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  1. #1

    J5 and Dancing Machine - what happened?

    seems like the J5 started to struggle with their songs in late 71. After Never Can Say Goodbye, the majority of the following songs only did (relatively) so-so on the charts. Top 40 yes, but mostly in the lower 20s.

    And then they rebounded with Dancing Machine - a great track and really helped update their sound and style.

    So what happened after that? why did the following singles fall off again?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    seems like the J5 started to struggle with their songs in late 71. After Never Can Say Goodbye, the majority of the following songs only did (relatively) so-so on the charts. Top 40 yes, but mostly in the lower 20s.

    And then they rebounded with Dancing Machine - a great track and really helped update their sound and style.

    So what happened after that? why did the following singles fall off again?
    Michael's voice started to change. Also the songs were beginning to sound mundane, run of the mill. All that changed when they moved over to Epic.

  3. #3
    and they had great success at Epic too.

    During their early years at Motown, they hit upon a successful formula. then it began to wane and they weren't the chart-toppers they once were. But when they hit with Dancin', i'm surprised the company didn't take advantage of this and retool their sound and style to play off of this and continue the hits.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    and they had great success at Epic too.

    During their early years at Motown, they hit upon a successful formula. then it began to wane and they weren't the chart-toppers they once were. But when they hit with Dancin', i'm surprised the company didn't take advantage of this and retool their sound and style to play off of this and continue the hits.
    It's happens to the best of them. At Motown they more than once "assumed" a popular group had run it's course. Besides all that, they were having "problems" with Joe Jackson regarding the J-5's compensation for million-selling hits. Motown dropped kicked several very popular,well established groups over the years and it usually started with the group asked for an "accounting".

  5. #5
    The problem was two-fold, the biggest being image. Like with Stevie Wonder, little boys grow up fast. By 1974 The Jacksons were later teens and young men in two instances. You can't keep them in a teeny bopper mode when their voices are dropping and they are now sexually active. Motown did this with many acts, hesitance to change formula. Then when it was obvious they HAD to change the formula, they were at a loss as to what that formula should be. This resulted in a barrage of different producers trying to get a sound on the J5 resulting in lps that were somewhat uneven.

    The second problem was Motown itself began a decline once they left Detroit. Each year that went by they had fewer and fewer big hits. The J5 always sold out but Joe Jackson was at logger heads with BG over control of the group. It was he who orchestrated the group out of Motown when Epic gave them big bucks and assurances of self-production. This didn't come until their third Epic lp of course but when it happened for them, it happened big while Jermaine floundered at Motown.

  6. #6
    Simple: Motown was in decline and the Jackson 5 were getting too old.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    seems like the J5 started to struggle with their songs in late 71. After Never Can Say Goodbye, the majority of the following songs only did (relatively) so-so on the charts. Top 40 yes, but mostly in the lower 20s.

    And then they rebounded with Dancing Machine - a great track and really helped update their sound and style.

    So what happened after that? why did the following singles fall off again?
    Who said J5 fell off again, throughout rest of 74 / 75???

    There was "Life Of the Party", apparent that it was noticeably catchy enough a hit to be sung along a tidbit of it on the Jeffersons.

    There was the deluxe-sized "I Am Love", that started dramatically Jermaine Jackson, then to the max with the rest of the brothers.

    There was "All I Do Is Think Of You", a cute enough number, later made more under Troop and B5.

    And "Forever Came Today", cover of the Supremes hit, which their take hitted Number One on the Dance / Disco Chart.
    Last edited by Ngroove; 05-22-2019 at 12:18 AM.

  8. #8
    That doesn't count lol

  9. #9
    You can't be cute forever and you can only be a teen heartthrob for a short time before the world has to accept you as a man. Like what BayouMotownMan said, their formula needed changing and Motown didn't know what to do. As a result, their records suffered.

    Nowadays, artists are constantly changing their formula and image almost with every new album that comes out.

  10. #10
    Personally, for quite a while, my favorite Michael Jackson, was the Motown Michael Jackson.

    Before he was constantly about re-innovating himself every album on Epic, I've felt that back when he was with Motown, he was simply most innocent and sincere those tender years, especially when evident of his maturation, voice changed sometime after "With A Child's Heart", and even that was my favorite version of that song. And he's even been given the Holland brothers treatment on the bouncy "Just A Little Bit Of You" and "We're Almost There"!

    Also always dearly loved "Cinderella Stay Awhile".
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBG1zrs8AkE

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ngroove View Post
    Who said J5 fell off again, throughout rest of 74 / 75???

    There was "Life Of the Party", apparent that it was noticeably catchy enough a hit to be sung along a tidbit of it on the Jeffersons.

    There was the deluxe-sized "I Am Love", that started dramatically Jermaine Jackson, then to the max with the rest of the brothers.

    There was "All I Do Is Think Of You", a cute enough number, later made more under Troop and B5.

    And "Forever Came Today", cover of the Supremes hit, which their take hitted Number One on the Dance / Disco Chart.
    The sad reality is that after Dancing Machine, Motown wasn’t successful with finding the brothers another big hit. The Jackson 5 had only 3 additional singles to make the Billboard Hot 100 after Dancing Machine:

    Whatever You Got, I Want - #38
    I Am Love - #15
    Forever Came Today - #60

    If I remember correctly, Michael had one additional solo top 30 single in 1975 with Just A Little Bit Of You, and We’re Almost There may have charted in the lower half of the Hot 100. The move to Epic most likely saved their careers and definitely was instrumental in the chart dominance of Michael Jackson that began in 1979...

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyB View Post
    The sad reality is that after Dancing Machine, Motown wasn’t successful with finding the brothers another big hit. The Jackson 5 had only 3 additional singles to make the Billboard Hot 100 after Dancing Machine:

    Whatever You Got, I Want - #38
    I Am Love - #15
    Forever Came Today - #60

    If I remember correctly, Michael had one additional solo top 30 single in 1975 with Just A Little Bit Of You, and We’re Almost There may have charted in the lower half of the Hot 100. The move to Epic most likely saved their careers and definitely was instrumental in the chart dominance of Michael Jackson that began in 1979...
    That's right JohnnyB and most of the songs you cite are mostly forgotten now. The Jacksons and Michael became even bigger after leaving Motown. You may remember that prior to leaving Motown, they were being turned into a family Vegas act! Yuk!

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyB View Post
    The sad reality is that after Dancing Machine, Motown wasn’t successful with finding the brothers another big hit. The Jackson 5 had only 3 additional singles to make the Billboard Hot 100 after Dancing Machine:

    Whatever You Got, I Want - #38
    I Am Love - #15
    Forever Came Today - #60

    If I remember correctly, Michael had one additional solo top 30 single in 1975 with Just A Little Bit Of You, and We’re Almost There may have charted in the lower half of the Hot 100. The move to Epic most likely saved their careers and definitely was instrumental in the chart dominance of Michael Jackson that began in 1979...
    that's exactly my point. wonder why Motown blew the chance to redo the group once DM hit big. as with what other's have said, the decline prior to DM is understandable because of oversaturation and a group not keeping up with the times. but then DM was so hot, you'd think that their immediate follow up and other songs would build off of that. As would a subsequent album

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    that's exactly my point. wonder why Motown blew the chance to redo the group once DM hit big. as with what other's have said, the decline prior to DM is understandable because of oversaturation and a group not keeping up with the times. but then DM was so hot, you'd think that their immediate follow up and other songs would build off of that. As would a subsequent album
    I thought "Get It Together", the single released just before "Dancing Machine" was a better record. It was funky. Remember that Motown's philosophy of production came from the automotive assembly line. That may have been the cause of over saturation.

  15. #15
    ^i'm not that familiar with it but will find it on my anthology set and listen.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    that's exactly my point. wonder why Motown blew the chance to redo the group once DM hit big. as with what other's have said, the decline prior to DM is understandable because of oversaturation and a group not keeping up with the times. but then DM was so hot, you'd think that their immediate follow up and other songs would build off of that. As would a subsequent album
    Easy, Motown was being run by too many people, with their eyes on everything but the real prize. Remember at this point Motown was firmly a Hollywood record company. Detroit was a thing of the past. And with new locations sometimes comes new priorities. Motown had clearly moved on from being a hit song focused label. There was movies and all kinds of crap that the company had it's hands in. In the 60s, a group like the J5 would have been allowed to capitalize on a reinvention. The Marvelettes are famous among us diehards as the once label darlings who fell- rather quickly it seems- to C level status. Yet even they were allowed to reinvent themselves from the girlish, immature, I'm in love, I'm out of love, group to the more mature and sophisticated danger beware, don't mess with my man, on the hunt for a man grown ass women they became. And when "Bill" hit, the label pushed the next couple of grown women cuts. And all of that was the C level treatment.

    So it should boggle the mind that in the 70s as an A level act, that the J5 would be allowed to flounder and then exit without the label pulling out all of the stops to keep the A level act a consistent hit maker. 1960s Motown understood this kind of stuff. 1970s Motown rarely seems to know what the hell they were doing for anybody. Their biggest acts like Marvin and Stevie would've never been what they were in the 70s had they not had creative control. One look at Diana Ross' discography during the 70s with more misses than hits and it's obvious that without someone stepping in and forcing a hit, she would've floundered too. It's like suddenly no one at the company knew what the hell they were doing.

  17. #17
    My guess would be that the J5 were (mistakenly!) viewed by radio programmers as a tween-appeal group at that point in time.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    ^i'm not that familiar with it but will find it on my anthology set and listen.
    It was very popular on Soul radio stations back in the Fall of 1973.

  19. #19
    I wonder if Dancing Machine was initially regarded as just an album track on GIT, the last track on side 2.

    Now which other massively famous Motown single started life as just the last track on side 2 of an album?

  20. #20
    Tears of a Clown closed Make It Happen album.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Easy, Motown was being run by too many people, with their eyes on everything but the real prize. Remember at this point Motown was firmly a Hollywood record company. Detroit was a thing of the past. And with new locations sometimes comes new priorities. Motown had clearly moved on from being a hit song focused label. There was movies and all kinds of crap that the company had it's hands in. In the 60s, a group like the J5 would have been allowed to capitalize on a reinvention. The Marvelettes are famous among us diehards as the once label darlings who fell- rather quickly it seems- to C level status. Yet even they were allowed to reinvent themselves from the girlish, immature, I'm in love, I'm out of love, group to the more mature and sophisticated danger beware, don't mess with my man, on the hunt for a man grown ass women they became. And when "Bill" hit, the label pushed the next couple of grown women cuts. And all of that was the C level treatment.

    So it should boggle the mind that in the 70s as an A level act, that the J5 would be allowed to flounder and then exit without the label pulling out all of the stops to keep the A level act a consistent hit maker. 1960s Motown understood this kind of stuff. 1970s Motown rarely seems to know what the hell they were doing for anybody. Their biggest acts like Marvin and Stevie would've never been what they were in the 70s had they not had creative control. One look at Diana Ross' discography during the 70s with more misses than hits and it's obvious that without someone stepping in and forcing a hit, she would've floundered too. It's like suddenly no one at the company knew what the hell they were doing.
    Right. It was a different Motown.

  22. #22
    "Get it Together" kicked off my 8th Grade year in Jr. High. I remember liking this one as much as if not more than "Dancing Machine"


  23. #23
    This is the single directly following "Get It Together". A cover of the Supremes "Reflections" which should give you a clear indication that Motown was dropping the ball all over the place where the Jackson 5 were concerned It didn't even chart and I don't remember ever hearing it on the radio either:


  24. #24
    As Jr. High kids at the time, we would have never bought or played "Reflections" by the Jackson 5.

  25. #25
    I too love "Get It Together" more than "Dancing Machine", although I love the latter as well. Motown did push the Jacksons into disco afterwards, which makes sense. It would have been interesting had they stayed at Motown for longer to see what they what have put out.

  26. #26
    I think the Jackson's were smart to leave to work with Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff. By that time in the 70s The Sound of Philadelphia was very popular and Gamble & Huff were the new consistent hit makers.

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I too love "Get It Together" more than "Dancing Machine", although I love the latter as well. Motown did push the Jacksons into disco afterwards, which makes sense. It would have been interesting had they stayed at Motown for longer to see what they what have put out.
    I never liked Dancing Machine and still don't. It was a complete flop here in the UK despite a fair bit of airplay, but i do much prefer Get it Together which should have been huge.

  28. #28
    I loved both Get It Together and Dancing Machine. At the time, I remember thinking the J5 desperately needed something special to put them back on top and keep them there. At the time, these two records seemed to be the perfect answer.

  29. #29
    Maybe just maybe, Motown should've had a followup for The Jackson 5 that had a similar feel to "Dancing Machine". This formula worked for the company in the past (and it would work well for The Jacksons when they followed "Shake Your Body [Down To The Ground]" two years later with the similar sounding "Lovely One").
    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 05-23-2019 at 06:22 AM.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    I loved both Get It Together and Dancing Machine. At the time, I remember thinking the J5 desperately needed something special to put them back on top and keep them there. At the time, these two records seemed to be the perfect answer.
    Agreed! I remember "Get It Together" when it first came out and I felt it was the best Jackson 5 single since "Sugar Daddy" (and "Dancing Machine" was even better than "Get It Together").

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    "Get it Together" kicked off my 8th Grade year in Jr. High. I remember liking this one as much as if not more than "Dancing Machine"

    if there are no photos marv, it didn't happen lololol come on now and share some of those 70s gems hehehehe

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Easy, Motown was being run by too many people, with their eyes on everything but the real prize. Remember at this point Motown was firmly a Hollywood record company. Detroit was a thing of the past. And with new locations sometimes comes new priorities. Motown had clearly moved on from being a hit song focused label. There was movies and all kinds of crap that the company had it's hands in. In the 60s, a group like the J5 would have been allowed to capitalize on a reinvention. The Marvelettes are famous among us diehards as the once label darlings who fell- rather quickly it seems- to C level status. Yet even they were allowed to reinvent themselves from the girlish, immature, I'm in love, I'm out of love, group to the more mature and sophisticated danger beware, don't mess with my man, on the hunt for a man grown ass women they became. And when "Bill" hit, the label pushed the next couple of grown women cuts. And all of that was the C level treatment.

    So it should boggle the mind that in the 70s as an A level act, that the J5 would be allowed to flounder and then exit without the label pulling out all of the stops to keep the A level act a consistent hit maker. 1960s Motown understood this kind of stuff. 1970s Motown rarely seems to know what the hell they were doing for anybody. Their biggest acts like Marvin and Stevie would've never been what they were in the 70s had they not had creative control. One look at Diana Ross' discography during the 70s with more misses than hits and it's obvious that without someone stepping in and forcing a hit, she would've floundered too. It's like suddenly no one at the company knew what the hell they were doing.
    all great points - motown's business administration in the 70s was a mess.

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    if there are no photos marv, it didn't happen lololol come on now and share some of those 70s gems hehehehe
    Oh there are photos from back then. My mother has them.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by ranran79 View Post
    easy, motown was being run by too many people, with their eyes on everything but the real prize. Remember at this point motown was firmly a hollywood record company. Detroit was a thing of the past. And with new locations sometimes comes new priorities. Motown had clearly moved on from being a hit song focused label. There was movies and all kinds of crap that the company had it's hands in. In the 60s, a group like the j5 would have been allowed to capitalize on a reinvention. The marvelettes are famous among us diehards as the once label darlings who fell- rather quickly it seems- to c level status. Yet even they were allowed to reinvent themselves from the girlish, immature, i'm in love, i'm out of love, group to the more mature and sophisticated danger beware, don't mess with my man, on the hunt for a man grown ass women they became. And when "bill" hit, the label pushed the next couple of grown women cuts. And all of that was the c level treatment.

    So it should boggle the mind that in the 70s as an a level act, that the j5 would be allowed to flounder and then exit without the label pulling out all of the stops to keep the a level act a consistent hit maker. 1960s motown understood this kind of stuff. 1970s motown rarely seems to know what the hell they were doing for anybody. Their biggest acts like marvin and stevie would've never been what they were in the 70s had they not had creative control. One look at diana ross' discography during the 70s with more misses than hits and it's obvious that without someone stepping in and forcing a hit, she would've floundered too. It's like suddenly no one at the company knew what the hell they were doing.
    yep,i agree.

  35. #35
    Reflections was never released as a single by The Jackson Five

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by mowsville View Post
    Reflections was never released as a single by The Jackson Five
    It's just listed as an uncharted released single on the list of Jackson 5 singles on Wikipedia. I don't know if it ever really was released as a single.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by mowsville View Post
    Reflections was never released as a single by The Jackson Five
    Exactly. Also, Wikipedia adds anything. It was never seriously thought to be a single. It would've flopped anyway.

  38. #38
    Firstly , Hal Davis was having quite a creative spurt about this time wasn't he.

    I'm trying to sort out just how DANCING MACHINE was released ....first as an album cut on GIT and then as the title to their next album which was all new material except for this carry over. Very odd move imo . I'm guessing they suddenly had a hit off of a dying album , with new J5 material already ready for the pipeline.

    Wiki says the second version was a remix , but to my ears so far , it seems that just the intro was dropped. (anybody?)

    Original:


  39. #39
    Yeah, I recall thinking that was a bit odd. As far as I know the Dancing Machine version of "Dancing Machine" is just the version from Get It Together without the intro.

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