Dancing Machine – The Jackson 5 | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#2) & R&B (#1); 1974

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

By 1974, the Jackson 5 hitmaking juggernaut had rolled up 15 consecutive Top 10 R&B singles, however, over on the pop side it had run out of steam after 1971’s Never Can Say Goodbye. In 1974 disco was coming on strong and the Jackson boys wanted their writers to come up with a dance tune. Co-writer/ producer Hal Davis’ inspiration for Dancing Machine took the form of a woman who would dance for him any time, anywhere. Talking about her to Don Fletcher, Hal described the woman in question as a “dancing machine.” Don immediately recognized Hal’s image as a great title, and the two put the song together with help from guitarist Dean Parks. Dancing Machine recharged the Jacksons’ career. It also prompted Michael to create a routine around a street dance called The Robot, which he performed on “Soul Train,” laying the foundation for Michael’s future image as singer and dancer extraordinaire.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Hal Davis

Lyrics Written by:

  • Hal Davis
  • Don Fletcher
  • Dean Parks

Awards:

  • “Dancing Machine” brought the Jackson 5 their second Grammy Award nomination in 1975 for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals