It’s a big deal when a musical group debuts with a number one song. It’s an even bigger deal when the lead singer is only eleven years old. Such was the case back in 1969, when a group of five boys from the little town of Gary, Indiana, hit the airwaves with their debut single, “I Want You Back.” The song went through a few title and lyrical changes before it was recorded, and was originally intended for the Motown group Gladys Knight and The Pips. It was even rumored that Diana Ross might record the song. But in the end, Motown founder Berry Gordy decided to make the tune the major label debut for his new group, The Jackson 5. The decision struck gold for both the boys and the label when it shot to number one on the Billboard Pop chart, landed at number two in the UK, and even had people jamming in the land down under when it made it to number seventy-seven on the Australian chart. Of course, this wouldn’t be the last hit for the Jackson 5. The next Jackson 5 singles to be released–“ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There”–would all hit the top of the charts and go on to be timeless classics. “I Want You Back” has sold six million copies to date. Although it’s been over 40 years since its release, it continues to be a favorite among music lovers young and old around the world.
Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at www.cdbaby.com/cd/montrose, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.