Who's Lovin' You

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

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: 3

  • 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

Best Band Logos

Best Band LogosSong Writing

Queen, Phish and The Stones are among our picks for the best band logos. Here are their histories and a design analysis from an expert.

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)Songwriter Interviews

Mike Rutherford talks about the "Silent Running" storyline and "Land Of Confusion" in the age of Trump.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al YankovicFact or Fiction

Did Al play on a Beach Boys record? Did he have beef with George Lucas and Coolio? See if you can spot weird but true stories.

Tom Keifer of Cinderella

Tom Keifer of CinderellaSongwriter Interviews

Tom talks about the evolution of Cinderella's songs through their first three albums, and how he writes as a solo artist.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul AsylumSongwriter Interviews

Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.