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I'll Be There

by

The Jackson 5



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was the first Jackson 5 hit not written by "The Corporation," a collection of Motown writers lead by the chief of the label, Berry Gordy. The Corporation were based in California, unlike most Motown writers, who were in the Detroit offices. This song was written by Hal Davis (who also produced it), Bob West, Willie Hutch, and Berry Gordy.
In this song, a man tells his former lover that he will always be there for her, and that even if she finds someone new, she can always go back to him.
The lead vocals were shared by Michael and Jermaine Jackson. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for all above)
In 1975 Gloria Gaynor recorded a Disco cover of this entitled 'Reach Out, I'll Be There," which peaked at #14 in the UK and #60 in the US. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
Mariah Carey remade this in 1992. It was originally a last-minute addition to her MTV Unplugged setlist, after she had been informed that most acts on the show commonly perform at least one cover.

Carey's version was performed as a romantic duet, with her singing Michael Jackson's lines and an uncredited Trey Lorenz, who had provided background vocals on her Emotions album, performing Jermaine Jackson's part.

Carey's label received numerous requests to release "I'll Be There" as a single after the MTV Unplugged special was aired. They did so and it went on to top the Hot 100 and several other charts including the ones in Canada, The Netherlands and New Zealand. The song also peaked at #2 in the UK.
At one point Michael hollers, "Just look over your shoulders, honey." He had been instructed by Berry Gordy to sing "just look over your shoulder" (as an allusion to what Levi Stubbs had said in The Four Tops' "Reach Out I'll Be There"), but the fluffed line was allowed to remain in the final mix.
The Jackson 5
More The Jackson 5 songs
More songs that were hits for more than one artist
More songs about heartache

Comments (16):

Little Michael was already soooooo amazing ! Child prodigy. His angelic voice infused with the deep emotion is just incredibly touching. R. I. P Michael....Thank you for all you have brought!
- Jane, jinan, China
This is a really cool song. Micheal Jackson was one of the greatest singers and performers of all time. Chris Rene a contestant on The X Factor did a cover of this song and I think it would have done Micheal Jackson very proud to have been there to hear it.
- Garrett, New York, NY
Michael Jackson was soooooo good when he was young.....this song proves it!
- Rick, Belfast, ME
one of the greatest songs in music history.
- Lacey, Chicago, IL
sorry derek - london ... 'Just look over your shoulder honey' wasnt a mistake ! The Jackson 5 weren't even the first to do it ! The Four Tops sang the line on 'Reach Out (I'll Be There)' and that was in 1966. 'I'll Be There' by the Jackson 5 wasn't released until 1971. They hadn't even been signed to Motown when the Four Tops released their single.
- Chloe, Carlow, Ireland
I love this song...you will always have a relationship in your past lovelife that will swing back and forth...and this song describes it to the letter. I love the line "You and I must make a pact...we must bring salvation back...where there is love...I'll Be There". It will always represent that true love that will always be with you no matter what...whether they are in your life or not. THe line "Just look over your shoulder" means...that persons spirit represents the love that you feel within. I love the way the Jackson 5 performed it....but I will always remember Mariah Carey and Trey Lorenz carrying the high notes...and even more the spirit of Michael Jackson as they sang in at his memorial services 07/08/09. RIP Michael Jackson!
- Tricia, Rockville Centre, NY
R.I.P Michael Jackson. You are a ledgend! Goodbye to the king of pop.
- maddie, scarborough, United Kingdom
R.I.P Micheal Jackson. This song was great i really loved it and of course still do. Goodbye Micheal Jackson.
- Kayla, St. Paul, MN
Co-writer Willie Hutch later scored two blaxploitation classic films ("The Mack" and "Foxy Brown").
- John, Nashville, TN
The original J5 version of this song is flawless.I don't care for the re-makes,and I like Mariah Carey.
- Kenneth, Cleveland, OH
Also, towards the end Michael sings "Look over your shoulders honey", and apparently it was a mistake but then the Temptations did it on "Reach Out"
- Derek, London, United Kingdom
The New Kids wrecked it....... I STILL HATE THEM!!!
- Derek, London, United Kingdom
I agree with Al, this song is original and other artists shouldn't sing it and say they wrote it!
This song always makes me cry, I love it.
- Talya, Manchester, United Kingdom
the hell with Mariah Carey, New Kids on the Block, and that punk band previously mentioned...thjere is only ONE version of this song...ONE!!!
- Al, New York, NY
The greatest version of this song is done by a band called "Me First and the Gimme Gimmes". They do almost nothing but cover songs in a more fast-paced punk type style and it's awesome. I highly recommend them.
- Jon, Oakridge, OR
Also once covered by the infamously popular boy band New Kids On The Block at a concert.
- Krie, Ft. Drum, NY
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