The Jackson 5

Dancing Machine

Song Review by

Since late 1973, the Jackson 5 decided to take a break from sweet ballads like "Corner of the Sky" and began to delve into disco efforts. Their 1973 album Get It Together was filled with innovative, tough tracks. The only thing missing was a big hit, and it turned out there was a major one under Motown's noses. "Dancing Machine" originally appeared on 1973's Get It Together as the last track. By 1974 the buzz created as disco appealed to Berry Gordy's savvy and it was remixed and re-edited. It sounds easy, but the versions are drastically different. The Get It Together version has the quirky clanking sound of a "robot woman" getting ready to assumedly dance. The more known version is just as potent and arguably more to the point. Without the "filler," Michael Jackson's vocal is slightly more prominent in the mix and it has the sound of a hit. Vocal arranger James Anthony Carmichael had zero problems with the then-ever-changing voice of Michael Jackson. After a few attempts from Get It Together that sounded stilted, "Dancing Machine" gets its success by letting Michael Jackson be himself. His voice is full of authority and confidence, youthful but no longer a child. Suddenly him singing "Shake it baby, shake it baby" sounded like the yearning of a teen. The rest of the Jackson 5 held up their end too. The guys do their Temptations-like vocal runs here as the hook that included "Watch her get down, watch her get down..." helped to cause dancefloor hysteria. This track hit the charts number one on the R&B charts and number two on pop.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Disco Nights, Vol. 9: Motown Dance 1995
Various Artists
Rebound Records 3:18
The Ultimate Collection 1995 Motown 2:36
Party Starter Level 1: The Classics 2000
Various Artists
UTV / Polygram 3:19
The Evolution of Soul 2000
Various Artists
Collectables 2:36
Ultimate Disco: 30th Anniversary Collection 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:37
Soul '70s: Boogie Down 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:37