“Get It Together” by The Jackson Five (1973)

Here’s a fun fact I learned recently; every single Motown released by The Jackson Five between 1969’s “I Want You Back” and 1975’s “Forever Came Today” hit the top 10 on Billboard‘s Hot Soul singles chart. Six years of solid hits with no misses. It’s a helluva streak, and it’s a feat that goes overlooked in light of the other records that the family members have set collectively and individually.

1973’s “Get It Together” (which peaked at #2 on the soul chart) is one of the funkiest tunes the brothers ever cut for Motown. It was produced by Norman Whitfield, who was best known at the time for guiding The Temptations through their “psychedelic soul” period. The Motown house band is sizzling. It pointed the way towards a more mature sound for the J5. Michael, who was 14 at the time the track was recorded, was in the midst of puberty and the group’s sound was undergoing subtle changes in order to accommodate Michael’s changing voice and advancing age. “A-B-C, 1-2-3” wasn’t going to cut it anymore. While the overall lyrical sentiment of “Get It Together” (stop fucking around and tell me whether you’re interested in me or not) might have been a little too tough for a high school freshman, Michael and his brothers sold it like they were grown-ass men. Which I guess Jermaine, Tito and Jackie were.

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