I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5 | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1 for 5 weeks ) & R&B (#1 for 6 weeks); 1970

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Legend – and Motown press releases – claimed that Diana Ross discovered the Gary, Indiana family group known as The Jackson 5. In truth, Bobby Taylor, leader of Motown group The Vancouvers (Does Your Mama Know About Me #5 R&B, 1969), first spotted the boys when they opened for him after winning a nightclub talent contest. Label owner Berry Gordy needed some new hitmakers, so he pulled out all the stops for his latest signing. The Motown writers, producers, and musicians delivered an astounding four #1 R&B and Pop Jackson 5 singles within nine months. Whereas the first three hits were infectious kid-pop confections, number four, I’ll Be There, was an adult ballad. Bob West had written the song originally, however, Gordy didn’t like the lyrics. So producer Hal Davis called on Willie Hutch at four in the morning to rewrite it, Ninety minutes later Hutch was done and the Jackson 5 had their biggest-ever hit.

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:

  • Berry Gordy
  • Bob West
  • Hal Davis
  • Willie Hutch


  • Nominated for the 1993 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance