Top 10 Jackson 5 Songs: The Motown Years (1969-1975) (2023)

In a span of six years from 1969 through 1975, the Jackson 5 released 10 albums with Motown Records before switching their name to the more mature The Jacksons, and changing labels, by the mid-’70s.

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Formed in Gary Indiana in 1964, and originally comprised of brothers Marlon, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Michael, the Jackson 5 released a number of singles with their hometown label Steeltown Records before signing with Motown and releasing their debut Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5in 1969.

[RELATED: 7 Songs You Didn’t Know Michael Jackson Wrote for Other Artists]

Over the course of nine more albums, the group recorded a collection of hits predominantly written by The Corporation, a group ofsongwritersandrecord producersassembled by MotownfounderBerry Gordyto write songs specifically for the Jackson 5.

Under Motown, Michael, Jackie, and Jermaine also started to release several solo albums of their own, and the Jackson 5 became the first act to debut with four consecutive No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There.”

The mid-’70s were a turning point for the five siblings. The Jacksons, who were noticeably older and had moved on from Motown to Epic Records in 1976, continued to release music throughout the 1970s.

[RELATED: The Meaning Behind Michael Jackson’s 1983 Classic “Beat It”]

The Jacksons released albums throughout the ’80s with their 15th album, the final one featuring all five members, Victory, in 1984. Their 16th album, 2300 Jackson Street, and the first without Marlon and Michael, was released in 1989.

(Video) American Bandstand 1970- Interview Jackson 5

Throughout their 20-year run, the Jackson 5 (The Jacksons) sold more than 100 million albums since forming in 1965 and released an iconic catalog of classics with hits “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There” and “ABC” inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 1997, Diana Ross also presented The Jackson 5 with their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Nearly 60 years since they first formed, here’s a chronological look behind 10 of the most memorable songs recorded by the brothers when they were still the Jackson 5.

1. “I Want You Back” (1969)
Written by The Corporation: Berry Gordy,Freddie Perren,Alphonzo Mizell, andDeke Richards

The debut single from The Jackson 5 after being taken under the wing of Berry Gordy and Motown, “I Want You Back,” off their debut album, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5, turned the five brothers into overnight sensations with a first No. 1 hit. Originally considered forGladys Knight & the Pipsas well as for Diana Ross, The Jackson 5 took the song to No. 1 on the Hot 100 and R&B charts; the single also peaked at No. 5 on the pop chart.

Trying to live without your love is one long sleepless night
Let me show you, girl, that I know wrong from right
Every street you walk on, I leave tear stains on the ground
Following the girl I didn’t even want around
Let me tell you now

Read more on the story behind “I Want You Back” HERE.

2. “ABC” (1970)
Written by The Corporation

If there was a group to knock The Beatles off the No. 1 perch, it was The Jackson 5. Released in 1970, “ABC,” the title track off the group’s second album, soared to the top of the charts, bumping the Fab Four classic “Let It Be” down a notch. Like most of their previous recordings centered around love, “ABC” compared learning the alphabet to falling in love. In 1971, “ABC” picked up aGrammy nomination for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

You went to school to learn girl
Things you never knew before
Like “I” before “E” except after “C”
And why 2 plus 2 makes 4
Now, now, now
I’m gonna teach you, teach you, teach you
All about love girl, all about love
Sit yourself down, take a seat
All you gotta do is repeat after me

A B C, It’s easy as
1 2 3, as simple as
Do re mi, A B C, 1 2 3
Baby you and me girl

(Video) Michael Jackson & Jackson 5 - The Motown Years

3. “The Love You Save” (1970)
Written by The Corporation

Also off ABC, and the group’s third consecutive No. 1, “The Love You Save” features side vocals from Jermaine, who sings with Michael on the final Stop! The love you save may be your own. In addition to hitting No. 1 on the Hot 100 and the soul chart in the U.S., “The Love You Save” also made it into the Top 10 in the U.K.

When we grew up you traded
Your promise for my ring
Now just like back to grade school
You’re doing the same old thing

Stop, the love you save may be your own
Darling, take it slow
Or some day you’ll be all alone
You’d better stop, the love you save may be your own
Darling, look both ways before you cross me
You’re headed for the danger zone

4. “I’ll Be There” (1970)
Written by Berry Gordy, Bob West, Willie Hutch, Hal Davis

Considered the most successful single released by Motown during its “Detroit era”,” circa ” 1959–72 (and replacing Marvin Gaye‘s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”),“I’ll Be There” was the fourth No. 1 in a row for the Jackson 5. The first single off their Third Album, “I’ll Be There” hit No. 1 again 22 years after it was first released when Mariah Carey covered it in 1992 as a last-minute add-on to her MTV Unplugged performance.

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, well, it’s all I’m after
Just call my name and I’ll be there

I’ll be there to protect you
With an unselfish love that respects you
Just call my name, and I’ll be there

5. “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (1970)
Originally written by J. Fred Coots andHaven Gillespie and published in 1934

Still one of the most requested versions of the J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie-penned Christmas standard, the Jackson 5’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” was recorded for the group’s Christmas Album, also released in 1970. First recorded in Motown by The Supremes in 1966, the holiday classic has been covered by everyone from Bing Crosby, Neil Diamond,Bruce Springsteen,Mariah Carey, Frank Sinatra,Chris Isaak,Michael Bublé, and more throughout the decades.

(Video) Jackson 5 The Complete Album Collection Box set!

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is comin’ to town

6. “Never Can Say Goodbye”(1971)
Written by Clifton Davis

The first single off The Jackson 5’s fifth album, Maybe Tomorrow, which reached No. 1 on the soul chart, the single “Never Can Say Goodbye” was originally written for The Supremes but was given to the Jacksons instead. British pop group The Communards, Isaac Hayes, and Gloria Gaynor, who named her album after the title of the song, all had hits with their covers of The Jackson 5 hit.

Even though the pain and heartache
Seems to follow me wherever I go
Though I try and try to hide my feelings
They always seem to show
Then you try to say you’re leaving me
And I always have to say no
Tell me why
Is it so

7. “Maybe Tomorrow” (1971)
Written by The Corporation

The title track off Maybe Tomorrow, the song along with “Never Can Say Goodbye” were two of the slower tracks on an album of more danceable tracks. Written by The Corporation, the song was also featured on the group’s 1971 live album,Goin’ Back to Indiana.

I don’t know how many stars there are
Up in the heavenly sky
I only know my heaven is here on Earth
Each time you look into my eyes
The way you do, baby

My beautiful bird, you have flown away
I held you too tight, I can see
You’re all I need to get by
No else can make me cry
The way you do, baby

(Video) I Want You Back

8. “Lookin’ Through the Windows” (1972)
Written by Clifton Davis

After writing the hit “Never Can Say Goodbye,” Clifton Davis returned to write the title track of The Jackson 5′ s sixth album. Produced by Hal Davis, who also co-wrote the 5’s “I’ll Be There” and later hit “Dancing Machine,”the more funkified “Lookin’ Through the Windows” peaked at No. 16 on the Hot 100. Davis would continue working with The Jackson 5, also penning “Uppermost” off their seventh album, Skywriter.

Just remember whatever makes you feel that way
Don’t you worry ’cause I’m gonna stay
Right by your side (by your side)
To keep on lookin’ through the window
Lookin’ in your eyes

9. “Dancing Machine” (1974)
Written by Hal Davis, Don Fletcher, Dean Parks

The group entered the disco era with another No. 1 hit. Originally recorded for their 1973 album,G.I.T.: Get It Together, “Dancing Machine” was an entirely new sound for the group. The song, which featured Michael and Jermaine singing together more prominently, earned The Jackson 5 their second Grammy nomination forBest R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1975.

Automatic, systematic (Ooh bop tiddley bop)
Full of color, self-contained (Ooh bop tiddley bop)
Tuned and channeled to your vibes (Ooh bop tiddley bop) (Ooh bop tiddley bop)
Captivating, stimulating (Ooh bop tiddley bop)
She’s such a sexy lady (Ooh bop tiddley bop)
Filled with space-age design (Ooh bop tiddley bop)

10. “All I Do is Think of You” (1975)
Written by Michael Lovesmith and Brian Holland

Off The Jackson 5’s tenth and final album with Motown, Moving Violation, the album continued in a more funk and disco direction with the addition of the ballad “All I Do is Think of You,” about a boy longing for a girl he fell in love with at school. The song was The Jackson 5’s final charting song before leaving the label. Moving Violation is also the last album featuring Jermaine (until his return on Victory in 1984), who decided to remain with Motown when his brothers moved over to Epic. Younger brother Randy replaced Jermaine on future albums by The Jacksons.

I can’t wait to get to school each day
And wait for you to pass my way
(And bells start to ring) and angels start to sing
Hey that’s the girl for you (ooh, yeah)
So what are you gonna do? (oh, baby)
Hey little girl I love you so (I love you so)

(Video) TOP HITS OF 1969 PART-18

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


Top 10 Jackson 5 Songs: The Motown Years (1969-1975)? ›

In 1969 and 1970, the Jackson 5 hit singles such as "I Want You Back", "ABC", and "The Love You Save" (1970), were written by the Motown team, and aided the five brothers in becoming the first black teen idols.

What was the 1970 Jackson 5 hit song? ›

In 1969 and 1970, the Jackson 5 hit singles such as "I Want You Back", "ABC", and "The Love You Save" (1970), were written by the Motown team, and aided the five brothers in becoming the first black teen idols.

What was the Jackson 5 hit in 1979? ›

'Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)' enters the Black Singles Chart peaking at #3 and remains on the charts for 23 weeks. It goes on to become their first multi-platinum single and the biggest-selling hit single The Jacksons ever recorded, with over 2.5 million copies sold.

What was the first #1 hit the Jackson 5 had at Motown? ›

"I Want You Back" is the first national single by the Jackson 5. It was released by Motown on October 6, 1969, and became the first number-one hit for the band on January 31, 1970.

What were the Jackson 5 number one hits? ›

In 1968, they left Steeltown Records and signed with Motown, where they were the first group to debut with four consecutive number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the songs "I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There". They also achieved sixteen Top-40 singles on the chart.

What did Michael Jackson do in 1970? ›

In January 1970, "I Want You Back" became the first Jackson 5 song to reach number one on the US Billboard Hot 100; it stayed there for four weeks. Three more singles with Motown topped the chart: "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There".

What was the name of the Jackson 5 Motown hit? ›

I Want You Back” explodes onto the airwaves, and fires up the charts, soon followed by their debut album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. By January, “I Want You Back” is Motown's first No. 1 of the 1970s.

What did the Jackson 5 do in 1974? ›

The Jackson 5 perform their second set on Soul Train this year. The Jackson 5 host their final run of shows, with their cabaret set, in Las Vegas at the Nevada MGM Grand Hotel. The Jackson 5 raise money for Muscular Dystrophy on the annual MDA telethon, hosted by Jerry Lewis.

What did the Jackson 5 do in 1969? ›

The Jackson 5 become a worldwide sensation in 1969 with the release of their first Motown album, 'Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. ' Singles 'I Want You Back' and 'Who's Loving You' go on to sell 2 million copies in 6 weeks.

Who opened for Jackson 5 in 1971? ›

The Commodores

What was the number one song from Motown? ›

Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes was Motown Records' first Number One on the Hot 100, but it was only there for one week. The ten Number One singles listed below spent between 14 and 4 weeks at the top.

What was Motown's first No 1 record? ›

Fifty years ago today (May 16, 1964) the Motown Records label celebrated its first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 with Mary Wells' "My Guy," a song written and produced by Smokey Robinson.

How many number 1 hits did Motown have on the pop charts? ›

Motown 1s is a collection of 25 #1 songs originally released by Motown Records, plus a newly recorded bonus track, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," performed by Michael McDonald.

What was the Jackson 5s most popular song? ›

  • 1. “ I Want You Back” (1969) ...
  • 2. “ ABC” (1970) ...
  • 3. “ The Love You Save” (1970) ...
  • 4. “ I'll Be There” (1970) ...
  • 5. “ Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” (1970) ...
  • 6. “ Never Can Say Goodbye” (1971) ...
  • 7. “ Maybe Tomorrow” (1971) ...
  • 8. “ Lookin' Through the Windows” (1972)
Nov 27, 2022

What was the biggest hit for Michael Jackson? ›

The track peaked on the charts on March 5, 1983, remained at the peak position for 7 weeks, and was on the charts for a straight 25 weeks. The track was one of the best-selling singles of 1983 and became the biggest-selling single for Jackson as a solo artist.

Who is the most famous out of the Jackson 5? ›

Jermaine Jackson

Perhaps the most famous Jackson 5 member outside of Michael, Jermaine was born in 1954, and has had his own successful solo career, and was the band's second main vocalist.

What did Michael Jackson do in 1976? ›

In 1976, The Jacksons (Jackie, Tito, Marlon, Michael and Randy) made the crossover to Epic Records, recording their debut album at Sigma Sound Studios.

Who is the true King of Pop? ›

Michael Jackson Official Site

At the 1989 Soul Train Awards, Elizabeth Taylor presented Michael the Heritage Award for Career Achievement and she dubbed him “the true king of pop, rock and soul.” It was ultimately shortened to King of Pop and that is how Michael has been known ever since.

What song made Michael Jackson famous? ›

Billie Jean from Thriller

The beginning of the 'moonwalk' era and the white sequinned glove, Billie Jean was the song that trademarked the Jackson style of pop. Written and composed by MJ himself, this song earned him two Grammys, an American Music Award and topped the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks.

What was the Jackson 5 first number one song? ›

"I Want You Back" by the Jackson 5 (1969)The Jackson 5's first Motown single was also the group's first chart-topper, a rather auspicious national debut.

Why did the Jackson 5 begin breaking ties with Motown in 1975? ›

A reporter asked the Jackson family why they had decided to leave Motown. “We left Motown because we look forward to selling a lot of albums,” Tito Jackson answered.

What Jackson 5 song released in 1970 gave them their fourth number one hit in a row? ›

Produced by the songwriters, "I'll Be There" was The Jackson 5's fourth number-one hit in a row (after "I Want You Back" in 1969, "ABC" and "The Love You Save" earlier in 1970), making them the first group to have their first four singles reach number one and the first black male group with four consecutive number-one ...

What ended the Jackson 5? ›

As may be expected, Michael Jackson left The Jacksons when his solo career took off, and he wanted to focus on that. The band was started back in 1965 with Jackie, Tito and Jermaine Jackson.

Who is the oldest Jackson 5? ›

Jackie Jackson was born in 1941 and is the oldest Jackson 5 brother. He was part of the original trio put together by Joe along with Tito and Germaine.

What year was the Jackson 5 popular? ›

The Jackson 5 soon exploded onto the pop and R&B charts in 1969 with “I Want You Back.” Like many of the group's earliest hits, the song was co-written by “The Corporation,” a group of Motown writers and producers that included Berry Gordy, Alphonso “Fonce” Mizell, Freddie Perren and Deke Richards.

Was the Jackson 5 popular in the 70s? ›

The group was founded in 1964 by brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine with their cousin Marlon as a backing singer and Michael as the lead singer. The Jackson 5 were one of the most successful pop groups of the 1970s and their guitar player was Tito Jackson.

What was the Jackson 5 first performance? ›

On December 14, 1969, decked in snazzy outfits, the quintet hit the Sullivan stage to perform “Who's Loving You” and “I Want You Back,” along with a cover version of Sly and the Family Stone's “Stand!” The group, led by Michael Jackson's one-of-a-kind vocals and charismatic presence, delivered a captivating performance ...

What happened to the Jackson 5 when Michael left? ›

The brothers kept the family group – no longer The Jackson 5, but simply the Jacksons – going after Michael's death, going on several tours and also releasing new recordings. Randy, the family's youngest son who replaced Jermaine in the family group in the 1970s, went on to co-found a record label with sister Janet.

Who left the Jackson 5 in 1975? ›

In 1975, the youngest brother Randy Jackson replaced Jermaine when the brothers signed with Epic Records and Jermaine stayed with Motown Records. In 1983, Jermaine returned to the group, but by 1989 Marlon and Michael had already left to focus on their solo careers.

Who signed the Jackson 5 first? ›

Who left the Jackson 5 first? ›

In 1975 the Jackson 5 announced they were breaking their contract with Motown to sign with Epic Records, which they did on March 10, 1976. Jermaine however, who had married Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel, decided to leave the Jackson 5 and stay with Motown.

What is the biggest Motown hit of all time? ›

As mentioned above, Motown's single greatest success on the charts was with 1981's “Endless Love.” This was certified platinum – as such, the RIAA requirement was sales of two million copies -- in October that year, three months after its release and two months after its gold certification for sales of one million.

What is the 1 song of all time? ›

Top 10 songs of all time (1958–2021)
RankSingleYear(s) released
1."Blinding Lights"2019
2."The Twist"1960, 1961 ( re )
4."Mack the Knife"1959
6 more rows

What is the rarest Motown record? ›

There were nine LPs stamped, of which Marvin Gaye (SL 10100, 1964, £225), The Jazz Soul Of Little Stevie (SL 10078, 1964, £150), The Fabulous Miracles (SL 10099, 1964, £150) and Stevie Wonder's Hey, Harmonica Man (SL 10108, 1964, £150) are the rarest but all are tough to find in Mint condition, even the strong-selling ...

Who was Motown's biggest star? ›

Marvin Gaye

Called the “the No. 1 purveyor of soul music,” Marvin Gaye is one of the most influential artists to ever record for Motown Records. Gaye helped shape the sound of Motown in the 1960s, first as an in-house session player and later as a solo artist.

How many top 10 hits did Motown have? ›

From 1961 to 1971, Motown had 110 top 10 hits. Top artists on the Motown label during that period included the Supremes (initially including Diana Ross), the Four Tops, and the Jackson 5, while Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Marvelettes, and the Miracles had hits on the Tamla label.

What was the top selling song for Motown? ›

Marvin Gaye - 'Let's Get It On'

Gaye and Townsend later collaborated on new lyrics, and Gaye transformed the song into an emotional tune about love and sex. The song became the biggest selling Motown hit in the US at the time, selling over two-million copies within the first six weeks.

Who was the biggest selling artist in Motown? ›

Diana Ross and The Supremes were the most successful group or artist in Motown's history by at least one measure — their 12 Billboard No. 1 singles. The trio's run of hits started with 1964's "Where Did Our Love Go" and stretched into the early 1970s.

Who has the most song hits of all time? ›

The Beatles have tallied the most No. 1 hits in the 61-year history of the Hot 100, with 20. Their closest competitor is Mariah Carey, with 18.

What songs spent most time at number 1? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

What is Michael Jackson number 1 selling song? ›

"Thriller" was released in November 1983 and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The single sold 10 million copies in the US alone, making it Jackson's best-selling single.

How many number 1 hits did Michael Jackson have? ›

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, has more No. 1 hits than most artists could ever dream of charting – combined. With 13 No. 1s – and one more to which he contributed vocals – Jackson leads the list of male artists with the most chart-topping hits.

What was Michael Jackson's last hit? ›

Michael Jackson earns his 12th and final solo #1 with “You Are Not Alone

Who is the richest Jackson? ›

Net Worth: $200,000

The oldest of the Jackson brothers, Jackie Jackson has a net worth of $200,000, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Who wrote most of the Jackson 5 hits? ›

Most of the early hits were written and produced by a specialized songwriting team known as "The Corporation"; later Jackson 5 hits were crafted chiefly by Hal Davis, while early Jacksons hits were compiled by the team of Gamble and Huff before The Jacksons began writing and producing themselves in the late 1970s.

Who was more successful Janet or Michael? ›

Michael boasts 13 No. 1s among his 30 top 10s, both higher sums than Janet's respective totals of 10 and 27. (Michael's numbers reflect only his solo career, not the four No. 1s, among 11 top 10s, that he earned as a member of The Jackson 5 and The Jacksons.)

Was Jackson 5 in the 70s? ›

They were a huge child star group in the 1960s and became a huge teen band in the 1970s. They broke up in 1976 and started their own solo careers and Michael Jackson became a huge music hit in the 1980s and the most successful musician of all time!

When was the Jackson 5 biggest hit? ›

The Jackson 5 become a worldwide sensation in 1969 with the release of their first Motown album, 'Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. ' Singles 'I Want You Back' and 'Who's Loving You' go on to sell 2 million copies in 6 weeks.

What song was on the top of the Billboard charts in 1977? ›

Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1977
1"Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright)"Rod Stewart
2"I Just Want to Be Your Everything"Andy Gibb
3"Best of My Love"The Emotions
4"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)"Barbra Streisand
96 more rows

What was the Jackson 5 first Billboard No 1 Hot 100 single? ›

The single that launched one of music's most famous dynasties debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 exactly 48 years ago today. “I Want You Back,” the first Motown single by the Jackson 5, began its journey up the chart dated Nov. 15, 1969.

Who was the most famous of the Jackson 5? ›

Coming in at the tail end of the 1960's, The Jackson 5 ushered Motown into its second decade with a fresh sound and a unique look. The group of five brothers became a pop-music phenomenon, but it was their youngest member, Michael, who would go on to become The King of Pop.

What was the name of the youngest Jackson 5? ›

Randy Jackson facts: Jackson 5 singer's age, wife, children, siblings and career revealed. Randy Jackson is the youngest Jackson brother, and was a member of the Jacksons back in the 1970s and 1980s.

Who was the oldest Jackson 5? ›

Jackie Jackson

The oldest member of the Jackson 5, Jackie was born in 1951.

What was Jackson's first hit? ›

Jackson's first solo entry on the US Billboard Hot 100 songs chart was "Got to Be There", which peaked at number four in 1971. Jackson's first number-one hit on the chart was "Ben", in 1972. Jackson continued to release singles throughout the 1970s.

Which Jackson sold the most records? ›

Michael Jackson's Thriller, estimated to have sold 70 million copies worldwide, is the best-selling album ever.


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