The Love You Save

Album: ABC (1970)
Charted: 7 1

Songfacts®:

  • This was the third of four consecutive #1 hits for the Jackson 5, following their Motown debut "I Want You Back" and its follow-up, "ABC." After "The Love You Save", "I'll Be There" went to the top, giving the group a total of 10 weeks at the top in 1970.

    The first three were written and produced by a Motown collective known as "The Corporation": Freddie Perren, Deke Richards, Fonce Mizell, and Berry Gordy Jr. Gordy was head of the label and assigned them that name, which kept the focus on the team instead of the individuals within it - if one member deigned to leave, he could replace him.
  • The song is about a girl who is moving through guys a little too fast. The singer wants her to slow down before she ruins her reputation. It's a theme that's been explored in pop songs before, but this time it's framed in a schoolyard because it's sung by Michael Jackson, who was 11 years old at the time.
  • The soul singer Joe Tex had a minor hit in 1966 with a ballad called "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)," where he asks his girl to stop and get it right, because "the love you save may be your own." That phrase and sentiment were borrowed for the Jackson 5's "The Love You Save."
  • When this went to #1 on June 27, 1970, the Jackson 5 became the first act ever to have their first three chart singles top the Hot 100.
  • The song's writers kicked around many different ideas before settling on the lyrical theme. Early on, the lyrics concerned traffic safety. After some revisions, only the title and the line, "Darling, look both ways before you cross me" survived.
  • Michael Jackson calls out the girl for carousing with four different guys, all of whom he names:

    Isaac (said he kissed you)
    Benjy (held your hand)
    Alexander (called you)
    Christopher (discovered you're way ahead of your time)

    The last two names are nods to historical figures children learn about in school. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, and Christopher Columbus was often credited with "discovering" America.
  • By this time, the Jackson 5 had a formula of Michael Jackson carrying the lead vocal with a bit of interplay from his brothers. In "The Love You Save," Jermaine gets a few lines in ("You better stop, girl"), and Tito does some bassy "bom bom bom" vocalizations.
  • The Jackson 5 performed this, along with their previous two hits - "I Want You Back" and "ABC" - on The Ed Sullivan Show May 10, 1970.

Comments: 9

  • Queeny from Las Vegas, NevadaIt’s Christopher Columbus as he was known at the time to have “discovered” America. Cute little song! I’m glad to finally know the lyrics, but what does “the love you save may be your own” mean? I still don’t get that.
  • Lenny from Long IslandIt must have been about 20 years ago when I realized the lyrics. Of course it's Christopher Columbus. Christopher Polhem? Are you kidding me? Those lyrics were from basic history in the USA. Just like ABC is easy as 123.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 10th 1970, the Jackson 5 performed "The Love You Save" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Two weeks later on May 24th, 1970 the song would enter Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #45; four weeks later on June 21st, 1970 it peaked at #1* {for 2 weeks} and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on June 14th, 1970 it also reached #1 {for 6 weeks} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    * "The Love You Save" had the distinction of bumping the Beatles' 20th and final #1 record out of the top spot on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart.
  • Kenneth from Cleveland, OhThis song is great.It also has a very serious message if you listen closely to it.
  • Punkanelly from Lake Charles, LaNo, Christopher is without a doubt meant to refer to Christopher Columbus. Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell are all very very famous and widely taught to kids in grade-school, so in keeping with that tradition, Christopher can only mean Columbus. Why would the writers put in all these famous names and then add the name of a Christopher Polhem who is virtually unknown in comparison to the others.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoPowerful opening!! As a kid I despised their first two songs, but liked this one enough to buy it!
  • Billy from Pittsburgh, PaI think it's Columbus...since he "discovered" America.
  • Germaine from Melbourne, AustraliaA cute and interesting fact about some of the lyrics in this song. It says "When Isaac tried to kiss you beneath the apple tree, when Benji held your head he felt electricity, when alexander called you he said he rang your chime, Christopher discovered you're way ahead of your time." Isacc is Isacc Newton who obviously theorised gravity after he saw an apple fall from a tree, Benji is Benjimen Franklin who discovered lightning is electricity, Alex is Alexander Ghrahem Bell who invented the telephone... and Christpher... I heard it was meant to be Christopher Columbus, but i couldn't see how that made sense with the lyrics so I did a bit of research. I think it could be Christopher Polhem who was a famous swedish scientist who was one of the first people ever to manufacture affordable, good quality clocks in the mid 1700s. He was also the inventor of the modern padlock. What a dude!
  • Maddie from Yakima, WaMy favorite Jackson 5 song.
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