G.I.T.: Get It Together
|G.I.T.: Get It Together|
|Studio album by The Jackson 5|
|Released||September 12, 1973|
|Recorded||April – July 1973|
|Genre||Soul, funk, disco|
|Producer||Hal Davis and Norman Whitfield|
|The Jackson 5 chronology|
|Singles from G.I.T.: Get It Together|
During the group's last years with Motown, the label struggled to come up with material for the group. As a result, the Jackson 5 fell into a period from 1973 to 1974 where they scored no Top 10 singles. By this point, most of the Jackson 5's members, and their manager/father Joseph Jackson, were vocally complaining about the group's direction, with Michael Jackson becoming the most vocal. The only member not to complain about Motown's handling of the act was Jermaine Jackson, who would marry Motown head Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel three months after the release of the album. G.I.T.: Get It Together would go on to sell over two million copies worldwide.
G.I.T.: Get It Together was the first album to feature Michael Jackson's noticeable growth spurt. Now aged 15 and with a slightly deeper singing voice, the overall sound of the group changed as well. With Michael Jackson now a full-fledged tenor, the young boys who first came on the scene with "I Want You Back" just four years earlier were becoming men. The high notes that only Michael could hit were retired. It was also on this album that Jackson first employed what would later be known as his "vocal hiccup", notably on the song "It's Too Late to Change the Time". As Motown frowned on any sort of control being relinquished to the group, Jackson semi-retired the hiccup until his solo career at Epic Records began in earnest with Off the Wall.
Get It Together was one of the earliest albums to experiment with a pre-disco sound, released at a time before the genre was mainstream. The album was a breakaway from the group's bubblegum soul sound as they came up with a more funk-oriented album similar to The Temptations' Norman Whitfield-produced albums. Two of Whitfield's Temptations songs—"You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You)" and "Hum Along and Dance"— appeared on Get It Together.
The sequence of songs was also carefully arranged for Get It Together. There was no silence separating one song from the other. Each track flowed together thematically, a technique borrowed from Stevie Wonder's landmark album Music of My Mind, released the year prior.
The title track, "Get It Together", was a modest pop hit for the group reaching #28, while the album-closing "Dancing Machine" became a smash pop hit, reaching #2 on the pop chart and briefly restoring the Jackson 5 back to their former success.
Get It Together was also the first Jackson 5 album to feature all five Jackson brothers sharing lead vocals, giving the album a more group unified aura. Marlon, in particular, is prominently featured on "Mama I Gotta Brand New Thing (Don't Say No)" and Jackie and Tito lead the brothers through "Hum Along and Dance". In addition, the album did not feature production or songwriting from any of the now-disbanded Corporation. Motown head Berry Gordy, a member of the Corporation, was busy expanding his Motown empire into movie ventures, mostly starring Diana Ross.
"Hum Along and Dance"
The group's cover of Whitfield's "Hum Along and Dance", an eight-minute epic and the closer of Side One (when originally issued on vinyl), is regarded as the definitive version of Whitfield's song. The Jackson 5's rendition is stylistically similar to the version recorded by the band Rare Earth, and features nearly the same arrangement with more of an electric funk sound added to the mix. A bewildered Michael Jackson is heard asking, upon hearing the song's chorus, "ain't no words? What you mean?" Tito replies by reiterating Gil Bridges' reasoning: "we ain't have time to write none". Jackie is heard both answering and telling Michael what to do.
The lead vocals are primarily handled by Jackie and Tito, with Jermaine, Michael, and Marlon appearing towards the end. Although the Jackson brothers are heard yelling out "play it, Tito" and "play it, Jermaine", the actual instrumentalists on the track were Los Angeles studio players.
- "Get It Together" (Hal Davis, Don Fletcher, Berry Gordy, Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino) a, b – 2:48
- "Don't Say Goodbye Again" (Pam Sawyer, Leon Ware) a – 3:24
- "Reflections" (originally by Diana Ross & the Supremes) (Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland, Jr., Brian Holland) a, b – 2:58
- "Hum Along and Dance" (originally by The Temptations) (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) a, b, c, d, e – 8:37
- "Mama I Gotta Brand New Thing (Don't Say No)" (Norman Whitfield) a, b, c, d, e – 7:11
- "It's Too Late to Change the Time" (Pam Sawyer, Leon Ware) a – 3:57
- "You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You)" (originally by Gladys Knight & the Pips and The Temptations) (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) a, b – 3:45
- "Dancing Machine" (Hal Davis, Don Fletcher, Dean Parks) a, b – 3:27
In 2001, Motown Records remastered all J5 albums in a "Two Classic Albums/One CD" series (much like they did in the late 1980s). This album was paired up with Skywriter. The bonus tracks were the outtakes "Pride and Joy", "Love's Gone Bad" and "Love Is the Thing You Need". "Love Is the Thing You Need" and "Pride and Joy" were released on Joyful Jukebox Music in 1976, and "Love's Gone Bad" was released on Boogie in 1979.
- The Sound of Young America: Motown Year-By-Year 1973 (1995), liner notes
- Allmusic review
- Chery, Carl: XXL: Michael Jackson Special Collecters Edition, page 100. American Press.
- The Complete Guide To The Music of Michael Jackson & The Jackson Family by Geoff Brown. 164 pages, Omnibus Press