I Want You Back
|"I Want You Back"|
Germany vinyl single
|Single by The Jackson 5|
|from the album Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5|
|B-side||"Who's Lovin' You"|
|Released||October 7, 1969 (U.S.)|
|Format||Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)|
|Recorded||July 1969 The Sound Factory, West Hollywood|
|The Jackson 5 singles chronology|
"I Want You Back" was the first national single of the Jackson 5. It was released on October 7, 1969 and became the first number-one hit for the band and the Motown label on 31 January 1970. It was performed on the band's first television appearances, on October 18, 1969 on Diana Ross's The Hollywood Palace and on their milestone performance on December 14, 1969 on the The Ed Sullivan Show.
The song, along with a B-side remake of "Who's Lovin' You" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, was the only single used in the Jackson 5's first album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. It went to number one on the Soul singles chart for four weeks and held the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending January 31, 1970. "I Want You Back" was ranked 121st on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Originally considered for Gladys Knight & the Pips and later for Diana Ross, as "I Wanna Be Free", "I Want You Back" explores the theme of a lover who decides that he was too hasty in dropping his partner. An unusual aspect about "I Want You Back" was that its main lead vocal was performed by a tween, Michael Jackson.
"I Want You Back" was released on October 7, 1969 and was the first Jackson 5 single to be released by Motown and the first song written and produced by The Corporation, a team comprising Motown chief Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell, and Deke Richards. It also is the first of four Jackson 5 number-ones released in a row (the others being "ABC" – 1970, "The Love You Save" – 1970, and "I'll Be There" – 1970) and the first Jackson 5 song recorded in Los Angeles, California; the quintet had previously been recording Bobby Taylor-produced remakes of other artists' hits, including "Who's Lovin' You", the B-side to "I Want You Back", at Hitsville U.S.A. in Detroit, Michigan. The "I Want You Back" bassline is considered by many as the greatest of all time[by whom?] and thus has sparked many debates about who played the bass during the recording. Famously The Funk Brothers were Motown's backup musicians and after the company's relocation to Los Angeles band members changed. Many tend to believe that it was James Jamerson who played the bass during recording but he was most active from 1962-1968. During the later years of his career Jamerson had grown unreliable due to substance abuse. Most evidence suggest that a new member of the Funk Brothers, Wilton Felder, was the bassist.
Although Gladys Knight had been the first to mention the Jacksons to Berry Gordy, and Bobby Taylor brought the Jackson brothers to Motown, Motown credited Diana Ross with discovering them. This was done not only to help promote the Jackson 5, but also to help ease Ross' transition into a solo career, which she began in 1970 soon after the Jackson 5 became a success.
The Jackson 5 performed "I Want You Back" during all of their world tours, either as a full song or as a part of the Jackson 5 Medley in concerts (which also included "ABC" and "Mama's Pearl", later on switched with "The Love You Save" in 1973). During their second-ever television appearance (in an episode of The Hollywood Palace hosted by Diana Ross & the Supremes), the Jackson 5 performed "I Want You Back" along with Sly & the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song," The Delfonics' "Can You Remember," and James Brown's "There Was a Time". They also performed the song on American Bandstand and the Andy Williams Show.
Michael Jackson performed the song as part of the "Jackson 5 Medley" (which also included the songs "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There") during all of his world tours - the Bad World Tour, the Dangerous World Tour and the HIStory World Tour. The song was to be performed at Jackson's This Is It comeback concerts in London, which were cancelled due to his death. The song was performed live at the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special in 2001, in which Jackson reunited with his brothers on stage for the first time since 1984.
Reception and legacy
In 2006, Pitchfork Media named it the second best song of the 1960s, adding that the chorus contains "possibly the best chord progression in pop music history." A June 2009 article by The Daily Telegraph called it "arguably the greatest pop record of all time". Digital Spy called the song "one of the most enduring pop singles of the sixties".
"I Want You Back" has long been considered one of the most sampled songs in all of Hip hop music. The song has been sampled over 60 times since its release in 1969. Prominent artists such as Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G. and Justin Bieber have all used parts of the song producing some of their biggest hits. The song is also considered to have one of the greatest chord progressions in Pop music.
- Michael Jackson – lead vocals
- Tito Jackson – vocals
- Jackie Jackson – vocals
- Jermaine Jackson – vocals
- Marlon Jackson – vocals
- Johnny Jackson - drums
- Gene Pello – drums 
- Freddie Perren - piano
- Fonce Mizell - piano
- Louis Shelton – guitar
- David T. Walker - guitar
- Wilton Felder – bass guitar
- Don Peake – bass guitar (doubling the bass line)[better source needed]
- Ronnie Rancifer – piano, keyboards
- In 2018, South Korean girl group Twice recorded their own version of "I Want You Back" as a promotional single and theme song to the Japanese film adaptation of Sensei Kunshu. It was digitally released on June 15, along with the music video.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
- "Danish single certifications – The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back". IFPI Denmark.
- "British single certifications – The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type I Want You Back in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "American single certifications – The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
- Herman, Tamar. "Twice Releases '50s Themed Music Video For Remake of Jackson 5's 'I Want You Back': Watch". Billboard. Billboard Music. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- "World Digital Song Sales". Billboard Biz. Billboard. Retrieved July 31, 2018. (Subscription required (help)).