The Jackson 5 - I'll Be There Song Meaning

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

Chart Performance: R&B (#1 for 6 weeks) and Pop (#1 for 5 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. With The Supremes accounting for half of Motown’s six pop #1’s from 1967 to 1969, 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 – showed the group could also produce a more adult sound. In 1992, diva Mariah Carey rode her version of the tune to #1.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 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
  • Willie Hutch
  • Hal Davis


  • Grammy Hall of Fame Award. Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame (2010)
  • The Jackson 5 were awarded a gold record for their single “I’ll Be There” (1970)
  • Top 40 Weekly Top Songs of the 70s Chart Position: #24