I Want You Back – 40 Years Later

On October 7, 1969, producer Berry Gordy and Motown Records released “I Want You Back”, the first single off the inaugural album of The Jackson 5 entitled “Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5.” The song was an instant hit, going to number 1 on the U.S. charts (knocking the Beatles’ hit “Let It Be” out of the top spot), and selling over 4 million copies around the world. In December of that same year, when the album was finally released, it landed in the number 5 spot on the U.S. charts, but “I Want You Back” would be the only singles hit off their first album.

I was 14 years old and I remember the local rock n’ roll radio station played it as often as I suppose the FCC would allow. I bought the 45 single and then the album. I wish I still had them today. That song, which kicked off a string of number 1 hits for the brother group, is probably my favorite Jackson 5 song of all time. The first piano chord riff grabbed my attention and the following bass guitar line held it throughout the song while Michael sang like few 11 year-olds ever would.

Today, 40 years later, the previously unreleased Jackson 5 song “That’s How Love Is” went on sale exclusively through iTunes and is the first single from “I Want You Back! Unreleased Masters”, a Jackson 5 album collection of 12 tracks recorded by the group between 1969 and 1974. They’ve been sitting in the Motown vault all these years (along with enough songs for 4 more albums), deemed unworthy of release until now, following the death of Michael Jackson. The album is scheduled to be released on November 10, 2009.

I’ll admit I’m torn. I stopped caring anything about Michael Jackson following the accusations, not once but twice, of child molestation. But I still like listening to Jackson 5 songs and some of MJ’s earlier stuff. I would probably like the style of these unreleased songs. But do I want to feed the machine?

What do you think?

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