Dancing Machine

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"Dancing Machine"
Single by the Jackson 5
from the album Get It Together and Dancing Machine
B-side"It's Too Late to Change the Time"
ReleasedFebruary 19, 1974[1]
RecordedApril - May 1973
StudioHitsville West, Los Angeles
GenreDisco, Funk[2]
Length3:30 (album version)
2:43 (single version)
4:25 (alternate version)
M 1286
Producer(s)Hal Davis
The Jackson 5 singles chronology
"Get It Together"
"Dancing Machine"
"Whatever You Got I Want"

"Dancing Machine" is a song recorded by American R&B group the Jackson 5, and was the title track of their ninth studio album. The song was originally recorded for the group's 1973 album G.I.T.: Get It Together and was released as a remix for a response to the success of the single.


The song, which reportedly sold over three million copies,[3] popularized the physically complicated robot dance technique, devised by Charles Washington in the late 1960s. Michael Jackson first performed the dance on television while singing "Dancing Machine" with the Jackson 5 on an episode of Soul Train on November 3, 1973.[4] It was the group's first US top ten hit since 1971's "Sugar Daddy". "Dancing Machine" brought the Jackson 5 their second Grammy Award nomination in 1975 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, losing to Rufus and Chaka Khan's "Tell Me Something Good".



In Canada, "Dancing Machine" went to No. 2 on the RPM 100. In the United States, it hit No. 1 on Cash Box and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, behind "The Streak" by Ray Stevens.[6] In addition, it hit No. 1 on the R&B charts.[7] Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1974.[8]

Samples and cover versions[edit]

"Dancing Machine" was most notably sampled by MC Hammer, on his 1990 album Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em, for "Dancin' Machine". It was also sampled again in 1990 by Vanilla Ice on the album To the Extreme, later by Too $hort (featuring Bun B) on the song "Shout It Out" and by Q-tip on the 2008 album The Renaissance for "Move". Yung Wun sampled it for "Tear It Up" on his album The Dirtiest Thirstiest, in which the sample was uncredited and is taken directly from the film Drumline, when the marching band performed it in medley.

Additionally, the song was covered by Roni Griffith in 1984. Another alternate remix version was released on The Original Soul of Michael Jackson in 1987. It was remixed with extra vocals and many overdubbed instruments, giving it an 80's pop feel rather than a mid 70's disco feel. Paula Abdul covered the song in 1997 as an unreleased demo. It was also covered by Suburban Legends on their Japan-only EP, Dance Like Nobody's Watching: Tokyo Nights. A longer alternate version (4:25) appears on the I Want You Back! Unreleased Masters compilation released in 2009. A remix by Polow da Don was featured in a commercial for Svedka. This version was later released on the 2009 album The Remix Suite. In D-TV, it was set to the Dance of the Hours segment from Fantasia. Justin Timberlake interpolated part of the song (watch her get down, watch her get down) for his 2013 album The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 for "Murder". The song was reworked and covered by English singer Laura Mvula in 2017, with the song produced by Naughty Boy.


  1. ^ Hitsville USA, The Motown Singles Collection, Vol. 2: 1972-1992 (1993), liner notes
  2. ^ "Dancing Machine - the Jackson 5 | Song Info | AllMusic". AllMusic.
  3. ^ Sales statistics for Jackson 5 singles. Retrieved March 17, 2008
  4. ^ "Nov. 3, 1973: The Day 'The Robot' Dance Became Famous [EUR Video Throwback]". EURweb. 2020-11-03. Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  5. ^ Lecocq, Richard; Allard, Francois (2018). Michael Jackson All The Songs. London: Cassell. ISBN 9781788400572.
  6. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. 2 January 2013.
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 287.
  8. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1974
  9. ^ "RPM 100 May 25, 1974" (PDF). RPM. Retrieved 2020-04-11.
  10. ^ "The Jacksons 5 Chart History: Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  11. ^ "The Jackson 5 Chart History: Dance Singles Sales". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-11-09.
  12. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.