the fact that he could mesmerize you all by his lonesome, and by showing his tender side via an ode to his a horror film's titular killer vermin, was something altogether unique. It may have been past his bed time, as Heston joked, but this rendition suggested that the young Mr. Jackson was indeed capable of solo career — a tiny hint of the power ballads and pop-chart juggernauts to come. DF

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