Who's Lovin' You

Album: Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 (1969)
Charted: 36
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Smokey Robinson wrote this song, and it was originally recorded by his group The Miracles in 1960. The most famous version of the song is by The Jackson 5, and Michael Jackson's vocal performance was one of his early career highlights. At Jackson's memorial service on July 7, 2009, Smokey Robinson said: "Berry (Gordy) had this gathering at his house. He said, 'Come here, I want you to see somebody very special.' I went over and these five young guys were there, and they sang and danced up a storm. A couple weeks later they recorded by song. I thought to myself: Now they have pulled a fast one on us, because this boy cannot possibly be 10 years old. This song is about somebody who had somebody who loved them but they treated them bad. They treated them so bad that they lost them, and now they are paying the price of wanting somebody back that they treated bad and lost. How can he possible know these things? I quickly went over to him because I wanted to see his birth certificate. I could not believe that someone that young could have that much feeling and soul. He had to know something to sing a song like that. It was wonderful - as a songwriter that's a dream come true to have someone sing one of your songs like that."
  • This heartbreaker covers familiar ground for Smokey Robinson, as he sings about making a mistake in love and playing a dear price - he sits around with his head hung low, wondering who's loving her now.

    This is right in Smokey's wheelhouse, but it's a strange fit for Michael Jackson, who was 11 years old at the time. Jackson though, could pull off songs that were far more mature than he was. A good example is the fourth Jackson 5 single, "I'll Be There."
  • This was released as the B-side of The Jackson 5's first single, "I Want You Back."
  • The Jackson 5 performed this on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance, which took place December 14, 1969, when "I Want You Back" was climbing the charts.
  • Artists to cover this song include Terence Trent D'Arby, The Temptations, The Supremes and En Vogue.
  • This song entered the UK Top 75 for the first time in May 2009 following Shaheen Jafargholi's performance of the track on the Britain's Got Talent TV show. A couple of months later the young Brit performed the song at Michael Jackson's memorial service in front of an estimated television audience of one billion people. This prompted the song's return to the UK chart.
  • The first hit for the female vocal group En Vogue came in 1990 with "Hold On," which was an answer song to "Who's Lovin' You," with the girl explaining her culpability in the relationship and what she learned from the experience. The En Vogue song started when the group's producers were putting together an arrangement of "Who's Lovin' You" for them to sing, but the girls convinced them to write an answer song instead. "Hold On" used the first verse of "Who's Lovin' You" as it's intro.

Comments: 4

  • Teresa from Pai am 74 grew up with Motown in the 60's I never heard Smokey sing it and thought i heard every one of his songs.- i first heard this song, four years ago, listening to a doo wop station and they mentioned it was the flip side of "I want you back" by the end of the song. i had tears in my eyes and i wondered why we never heard this song, when Michael recorded it. Now, i never stop listening to it. wonderful voice and wonderful young man - RIP
  • Markantney from Biloxi, MsJul 2014,

    Smokey's quote says it all. It's considered a J5 Song but clearly it's not. No diss on his brothers for they were great too but this one (Song) is all his.
  • Natasha from Bronx, NyI love it! I sang it in a talent show when I was 4! I won second because the first place prize was broken. And second prize was first prize!
  • Noreen from Galway, Irelandwhat a song RIP Michael
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went Mainstream

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went MainstreamSong Writing

These overtly religious songs crossed over to the pop charts, despite resistance from fans, and in many cases, churches.

Chris Fehn of Slipknot

Chris Fehn of SlipknotSongwriter Interviews

A drummer for one of the most successful metal bands of the last decade, Chris talks about what it's like writing and performing with Slipknot. Metal-neck is a factor.

Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"

Chris Frantz - "Genius of Love"They're Playing My Song

Chris and his wife Tina were the rhythm section for Talking Heads when they formed The Tom Tom Club. "Genius of Love" was their blockbuster, but David Byrne only mentioned it once.

Jon Foreman of Switchfoot

Jon Foreman of SwitchfootSongwriter Interviews

Switchfoot's frontman and main songwriter on what inspires the songs and how he got the freedom to say exactly what he means.

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."