Who's Lovin' You

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"Who's Lovin' You"
Single by The Miracles
from the album Hi, We're the Miracles
A-side"Shop Around"
ReleasedSeptember 27, 1960
T 54034
Songwriter(s)William "Smokey" Robinson
The Miracles singles chronology
"Shop Around"
"Who's Lovin' You"
"Ain't It Baby"
"Who's Lovin' You"
Song by The Supremes
from the album Meet The Supremes
ReleasedJuly 21, 1961 (as a B-side to "Buttered Popcorn"); December 9, 1962 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Smokey Robinson
Producer(s)Berry Gordy Jr.
"Who's Lovin' You"
Song by The Temptations
from the album The Temptations Sing Smokey
ReleasedMarch 22, 1965
RecordedMay 7, 1964
Songwriter(s)Smokey Robinson
Producer(s)Smokey Robinson
"Who's Lovin' You"
Single by Brenda and The Tabulations
from the album Dry Your Eyes
A-side"Stay Together Young Lovers"
D 501
Songwriter(s)William "Smokey" Robinson
Producer(s)Bob Finiz
Brenda and The Tabulations singles chronology
"Dry Your Eyes"
"Who's Lovin' You"
"Just Once in a Lifetime"

"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, Michael Bublé and Giorgia Todrani and Jessica Mauboy. The most famous version is attributed to The Jackson 5. Shaheen Jafargholi, then twelve years old, performed the song at Michael Jackson's public memorial service in July 2009.

The Miracles original version[edit]

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.[1] 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),[2] 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[edit]

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.[3] The gender of the lyrics was amended to fit the female vocalist.

Chart history[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart 66
U.S. Billboard Top Selling R&B Singles 19

Jackson 5 version[edit]

"Who's Lovin' You"
1992 promo single
Single by The Jackson 5
from the album Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5
A-side"I Want You Back"
ReleasedOctober 7, 1969
RecordedJuly 29 and August 7, 1969
StudioHitsville USA (Studio A)
  • 4:01 (album version)
  • 4:20 (single version)
Songwriter(s)William "Smokey" Robinson
Producer(s)Bobby Taylor
The Jackson 5 singles chronology
"Big Boy"
"I Want You Back" / "Who's Lovin' You"

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", which went to #1 on both the pop and R&B charts. A shortened version was included on the first Jackson 5 LP, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. The original single version was twenty seconds longer, with fewer backing vocals and sparser instrumentation than the album version. The mono single mix was released on Michael's Love Songs compilation release in 2002.

The Jackson 5 performed this on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance.[4]

When the group performed the song during their concerts and live performances, Michael usually gave an intro about being really young but knowing about the blues, usually stating how he met the girl during sandbox and sharing cookies, and ended in "I stepped up to her and i said..." the song started from there. In their first concert in Philadelphia, it (along with "I Want You Back") caused the show to be stopped for several minutes because of such a huge response from the audience. It was a regularly performed/popular song in their set-list from 1970 to early 1972, presumably dropped from the set because of more hits being released and Michael's voice beginning to change in 1972.

The song was remixed by No ID for the 2009 release The Remix Suite.

Chart performance[edit]

On May 2, 2009, the song debuted at No. 54 in UK Official Singles Chart, and peaked at No.36 in July 2009.[5]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[6] Silver 250,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Lauryn Hill version[edit]

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.[7]

En Vogue version[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Teodora Sava version[edit]

The song was performed live by Teodora Sava (15 years old at that time) in the auditions of X Factor Romania 2017. Her performance got a standing ovation from the judges and audience, and 4 Yes, making the judges say that they haven't heard such a rendition for years, and that she was a serious candidate for winning the song contest that year. Her performance triggered positive reactions online, with several hundred thousands views on YouTube.[8]

Performing personnel[edit]

The Miracles version*[edit]

The Supremes version*[edit]

The Temptations version*[edit]

Brenda & the Tabulations version[edit]

  • Lead vocals by Brenda Payton
  • Background vocals by Eddie Jackson, Maurice Coates and Jerry Jones

The Jackson 5 version*[edit]

En Vogue version (intro to Hold On)[edit]

A Tribute to Michael Jackson version*[edit]

(*) Instrumentation on these versions performed by the Funk Brothers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eder, Bruce. Hi... We're The Miracles at AllMusic
  2. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 1: 1959-1961 [CD liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 77.
  4. ^ "Who's Lovin' You by The Jackson 5 Songfacts". www.songfacts.com.
  5. ^ "Jackson 5 UK Singles Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  6. ^ "British single certifications – Jackson 5 – Who's Lovin' You". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  7. ^ "Lauryn Hill, "Who's Lovin' You," Showtime at the Apollo Amateur Night, 1987". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13.
  8. ^ "Jackson 5 - Who's loving you. Vezi aici cum cântă Teodora Sava, la X Factor!" (in Romanian). youtube.com. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  9. ^ Jamerson, James (1989). Standing in the Shadows of Motown: The Life and Music of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson. Winona: Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-88188-882-9.