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on 5 April 2017
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2010
Jackson's debut solo album was released in the hope to capitalize on America's love for the pint-sized cute singer from The Jackson Five. In 1972 Jackson was 14 and ready to branch out on his own, however his deal with Motown meant he was not able to release any of his own material so the album is a slick blend of pop covers and R&B songs given the already supremely professional and ridiculously powerful performance by Michael. The album did not sell as well as expected, although the singles kept Jackson's name high in the charts for many months. It was generally well received as an add on to The Jackson 5 material and showed that Jackson was able to complete a solo record without much backing successfully.

`Ain't No Sunshine' opens the album with some smokey guitars, and sultry, sexual sounds; in other words it doesn't sound like a song which a child should be singing. Once this spoken introduction passes, Jackson launches into a sublime vocal performance. He creates a unique mood for the song and turns the `I know' section into something gut-wrenching thanks to his dramatic delivery which fits Withers' original sentiment. Even at this point he is in complete control of his voice and sounds like he has been performing for decades. It is a fairly dark, bluesy song to open the album and doesn't really sound like anything else here.

`I Wanna Be Where You Are' is something of a forgotten hit by Jackson, although it is one of his most covered songs. Written specifically for him by Leon Ware and Arthur Ross it opens with some baroque stylings mixed with Motown funk. The production is great with huge string backing and huge vocals from Jacko. The chorus is strong with a timeless melody but the verses seem a bit lacklustre melodically which lets the overall feel go a bit flat.

`Girl Don't Take Your Love From Me' may be my favourite song on the album as every moment from opening `No' to the end is perfect (apart from the spoken parts). Give him a melody and Jackson will squeeze every ounce of emotion out of it- here his performance makes other sings look embarrassingly average. It is a typical song of heartache with seamlessly brilliant verse, bridge, and chorus and is almost free of backing music (mostly drums and bass) and relies and Michael tearing his way through each word.

`In Our Small Way' sadly begins with another grating spoken part which is a shame as we have another beautiful chorus and strong verse. The lyrics are overly sentimental and soppy given extra sugar by the background xylophone. In many ways it foreshadows later work such as Heal The World, but no matter how saccharine the message, no matter how cynical you are the force and delivery of Michael's vocals never fail to impress and warm my ears. Once again you are left thinking at times that (even though it sounds like gushing fanboy nonsense) every other singer there has ever been is beneath this.

`Got To Be There' is the title track and another touching love song with soft melodies which will stay with you forever. The song was his first solo single and was a hit in The States and Europe establishing him as a powerful solo artist. There is some strange production on his vocals however which do not enhance anything. It is a well written, light and breezy song with some guitars and strings squeezed through the Motown machine.

`Rockin Robin' is another hit single and probably the one most contemporary listeners will know. It offers a more fun and light side to the heart-broken ballads on the album, is memorably upbeat, catchy, and never fails to get the listener moving along.

`Wings Of My Love' is the only Corporation penned song on the album, a swaying ballad with more lush string arrangements and melodies blasted into the stars by Jacko. The intro is quite strange and at times it seems too plain and written as an afterthought.

`Maria' is probably the weakest song on the album. It is too slow and repetitive and there is not much room even for Michael to show off what he can do. Things pick up towards the end but it seems almost free of music, lyrics, and melody at times.

`Love Is Here And Now You're Gone' thankfully gets the album back on track with Michael giving a sublime cover of the classic Supremes hit. Once again there are spoken parts which threaten to irritate but thankfully they are covered by the backing strings and riff. It is a fun, bouncy song which suits Jackson's voice perfectly and reminds us that he can make even an existing strong song even better.

`You've Got A Friend' is a cover of the classic Carole King song, a song which I was never a huge fan of but Michael's version is just about the only one I can listen to. In fact anytime I hear any other version including the original they sound `wrong' as they don't have the inflections and add-ons that Michael gives here. It is a decent enough ending to the album, Michael doesn't get to show off his vocals as much as on some of the other songs but it is endearing enough and fades out leaving you wanting more.

Got To Be There is a fairly strong, unfairly underrated debut. Most people usually see Off The Wall as Jacko's debut and forget his non-Jackson 5 albums from before the 80s. Many of these songs could easily feature on a Jackson 5 album but without the help of his brothers Michael shows here that he was capable of performing on his own. It would take a few albums before he, and the world, realized that he could only go so far with his family and with other people's songs. This is a short, lightweight album on the surface with a few decent singles, but looking closer we can see that the vocals and performance are what carry the whole. Even at this young age Michael sounded light-years ahead of contemporaries when it came to his voice. There has never been a voice like the Michael of Bad and Thriller, but equally there will never be another voice quite as powerful as a young Michael Jackson.
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on 21 August 2004
this album contains timeless classics like... 'rokin' robin'' the unforgettable 'go to be there' and by far the best sung version of 'ain't no sunshine'. ths album captures the magic of motown and is michael jackson at his very best, you struggle to belive this is the voice of just a 13-year-old, he sings with such power and expression and forget that he was just a child, he sings the words from the soul. the songs could have been sung by no body else. he truley has the voice of an angel. this is an amazing album and a must have for any michael jackson fan or anybody else. this album is one of the best albums i have ever bought, try it, you wont regret it. michael jackson is pure genious. think of the good he has done for the world......
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on 22 February 2010
I love it, it's Michael's first album and is a sign of things to come. I would definately recommend it to anyone who is wanting to build up their MJ collection.
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on 9 March 2016
I bought this for the wife as she is a fan of Michael Jackson and his music and she is highly delighted with this product .
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on 9 December 2012
i have the original album from years gone by but wanted it on cd it takes me back quite a few years but still enjoyable
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on 22 June 2016
one of the first LP's i ever bought - needed to relive my youth - excellent play it constantly
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on 20 February 2017
Got To Be There sold 4.1 million copies worldwide
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on 12 September 2014
Thanks again I love it
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on 26 June 2015
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