"Who's Lovin' You" is a Motown soul song, written in 1960 by William "Smokey" Robinson. The song has been recorded by many different artists including The Miracles, who recorded the 1960 original version, The Temptations, The Supremes, Terence Trent-D'arby, Brenda and The Tabulations, John Farnham, Human Nature, En Vogue, and Michael Buble. The most famous version is attributed to The Jackson 5. Twelve year old singer Shaheen Jafargholi performed the song at Michael Jackson's public memorial service in July 2009.
The song was written by Smokey Robinson for his group The Miracles, who recorded the song in 1960 for their first Motown album, Hi... We're the Miracles. The song is a lamentation about an ex-lover, reminiscing on how their relationship went sour and wondering who's loving them now. A showcase for vocal runs, "Who's Lovin' You" was issued as a b-side to their first Motown hit, "Shop Around" (the label's first million-selling hit single), and remained one of their most popular songs (becoming a strong regional hit in many areas of the country). During the 1960s, virtually every major Motown act, from The Supremes to the Temptations to Brenda Holloway, recorded a remake of the song.
Brenda & the Tabulations version 
Though today this version is relatively obscure compared to others like those of The Miracles and The Jackson 5, it is to date the only one to place on the Billboard Hot 100. Released in 1967 on Dionn 501, Brenda & the Tabulations took this song to position #66. It was also a #19 hit on Billboard's R&B chart. The gender of the lyrics was amended to fit the female vocalist.
Chart history 
Jackson 5 version 
The most famous cover of "Who's Lovin' You", and the one most future covers were based upon, was recorded on August 7, 1969 by The Jackson 5. Michael Jackson was the lead singer on this recording, with his brothers Marlon, Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie on background vocals; Bobby Taylor of The Vancouvers served as producer. The Jackson 5 version of "Who's Lovin' You" was one of a number of early recordings the group made at the Hitsville U.S.A. recording studio in Detroit, Michigan, with the Funk Brothers on instrumentation. Just after recording this song, Berry Gordy moved the entire Jackson family to Los Angeles, California to record the hit pop songs he would co-write for the group with The Corporation.
The song was issued as the b-side to The Jackson 5's first single, "I Want You Back", with a full version included on the first Jackson 5 LP, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. The single went to #1 on both the pop and R&B charts. An alternate take featuring fewer backing vocals was released on Michael's Love Songs compilation release in 2002.
The Jackson 5 performed this on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance.
A live version was released as a promo single in 1992 to compliment the soundtrack to The Jacksons: An American Dream. The recording was an outtake from the Going Back to Indiana concert in 1971.
Promo single 
- "Live" Radio Edit - 3:45
- "Live" Album Version - 5:40
- Original Version - 3:45
Chart Performance 
On March 2, 2009, the song debuted at No. 54 in UK Official Singles Chart, and peaked at No.36 in July 2009.
Lauryn Hill version 
In 1988, 13-year-old Lauryn Hill appeared as an Amateur Night contestant on It's Showtime at the Apollo. Hill sang her own version of William "Smokey" Robinson's song "Who's Lovin' You?". As she began the song, the crowd began to 'boo' at Hill. A nervous Hill sang with the microphone far away from her mouth and was heckled at first; but she persisted and finished her song to standing applause, though she did not win.
En Vogue version 
En Vogue's cover of "Who's Lovin' You" was attached to the beginning of their first single, "Hold On" (1990), which was written as an answer song to Robinson's composition. The idea was born when, while the ladies were practicing the song in producer Denzil Foster's car, when he accidentally turned on a drum machine, creating an interesting juxtaposition of old school hip hop and new jack swing.
The opening section of "Hold On", released as the group's first single, was an a cappella version of the song's first verse. Once the ladies reach the line "and I wonder/who's lovin' you", a drum machine kicks in and starts a new jack swing beat, over which "Hold On" is delivered. "Hold On" was the anchor of En Vogue's first album, Born to Sing, which eventually went platinum.
Terence Trent D'Arby version 
Terence Trent D'Arby ended his 1987 debut album Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby with a cover of "Who's Lovin' You". The album earned D'Arby a Grammy award the following year.
Performing Personnel 
- Lead vocals by Brenda Payton
- Background vocals by Eddie Jackson, Maurice Coates and Jerry Jones
A Tribute to Michael Jackson version* 
(*) Instrumentation on these versions performed by The Funk Brothers.
See also