The Jackson 5

I'll Be There

Composed by Berry Gordy, Jr. / Bob West / Hal Davis / Willie Hutch

Song Review by

Of all the Jackson 5's hits, none showcased the preternatural brilliance of Michael Jackson quite so perfectly as the 1970 ballad "I'll Be There." Rarely, if ever, had one so young sung with so much authority and grace, investing this achingly tender ballad with wisdom and understanding far beyond his years. At times, "I'll Be There" seems like an encapsulation of Motown history -- Michael's lead eerily recalls his mentor Diana Ross in both tone and phrasing, the harmonies rival those of the Temptations, and the "Just look over your shoulder, honey!" shout at the end is a direct lift from the Four Tops' "Reach Out, I'll Be There" (the song's most obvious thematic inspiration) -- but it never sounds even momentarily derivative.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Third Album 1970 Motown 3:56
The Greatest Hits 1971 Motown 3:56
Anthology [1976] 1976 Motown 3:57
No Image 1979 Motown
12 #1 Hits from the 70's 1982
Various Artists
Motown 3:57
No Image 1983
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1984
Various Artists
Motown
No Image 1990 Motown
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Rhino
The Jacksons: An American Dream 1992 Motown 3:56
Motown: The Hits Collection, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Motown 3:59
Class Reunion 1970: Greatest Hits of 1970 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 3:45
Motown Love Songs: Motown Milestones 1995
Various Artists
Motown 3:45
The Ultimate Collection 1995 Motown 3:58
Now & Then [Original Soundtrack] 1995
Original Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 3:56
No. 1 Classic Soul Album 1995
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:55
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 5 1997
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / PolyGram 3:54
Motown 40 Forever 1998
Various Artists
Motown 3:58
Our Friend Martin 1999
Original Soundtrack
Motown 3:55
Whole Lotta Soul 1970-1971 1999
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 3:45
The Real Thing Series 1999 Motown 3:56
Most Beautiful Melodies of the Century: Just the Way 1999
Various Artists
Inspired Distribution 3:58
Maybe Tomorrow/Skywriter/Third Album 1999 Universal 4:00
Cruizin' to Motown, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Thump Records 3:56
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of the Jackson 5 [Domestic Version] 1999 Motown 3:59
Motown Chartbusters, Vol. 1 - 6 1999
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / Motown 3:54
Free Soul 2000 Motown
Third Album / Maybe Tomorrow 2000 Motown / Universal 3:59
Anthology [2000] 2000 Motown 3:58
Cosmic Grooves: Taurus 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:56
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: Motown 1970s, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Motown 3:57
Motown Chartbusters, Vols. 4-6 2001
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:54
All Music Guide: Motown Memories 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 4:00
A Year in Your Life: 1970, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 3:58
Last Dance [Spectrum] 2002
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:50
100% Motown '70s 2002
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 3:57
Pure Slow Jams 2002
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:57
Absolument 70: International 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:56
Rhythm, Love and Soul: The Sexiest Songs of R&B [WQED] 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution / Shout! Factory 3:59
Rhythm, Love and Soul: The Sexiest Songs of R&B [Shout] 2003
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 3:59
Soul 70's: What's Going On 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:57
Rhythm & Blues Classics: The Best of Rhythm & Blues, Vols. 1 & 2 2003
Various Artists
Brentwood Records 3:58
WCBS FM: Motown, Soul and Rock N Roll: Motown 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 3:57
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Universal Music TV
Motown Greatest Hits 2003
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:53
Super 70's, Vol 2: The Return 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:52
Casey Kasem Presents: America's Top Ten - The 70s #1 Pop Hits 2004
Various Artists
Top Sail Productions 3:57
Best Of Soul [Madacy Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 3:57
Capital Gold Soul Classics 2004
Various Artists
Universal Music TV
Pure Soul [Crimson] 2004
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:56
100 Love Songs 2005
Various Artists
Madacy
Gold 2005 Motown 3:58
Classic Soul: Motown Legends, Vol. 4-5/100% Motown 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 3:58
Ultimate 16: Classic R&B 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:58
Flashback to the 70's [Universal] 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
20th Century Masters: Best of Soul, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 3:59
Express Yourself: Soul In The 20th Century 2006
Various Artists
Um3 / Universal 3:57
#1 R&B Hits [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 3:59
Jackson 5 Story 2006 Universal Distribution 3:59
To Mum Love Motown 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:51
Soul Legends 2006 MSI Music Distribution / Motown 3:53
'70s Soul Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 3:58
Motown: The Ultimate Collection 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
To Go: Stick It in Your Ear 2006 Motown 3:59
Ultimate 16: Ultimate Power of Love 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 3:44
To Mum With Love 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:56
Motown Number 1's, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:56
20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection: The Best of Love R&B Classics 2007
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing / UMVD 3:59
Motown Made to Measure [Kevin Rowland] 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:52
No Image 2007 Spectrum Music 3:58
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:59
Music for Groovin' 2007
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:50
70's, Vol. 3 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
No Image 2007 Barclay 3:59
Best of Motown, Vol. 2 2008
Various Artists
Motown / Universal Distribution 3:54
Top Hits Of The Sixties: Greatest Hits 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 3:57
The 70s Collection 2008
Various Artists
Brunswick 3:59
The Ultimate Collection 100 Hits: Love 2008
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:55
The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970 2008
Various Artists
Hip-O Select 3:43
Soulful Expression of 70's R&B 2008
Various Artists
Rolling Stone 3:56
Jackie: The Album, Vol. 2 2008
Various Artists
Virgin 3:51
Motown 50 Fanthology 2008
Various Artists
Motown / Strategic Marketing 3:57
Motown: The Complete No. 1's 2008
Various Artists
Motown / Island/Def Jam / Universal Music 3:56
The Best of 1970: 20th Century Masters 2008
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing 3:56
Love Songs 2009 Motown 3:58
Time to Say Goodbye: 40 Timeless Classics for Moments of Reflection 2009
Various Artists
Decca 3:58
Motown 50 Essentials Box 2009
Various Artists
Motown / Universal
Icons 2009 Universal Distribution 3:57
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 3:58
Motown 50 Fanthology 2009
Various Artists
Motown 3:57
Motortown Review 2009
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:44
Motown 50: Love 2009
Various Artists
Universal 3:57
Sweet Soul of the '70s: Just to Be Close to You 2009
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:54
J Is for Jackson 5 2010 Motown 3:58
Total Motown 2010
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:00
Live at the Forum 2010 Hip-O Select / IMS / Strategic Marketing 4:03
Icon 2 2010 Motown 3:59
4 CD Originals 2010 Universal Distribution / Universal Music 3:59
Songs About Love 2010
Various Artists
Universal Music 3:57
Sweet Soul of the '70s [Time Life] 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:54
Smooth Soul [Time Life] 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:59
Motown Anthems 2012
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:57
Motown the Musical: Originals – The Classic Songs That Inspired the Broadway Show 2013
Various Artists
Motown / Universal 3:59
Motown the Musical: 100 Originals 2013
Various Artists
Cobalt Helladisc / Universal Music 3:58
202 Motown Songs: The Complete #1's
Various Artists
Island/Def Jam / Universal Music 3:56
A  Motown Thanksgiving Celebration
Various Artists
Strategic Marketing 3:58
No Image
Various Artists
Motown 3:15
No Image
Various Artists
Motown
High Society: We Got the Soul
Various Artists
Universal
I am in Love
Various Artists
Polystar / Universal 3:55
Introduction to the Motown Elite 9000 Series
Various Artists
Motown 3:56
No Image Motown 3:58
No Image
Various Artists
Universal 4:00
Mother's Love Songs, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Universal 3:58
Motown Gold: The 1970s
Various Artists
Universal
No Image
Various Artists
PolyGram
Puppy Love [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 3:57
No Image Universal 3:57
The Midnight Hour: The 20 Sexiest Hits of All Time
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:54
The Motown Story
Various Artists
Universal 3:57
No Image Universal 4:00
Time to Say Goodbye 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
blue highlight denotes editor's pick