118. Jackson 5 – ‘I Want You Back’ (1969)

“Oh darling I was blind to let you go
But now since I see you in his arms, I want you back”

Taken from the album Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5

Also released on Goin’ Back To Indiana, The Greatest Hits, Anthology, The Ultimate Collection, Anthology (2000), The Jacksons Story, The Ultimate Collection (2004), The Very Best Of The Jacksons, Gold, The Essential Michael Jackson, Gold (2008), The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 9: 1969, The Stripped Mixes and The Remix Suite

US #1, UK #2, AUS #53

In one of the most explosive entrances the pop world has ever seen, here was a young singer called Michael Jackson, performing his heart out and preparing himself for stardom. As amazing as he was, it was impossible to predict exactly how amazing he would become, although ‘I Want You Back’ gives a fair impression.

‘I Want You Back’ was released a few months before the sixties ended, and introduced one of the biggest stars of the seventies, who would go on to become the undisputed king of the eighties, and then the most talked about artist of the nineties and 21st century. It has a lost of history now, and a lot more weight on it’s shoulders than it would have back when it was released, when I assume it was brushed of as a nice slice of throwaway pop.

But there are so many things about this that aren’t throwaway. There’s that melody, that incredible writing and playing style that made Motown so special. Most importantly there was Michael’s voice, mature way beyond his years and seemingly the voice of a veteran on his debut single. ‘I Want You Back’ was the first of four consecutive number ones for the Jackson 5 and the first of 18 career US number one singles for little Michael Jackson.

Live on American Bandstand:

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