eMusic Review 0
Motown was ailing in the late '60s. Losing Holland-Dozier-Holland was only part of it; many of its stars had grown restless — not least David Ruffin, who left the Temptations for a solo career in 1969, and Marvin Gaye — and the pop landscape the label had ridden so effortlessly in the decade's middle was now undergoing massive upheavals. The label struggled to keep up, though it still scored plenty of hits. Nevertheless, new blood was needed, and in 1969, off a tip from Gladys Knight, Motown signed its newest blood since Stevie Wonder — the teenage Jackson 5, from Gary, Indiana, already local stage veterans, fronted by a bionic 11-year-old named Michael.
Berry Gordy marshaled all his team's efforts into the early J5 singles — listen to The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 10: 1970 sometime if you doubt it. Not that anybody who heard "I Want You Back" (late '69), "ABC," "The Love You Save," and "I'll Be There" could have doubted it for a second. Gordy knew he had a superstar on his hands: Michael was cute, full of energy, and had an unnervingly mature way about him both onstage and in the recording studio. He exuded… read more »