Jackson 5 – I Want You Back

All I have to hear is the intro and I always finish the complete song. The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in the UK.

This was written by a team of Motown writers called The Corporation. The head of the label, Berry Gordy, was one of the writers. They were based in California, unlike most Motown writers who were in the Detroit offices.

Michael Jackson reminded Berry Gordy of Frankie Lymon, another teenage star. Gordy helped write this as if he was writing for Lymon. The song was originally envisioned as a vehicle for Gladys Knight but Berry saw it as a way to break the Jackson’s into the charts.

From Songfacts

This was the first Jackson 5 single released by Motown Records. It launched their career and went to #1 in the US, as did their next three releases: “ABC,” “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There.”

Michael Jackson sang lead. He was 11 years old and the youngest of the group. There was one younger Jackson brother named Randy, who replaced Jermaine in the group in 1977.

The original title was “I Want To Be Free.” It was Gordy’s idea to change it to “I Want You Back” and make it more of a love song.

This was intended for Gladys Knight & The Pips, and at one point Diana Ross was going to record it, but Berry Gordy decided to change the title and some of the lyrics and use it for his newly signed group of boys, the Jackson 5.

Gordy went out of his way to make this a hit. He was very high on The Jackson 5 and felt they were the perfect group to prove that Motown could continue its success through the ’70s. At the time, this was the most expensive Motown single ever recorded.

When this topped the Hot 100, the 11-year-old Michael Jackson became the youngest person to feature in an American #1.

Two popular songs sampled this in 2001: Jay Z used it on “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and it was also used on Lil’ Romeo’s “My Baby.” In 1992, it was sampled on the Kris Kross hit “Jump.”

The sci-fi soul singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe covered this as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of her The Electric Lady album. She explained to A.V.Club that she chose this particular tune as it resonated with her. “There are so many amazing Michael Jackson songs from different stages of his career,” she said, “and that happened to be one of my favorite stages. It makes people happy, and I love the tone, and musically, it has a lot of places to go for our orchestra. It has a lot of odd instrumentation.”

“The version I did does not sound like the Jackson 5 original recording,” Monáe continued. “I wanted to interpret it my way and record it differently, while continuing to pay homage to him, but I saw it in a different light. I’m really excited to let you guys hear it because you’ll get a chance to hear that song from my perspective. I had a dream about it and how I wanted it to be recorded.”

This song appears in the films Now and Then (1995), Drumline (2002), Daddy Day Care (2003) and Friends with Benefits (2011). It also plays under the end credits of the 2014 movie Guardians Of The Galaxy and is included on the soundtrack, which was a #1 hit in America for two weeks.

I Want You Back

When I had you to myself, I didn’t want you around
Those pretty faces always make you stand out in a crowd
But someone picked you from the bunch, one glance is all it took
Now it’s much too late for me to take a second look

Oh baby, give me one more chance
(To show you that I love you)
Won’t you please let me back in your heart
Oh darlin’, I was blind to let you go
(Let you go, baby)
But now since I’ve seen you it is on
(I want you back)
Oh I do now
(I want you back)
Ooh ooh baby
(I want you back)
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
(I want you back)
Na na na na

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 ya now
Oh baby, all I need is one more chance
(To show you that I love you)
Won’t you please let me back in your heart
Oh darlin’, I was blind to let you go
(Let you go, baby)
But now since I’ve seen you it is on

All I want
All I need
All I want!
All I need!

Oh, just one more chance
To show you that I love you
Baby baby baby baby baby baby!
(I want you back)
Forget what happened then
(I want you back)
And let me live again!

Oh baby, I was blind to let you go
But now since I’ve seen you it is on
(I want you back)
Spare me of this cost
(I want you back)
Give me back what I lost!

Oh baby, I need one more chance, hah
I’d show you that I love you
Baby, oh! Baby, oh! Baby, oh!
I want you back!
I want you back!

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Jackson 5 – I Want You Back”

  1. Cute song. I actually quite like the Jackson 5… seemingly completely out of tune with the “masses” the older Michael got, the less I liked his music. But that’s just me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Liked MJ’s music with his brothers and also when he ventured off on his own- to a point . THRILLER was such a huge album, but after that, he went bonkers. The latest documentary on him — LEAVING NEVERLAND shows how sick he really was.


    Liked by 2 people

      1. I don’t have HBO so haven’t seen it, but I don’t know anyway. I’ve always suspected the rumors to be true, but he’s not here now to defend himself. Unlike Streisand ,LOL who says she believes the boys but who cares? Jackson had needs…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea I where there is this much smoke… there is fire.
        I read that about Streisand… whew I can’t believe it didn’t get more attention.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the Jackson 5 songs, including this one. Once Michael went solo and started with the skin bleaching, plastic surgery, and sensory deprivation tanks, he became more of a spectacle/oddity than a musician. I believe he was insane, a pedophile, and a danger to young children. Any parent who let their child near him is just as guilty as he is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea the older he got the less I liked him. I think his voice got higher lol…
      Yes there is no way I would have…where there is smoke…usually there is fire.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He probably had plastic surgery on his vocal chords also! I don’t want to see the latest HBO special. Last time I was at the hairdressers I read an issue of People Mag on the doc, where two of his victims gave interviews. There is no way those guys are lying. They were just two of many 😦

        Liked by 1 person

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