I’ve recently taken the time and effort to purchase all of The Jackson 5 and Jacksons albums on CD. It has been almost 20 years since I last listened to several of these albums and I must say that more than a few still hold up as great music today.
To get a bit of history out of the way for the uninformed. The Jackson 5 first signed with Motown records in the summer of 1969. The deal was actually struck in November of 1968, but Motown had to buy out The Jackson 5’s deal with Gary, Indiana based Steeltown records before they could begin recording for Motown. The buy out was finalized in March of 1969 and recording began that summer. While at Motown, The Jackson 5 recorded 12 albums (plus one greatest hits collection), Michael recorded 4 albums (plus one greatest hits collection), Jackie recorded 1 album and Jermaine recorded 9 albums (2 while his brothers were still with Motown and 7 after they left Motown). In 1976 in an effort to have more creative control over their music, Michael, Marlon, Randy, Jackie and Tito signed with CBS/Epic records and Jermaine remained with Motown.
Renamed The Jacksons, the brothers released another 7 albums. The group officially disbanded in 1990. Michael, of course, went on to bigger heights as a solo artist with the release of the 1979 masterpiece Off The Wall. However, The Jacksons also release two albums that are considered masterpieces. The 1978 release Destiny and the 1980 release Triumph. Both albums are now considered classic albums and have received anniversary edition releases on CD.
I’ve been collecting Jacksons music since about 1984. It all began with my first purchase of The Jackson 5 album Lookin’ Through The Windows. To this very day, that album is still my favorite Jackson 5 album. I spent most of the late 80s and early 90s completely immersed in Jacksons music. I would guess that by 1987, I had managed to find every Michael Jackson, Jackson 5, Jacksons, and Jermaine Jackson albums. True, there were a couple that still seemed to elude me, but I was actively seeking them at all costs. Around that same time, I started to do some serious research on the Jackson family and their musical legacy. I discovered several songs and performances that appeared on other albums (mostly movie soundtracks). Of course, that became the next phase of my collection. These ‘odd’ recordings would take me years to track down and acquire. Some, like the Steeltown singles, I wouldn’t have in my hands until the next century, but in the end I would obtain them.
So, long before the days of the Internet, I used to haul my cookies to record shows, used record stores (usually all over the country) in the search for those ever elusive recordings. With the advent of the Internet, the few recordings that I still hadn’t tracked down I found easily in places like eBay and Amazon. Now, I believe that I have every officially released recording by Michael, Marlon, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Randy. And just for the record, while I do collect the sisters (Janet, LaToya and Rebbie) albums, they are not the main focus of my collection. It started with the brothers and they are what I am the most interested in. And just for the record, there are a few of LaToya’s albums that I don’t have and at least one of Rebbie’s. Additionally, Janet has recorded several songs with other artists that do not appear on her albums and I don’t have those songs in my collection. I also know that several of Janet’s albums contain additional songs that were released overseas but do not appear on the US versions of those same albums. Those songs are also not contained within my collection. Let’s face it, after a while it just got to be too much to keep up with all nine Jacksons and their various recordings. So, I just kept my focus on the brothers.
What I’d like to do at this point is give a few helpful hints and suggestions to other collectors. This first of two blogs will concentrate on the 70s output of Jacksons music. Keep in mind, that any collection depends on the particular taste of the collector and may or may not reflect everything that may be available out there to collect. For example, I know of several collectors that wish to have every version of say the single, Beat It, that was released all over the world. I have never really been one to collect picture sleeves nor have I felt the need to have a single for a song that is already on an album that I own. Also, 12” singles and various remixes have never been a great focus for me. Now I do like to have the 12” singles that were released to DJs in the 70’s just because I ike having the disco versions of the songs, but they are not something that I actively seek out. Plus, in the 70s, the 12” version of a particular song was just the album version pressed on 12” single so to me they just never really added all that much to my collection.
Also, I am dividing this blog into two sections. The Motown years and the CBS years and it will stop with the 1980 release of the Triumph album. All of the albums discussed here will be the original US releases unless specifically noted.
The Motown Years (1970-75)
Ok, collecting The Jackson 5, Jermaine, Michael and Jackie albums from the Motown years is not an easy thing. First of all, I like to have original release copies of all of the albums (and I am talking vinyl albums) in my collection. Mainly because the vinyl used in the early 70s was still of good quality and the albums sound better and are much more sturdy. Additionally, over the years certain aspects of the albums changed. Certain albums that were released and gatefold albums changed to non gatefold albums. More on this later. Finally, original release versions of the early Motown albums is problematic just due to the way they were constructed. More often than not, the early album covers were made of thicker cardboard with the paper picture wrapped over the cardboard. Then the back picture was glued on to cover up the folded over sections of the front picture. This is the most distinguishing characteristic of the early albums and it makes them easier to spot. The only real drawback to these early covers is the fact that the covers tend to show wear and tear much easier than later versions. In my search I was able to find several original release copies of The Jackson 5 Third Album, but the covers were really worn and haggard so I kept looking until I found an almost pristine copy of the album.
The nice thing about Motown was that they kept almost all of their entire catalog of past albums in print. Some, like certain Supremes albums, had been in print for close to 20 years or more before they made the switch to CD. So, the albums on vinyl are readily available and easy to track down. Original release versions on the other hand are not so easy to find. Of the Jackson 5 albums, The Christmas Album, Goin’ Back To Indiana, Third Album and Moving Violation are perhaps the most difficult to track down. I searched for years to find an original release of Moving Violation. Now since 90% of the Motown catalog was in print until around until the late 80s or early 90s, these versions are easy to spot. They all have a little white box on the back that lists the original release dates. So, if any Motown album in your collection has this white box, then you have a re-release copy of that album. It should be noted that these white boxes didn’t start appearing on reprint albums until the 80s.
The major drawback to having most of the Motown catalog in print for so many years, is that Motown usually didn’t take the time or effort to strike new masters for pressing. The overall sound quality of later Motown albums tend to suffer from the loss of some of the lower and higher end frequencies. So, the sound is not a crisp and sharp as it once was and some of the more softer instruments and vocals tend to have just faded away. This is the main reason that I chose to only have original release versions of The Jackson 5 albums in my collection. I waned the full spectrum of the music as it was heard when it was first released.
Motown did do a few special things with some of The Jackson 5 albums that should be noted. The albums Maybe Tomorrow and Goin’ Back to Indiana are gatefold albums. Both were later re-released as single non gatefold albums. Also, the Maybe Tomorrow album contained a unique inner sleeve that had lots of J5 merchandise like stickers, pictures, posters, magazines (TCB the official magazine of the J5) and offers to join the fan clubs for each of the boys in the group. Some of the prices for these items is really a gas to see. 25 cents for 100 heart shaped stickers featuring group and individual pictures of the J5. $1.00 to be Jackie Jackson’s soul mate. Ah, to be able to go back in time and take advantage of those offers.
To spot an original release version of The Jackson 5 Greatest Hits (with the new song Sugar Daddy), look for the perforation on the front cover of the album. The original release let you punch out the picture of The Jackson 5 so you could hang it on the wall. The picture frame around the picture is also textured. It’s bumpy and kind of feels like a real picture frame. The inner sleeve is another unique sleeve. Expanding on the inner sleeve from Maybe Tomorrow, you can now order stationary and other items not only for The Jackson 5 but several other Motown groups and singers. With the release of this album, Motown began to shift from thick heavy vinyl to a more floppy type of vinyl. In fact, the vinyl for the J5 Greatest Hits is so floppy that it can almost be bent in two without damaging the record itself. I wouldn’t recommend trying this. This type of really floppy vinyl must have been sort lived experiment, because the rest of the J5 albums are a much more sturdy vinyl. The original release of the Get It Together album featured a die-cut cover and picture inner sleeve. The reprint version just has the letters G-I-T on the cover in red instead of the die-cut.
The other albums, Lookin’ Through The Windows, Dancing Machine, and Moving Violation don’t have much in the way of distinct features that easily separate the original release versions from the reprints. The only thing that I was able to use to judge the difference was the type of vinyl used for the records. Also, the albums usually said ‘Also available on Motown cassette and 8-track tapes.’ While this isn’t all that important in determining an original release copy, it should be noted that later copies didn’t have the ‘8-track’ listed as an option. So, if you find a copy of say Dancing Machine, and it does state as being available on 8-track, then you have a copy that is at least from the 70s.
There are three Jackson 5 albums from Motown that are considered (at least at one time they were) rare and hard to find. Those are the 1976 album Joyful Juke
Box Music (the only album to be creditied to The Jackson 5 featuring Michael Jackson), the 1973 In Japan (a live album) album and the ultra rare 1979 Boogie album. Of these three albums, Joyful Jukebox Music is the easiest to find. It was part of the original Jackson 5 Motown catalog for years. Thus it was reprinted several times until Motown switched to CD. So, it is out there, but these days it might take a bit of effort to track down a copy on vinyl. The In Japan album was until the advent of the Internet, virtually an unheard of album to most US collectors. I had never heard of the album nor did I ever run across any reference to it in the many, many books I read on the Jacksons. It was quite a surprise to read about it in the liner notes for the 2 disc Jackson 5 Anthology CD set (2000 edition) that contained one track from the album. So, of course I had to start hitting eBay to get a copy. The Japan album also came with a poster but I have never seen what the poster looks like. My copy didn’t have the poster but it had all of the other original materials inside. This live album is, in my estimation, even more rare and hard to find than the Boogie album.
A little history on the Boogie album. Like the Joyful Jukebox Music album (which was released at the same time the album The Jacksons was released on Epic), in 1978 The Jacksons released their mega hit album Destiny. So, to take advantage of the momentum created by that album, Motown reached into their vaults and pulled out 7 previously unreleased songs and three hits and put together the Boogie album. Released on Motown’s smaller Natural Resources label, the album sold very few copies and there was only the initial printing of the album (maybe only a few thousand copies at best). So, until the Internet, this album was almost impossible to find. It took me years to find a copy and at the time it cost me a whopping $65.00. Plus it was still sealed so that was a plus. Well, truth be told, the album didn’t cost me a dime. It was a Christmas gift from my boyfriend at the time. He bought me this album and another hard to find album (which I’ll discuss a bit later). Now, with the advent of the Internet (and the release of it on CD) the album is a bit easier to find but it is still pricey. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen a copy of Boogie pop up on eBay in quite a while so perhaps what little supply there was has now dried up again. Who knows?
Ok, a special note about the second Jackson 5 album, ABC. Finding an original release copy of this album simply drove me up a tree for years. The main problem for me was actually determining what an actual original release copy looked like. I had assumed that like the Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 and the Third Album, ABC had also incorporated the thicker cardboard with the paper wrap around covers. Apparently this is not the case. It’s really not surprising as Motown with several different types of album covers. So, for some reason Motown decided to have the ABC album cover printed directly onto the thinner cardboard, cut, folded and glued together. Much like the process that most albums that were printed in the mid to late 70s. There are even examples of this type of cover on a couple of late 60s albums. A Supremes and Temptations album from 67 or 68, I believe, used this type of cover since the outer part of the cover could be detached to hang on the wall. Likewise the 1970 album Right On by the Supremes (the first album minus Diana Ross) also used this type of cover. So, it was not uncommon for Motown to use this type of cover for other albums, but it was (at the time) much more expensive and time consuming to produce versus the older wrap around type of cover. Eventually, I was able to obtain an older printing (if not an original release copy) of the ABC album. The cover has a rough type of texture versus the smooth glossy feel of the other albums. Also, the vinyl of the copy I found was quite heavy and thick like the Diana Ross Presents album. Eventually, I conclude that I had indeed found an original release copy of the album. I’m still looking to see if I can find a copy of the album with the wrap around paper cover but to this very day I have yet to find one.
The final Jackson 5 album released by Motown was the three record set Anthology from 1976. This quite literally contained every single released by The Jackson 5 plus all of the solo singles from Jermaine, Michael and Jackie plus various album cuts and favorites covering the Jacksons entire time with Motown. A nice collection to have, but really not necessary to complete a collection as everything on the album had been previously released.
Now the solo albums from the Motown years are just a unique and distinctive as the group albums.
Let’s start with Jackie Jackson’s 1973 solo album. This is by far the rarest and most sought after solo album from the Motown years. Like the Boogie album, Jackie’s (poor Jackie) solo album sold very few copies and had the only the initial printing. However, unlike the Boogie album, Jackie’s album is much more plentiful. While Boogie may have had only a one time printing of say 5,000 copies, Jackie’s album was expected to sell better so there may be 20,000 copies floating around out there. Now those numbers are just speculative as I don’t really know exactly how may were printed but there were more of Jackie’s album than Boogie. So, if you find a copy of Jackie’s album you are 100% guaranteed to have an original release copy of the album. I have only ever run across one copy of it in a used record store and I bought it. While I already had a copy of the album, I knew how rare it was and since the record (and cover) were in really great shape, I figured $3.00 was worth it. My first copy was a still sealed promo copy that I got for Christmas when I got the Boogie album. This particular album cost my boyfriend $55.00. He found both Jackie Jackson and Boogie at a store in California that specialized in out of print records. He got lucky in the fact that he was able to purchase the very last copies of each album that they had. That was a great Christmas.
Now, for Michael’s five albums. His first album, Got To Be There. The only way to tell an original release from the reprints is buy the cover and the record itself. Once again, the cover was thick cardboard with wrap around type of paper and the record is, again, thick heavy vinyl. There were lots and lots of these albums sold so finding an original version should be quite easy. The Ben album is another issue all together. There are two different covers for this album. The first release has a picture of stampeding rats on the lower half of the album cover. All other releases omits this portion and has just the full picture of Michael on the cover. Personally, I don’t like the ‘rat’ cover. I prefer the second pressing that has just the picture of Michael. The ‘rat’ cover can be a bit pricey but if you search hard enough, a copy can be had for under $40.00. I have both versions only because I ran across a copy of the ‘rat’ cover in great shape at a great price. Otherwise I was quite happy with my second printing version (which I still consider an original release version).
Michael’s third and fourth albums contain some distinct telltale signs to separate the original releases versus the reprints. The Music and Me album has a distinctive textured cover. The reprint versions have a smooth cover. The Forever Michael album, the original was a gatefold album and the reprints are not. Easy enough.
The final Michael solo album on Motown was a greatest hits album and it was released after Michael had already left Motown. The only way to tell an original release version is by the vinyl. Look for that slightly heavier vinyl. Also, again this album was reprinted for years so look for the ‘8-track’ wording and the absence of the white box with the original release date. This album is perhaps the most worthless. There are no new tracks and every song was previously release on the preceding four albums so there really isn’t any reason to have this album in the collection other than for completion purposes.
Now since only Got To Be There and Ben have been released on CD (now long out of print) as double CD (two albums on one disc), these albums have become big collector’s items. Music and Me and Forever Michael have (at least to my knowledge) never been released on CD here in the US. This makes these two albums very highly sought after by fans and collectors.
Jermaine had a long recording career with Motown. His most prolific years were after his brothers moved to CBS in 1976. However, in 1972 and 1973 there were two solo albums released for Jermaine. The first was titled Jermaine and contained the single Daddy’s Home. The second was Come Into My Life and contained the single That How Love Goes. Both of Jermaine’s first two albums are gatefold albums. Jermaine’s first post Jackson 5 album is the 1976 album My Name Is Jermaine. This album is also a gatefold album. All three albums were later reprinted as non gatefold albums. Aside from the heavy vinyl, this is the only way to differentiate the original release from the reprints.
Jermaine’s 1977-1980 albums are a bit more difficult. There really are not any distinctive about any of the albums. The only way to really tell is by the vinyl of the records themselves. However, it should be noted that by 1977 or 1978 Motown was moving to the thinner vinyl less expensive vinyl that other record companies of the time were using. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind about Jermaine’s solo albums post Jackson 5. The didn’t sell well. My Name Is Jermaine, Feel The Fire and Frontiers were major disappointments. Of those three albums, probably only My Name Is Jermaine went into multiple printings. The song Let’s Be Young Tonight was a hit in the discos but other than that, the album sank like a stone. Feel The Fire and Frontiers didn’t even chart on the Pop charts and barely made the R&B charts. Finally in 1979, Let’s Get Serious came out and Jermaine started having more respectable chart success. The trend continued with the 1980 release, Jermaine. Both Let’s Get Serious and Jermaine did go into multiple printings and I’ve seen later versions of both albums with the usual white box on the back. The only way that I’ve been able to determine older printings is by the ‘available on 8-track’ thing on the back. Frontiers sold so poorly that chances are if you can find a copy in good shape then you are getting an original release version. Feel the Fire is a bit more dicey. It did get reprinted long enough to have the white box original release date thingy on the back, but by the mid 80s the album was pretty much gone.
Jermaine’s final two Motown albums I Like Your Style and Let Me Tickle Your Fancy were once again low charters but they sold enough copies that they are out there to be found. As these are 80s albums, they will be discussed in the second part of this blog when I discuss the Jacksons music of the 80s.
With the lack of CDs for almost all of Jermaine’s Motown albums, several of the vinyl albums have become hot collectors items.
The final things released during the Motown years consists of B-side songs that were not available on any albums and a few other albums that contain songs and performances not found anywhere else. The following list is for the avid collector and believe me, tracking some of these down will take a bit of work. With the help of eBay and Amazon finding them should be a lot easier then when I was trying to find them. Anyway, here goes.
Motown at the Hollywood Palace (1970). This has the Jackson 5 singing a live medley of Sing A Simple Song/Can You Remember and their single I Want You Back. The medley portion was finally released on CD with The Jackson 5 Anthology (2000 edition).
Save The Children (1973) Motion Picture Soundtrack. This contains a live version of the Michael Jackson solo hit I Wanna Be Where You Are as performed by The Jackson 5. If you have ever seen the clip of Don Cornelius introducing ‘the mighty, mighty Jackson 5,’ then you have seen a clip from this movie. I’ve never seen the entire film or even the Jackson 5 portion of the film, but from what I was able to gather this is a concert film to benefit a children’s charity or foundation. The entire album is a live recording of portions of this concert.
Diana! (1971) TV Soundtrack of Diana Ross’s first TV special. It contains two live performances by The Jackson 5. Look for a gatefold cover to get an original release copy of this album.
Mahagony (1975) Soundtrack. One song by Jermaine, She's The Ideal Girl.
Pop We Love You (1979). An album by Motown stars dedicated to the memory of Berry Gordy’s father. It contains a duet with Jermaine Jackson and Tata Vega.
I Lost My Love In The Big City (1973). This is the B-side song to Jermaine’s That’s How Love Goes single. This song was never released on any of Jermaine’s solo albums.
Love Song (1972). This the B-side song from The Jackson 5’s Lookin’ Through The Windows single. This song was not released on any Jackson 5 album but was later released on CD in the 2000 edition of The Jackson 5 Anthology and the CD of Goin’ Back To Indiana/Lookin’ Through The Windows.
I’m So Happy (1972). This is the B-side song from The Jackson 5’s Sugar Daddy single. This song was not released on any Jackson 5 album but was later released on CD in the 2000 edition of The Jackson 5 Anthology and the CD of Third Album/Maybe Tomorrow.
Additionally for the avid collector there are cardboard cut out records from the back of cereal boxes. There are two different versions. One has a picture of The Jackson 5 on the record itself. I believe that these were from the back of Alpha-bits boxes. There were five different songs released. The second set of cereal box records were from the back of Honey Comb cereal boxes. At least I believe that they were. I don’t recall off the top of my head. There were three different songs released. These do not contain a picture of The Jackson 5.
So, this constitutes the bulk of music released by The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Jackie Jackson during their years at Motown.
The CBS Years (1976-80)
Well, let’s start with the very first album from 1976, The Jacksons. This is a gatefold album. The record itself has the orange Epic label. Epic would change their label to the more familiar dark blue with the silver logo in 1978. However, all reprints of this album continued to use the orange label. I don’t know why, but it did. Also, all reprints continued to be gatefold covers. This makes it very hard to find an original release copy of this album. As there aren’t really any distinctive features to this album that wasn’t continually reprinted, I just picked up the first excellent copy that I could find. I may or may not have an original release copy in my collection. I’ve never been able to tell. The sound quality on the record itself is great and the quality of the vinyl used is good, so I’m not really sure what edition I may have. Distinguishing original release copies of the later CBS/Epic releases would be much easier than this album.
The Jacksons second album Goin’ Places (1977) was once again a gatefold cover with the orange Epic label. Now, the way to tell an original release copy from reprint copies is by the inner sleeve. If the album contains an inner sleeve with the song lyrics then that is an original release copy. All subsequent reprints have a plain white inner sleeve.
This is a trait that would continue throughout the rest of The Jacksons releases on Epic. All of their albums would have distinctive inner sleeves. Most with the song lyrics. Destiny (1978) and Triumph (1980) all had the song lyrics printed on the inner sleeves.
However, Michael Jackson’s 1979 Off The Wall album did not contain a special inner sleeve. While the album was a gatefold cover, the gatefold itself had the song lyrics. The inner sleeve on all copies was a plain white inner sleeve. Quite a problem when trying to track down an original release copy. The only thing that I’ve been able to distinguish original prints versus reprints is the song Rock With You. After several pressings, the finger snaps in the song can’t be heard. Again, the lower and higher end sound frequencies seem to suffer the most from continued re-use of the same masters. So, what I ultimately chose to do was purchase the half-speed master version of the album that was released in the early to mid 80s. This was a series of albums that CBS released that used very high quality vinyl and mastered at half-speed in order to insure an almost CD like sound quality to the album. Quite frankly, this version of Off The Wall is the best copy that you will ever find on vinyl. The music would not be heard this clearly until it was re-mastered again for CD. These half-speed master versions were geared toward the record collector with superior sound systems that wanted to get the full range of sound out of their records. So, at the time, these records cost almost twice the price of a standard release of the same album. In today’s record collecting market they can fetch a hefty price and are highly sought. Another nice aspect of these half-speed master versions was that CBS reprinted each of the albums as they were originally released. Including any special inner sleeves. The covers, however, did contain the ‘half-speed master’ logo on them so they are quite easy to spot.
There were a few interesting items released for The Jacksons on CBS. First and foremost, in the mid to late 70s, record companies started to produce ‘collectors’ items. Things like colored vinyl versions of albums as well as picture discs of albums. The Jacksons received two picture disc versions of their first two albums.
The picture disc for The Jacksons album has the same picture of the group on both sides. I don’t have a copy of this picture disc and I’ve never even seen one in person. I have seen a picture of the disc in a book called Picture Discs of the World but have never actually held one in my hands.
There is also a picture disc version of the Goin’ Places album. This comes in a brick red cardboard cover with a large circular die-cut to show off the picture disc. The picture disc has the cover of the regular album on both sides. Nothing really spectacular, but attempting to track one of these down today if rather difficult. I did see one on eBay recently and the seller had it as a ‘Buy It Now’ and the price was well over $100.00. I guess I was lucky to have found one at a used record store for the outrageous price of $25.00 in the late 80s.
Also, it should be mentioned that the 1978 soundtrack album for The Wiz features one song from Michael Jackson and the Ease on Down the Road duet with Diana Ross. This was the only off shoot recording by any of the brothers during their late 70s time at CBS.
Jermaine’s mid to late 70s output at Motown is discussed above so I won’t restate it here.
In 1977 Randy Jackson began working on a solo album, but the album was shelved after Randy was in an auto accident. However, there was one single released. The single for How Can I Be Sure was released on CBS/Epic records. This single has not only become a Jackson brothers collectable but a Janet Jackson collectable. The B-side song A Love Song For Kids is a duet with Janet and Randy and this song is the very first recorded song by Janet Jackson. As this single was the only thing released from Randy’s aborted solo album it is quite rare. However, with a bit of patience they can be found on eBay often. A friend happened to find a copy of the single at a flea market several years ago and gave it to me. He knew I was a Jacksons collector and picked it up just because it happened to be a Jacksons record. What he didn’t know was how long I had been searching for that particular record. I got very lucky with that record.
I guess I should mention the few 12” singles that are out there to be found. Now, I have only collected 12” singles from the 70s if they contain a version of the song that is not available on the album. If the 12” single is the same as the album version of the song, then I didn’t waste my time.
There are three 12” singles that I feel are worth tracking down. First is the 12” single for Blame It On The Boogie (1978). The extended disco mix to this song is quite excellent. The 12” single for Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) is…well…a bit of a problem. There were two versions released. Once version is just the album version on 12” and the other is a remix version called ‘European Version’. I have both versions and both are quite easy to find on eBay. The Blame It On The Boogie 12” single on the other hand is a bit more troublesome to track down but it is out there. The third special disco mix 12” single to look for is Walk Right Now. Again, the 12” disco mix is quite excellent and well worth tracking down.
I also managed to find 12” singles for You Can’t Win (Michael’s song from The Wiz) and Ease On Down The Road (also from the Wiz). Both of these 12” singles contain disco mixes to the songs not found on the album. As to how hard these are to find, I couldn’t begin to guess. It did take me quite a few years of searching to track them down, but with the Internet today, they may not be all that hard to locate.
So, that is pretty much the entire 70s output of Jacksons music. If you do choose to start or upgrade your collection I wish you the best of luck. It took me years and years to acquire all of the albums and singles I have mentioned in this blog.
I suppose I should mention the famous Steeltown singles. Yes, I do have them and it did take me decades to find them. Eventually, thanks to eBay I got my hands on all three of them. The singles were Big Boy/You’ve Changed, We Don’t Have To Be Over 21/Jam Session. These were actually released on Steeltown. Atco re-released We Don’t Have To Be Over 21 with the previously unreleased song Some Girls Just Want Me For Their Lover on the B-side.
If you are a really adventurous collector you might try tracking down an album titled Getting Together With The Jackson 5. This album also contains the Atco release of We Don’t Have To Be Over 21 single complete with the B-side as the first two cuts on the album. The rest of the album contains songs by other groups. I don’t recall who else is on the album. I had never heard of the album until I ran across a copy of it (for $1.00) at an antique mall around 1994. When I found the album I casually picked it up and turned it over to see what was on it. Imagine my shock to see two Steeltown songs on the album. In fact I think my roommate (who was shopping with me at the time) had to remind me to breathe. I just stood there not believing my eyes. This was my very first copy of any of the Steeltown songs on vinyl. I already had a tape of three of the five songs so I was already familiar with the music.
Now, when looking for the Steeltown songs (which have now been released on several CD compilations) do not be fooled by the song Let Me Carry Your Schoolbooks and its B-side I Never Had A Girl by a group called Ripples and Waves Plus Michael. This is not The Jackson 5 and these are not Jackson 5 Steeltown recordings. While they do sound a lot like The Jackson 5, these are songs by an entirely different group. I don’t recall how these became to be thought of as Jackson 5 songs but they are not The Jackson 5. While Michael Jackson did provide the lead vocals on these songs, the band is an entirely different group. So, in a way, yes, they are part of the whole Jacksons recording history, they are not by The Jackson 5. I believe that the story behind these two songs are bit more complicated but at the moment I am unable to track down any concrete information. There used to be a web site called J5 Collector that had a great article about these two songs and how they came to be thought of as Jackson 5 songs, but the site is no longer around.
So, now in part two of this blog we move into the 80s.