Less than two weeks before the 1960s were left to be deciphered in the history books, Motown unleashed Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 (1969) and in doing so fittingly marked the beginning of a new era in crossover pop and soul. For all intents and purposes, this dozen-song disc introduced the world to the sibling talents of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and most significantly of all, a prepubescent powerhouse named Michael Jackson. The brothers' inextricably tight vocal harmonies were fueled by the ebullience of youth and inexperience while the flames of their collective success were stoked with the funkified vibe of urban America. Immediately evident is the influence that Sly & the Family Stone (whose "Stand!" is an unmitigated zenith in the Jackson 5's care), James Brown, and even Funkadelic had on the J5. In fact, the quintet would actually cover George Clinton's "I Bet You" on their sophomore effort, ABC (1970). The burgeoning sounds coming out of Philly were having a similarly sizable impact, as evidenced by the addition of the Thom Bell/William Hart track "Can You Remember," which is one of the album's highlights. Another discernibly affective force was found closer to home, as they also drew on the considerable Motown back catalog with "My Cherie Amour," "Standing in the Shadows of Love," and a powerful reading of "(I Know) I'm Losing You." Under the moniker of "the Corporation," Motown staffers and artists including Bobby Taylor, instrumentalists Deke Richards (guitar), Freddie Perren (keyboard) , and Fonce Mizell (keyboards), and the label's co-founder, Berry Gordy, came up with a handful of dominant originals. Prominent among them are the midtempo "Nobody" and their double-sided chart-topping single "I Want You Back" b/w the Smokey Robinson-penned "Who's Lovin' You."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer