Rockin’ Robin – Michael Jackson | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#2) and R&B; 1972

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

In 1972 Michael Jackson, solo and with his siblings, redid two songs associated with 1950’s rocker Bobby Day. Bobby Day’s first pop chart waxing was Little Bitty Pretty One, which reached #57 in ’57.

Fifteen years later, the Jackson 5’s youthful take on it rose to #8 R&B and #13 Pop in 1972. That same year 14-year-old Michael stepped out from the 5 with the follow-up to Got To Be There; a cover of Rockin’ Robin, which Day had immortalized in 1958.

The song itself, originally titled Rock-in Robin, took flight from a real-life mockingbird, which sang its song outside songwriter Leon Rene’s house every night. Although Leon’s composition won over teens, hitting #2 Pop, Rene was so embarrassed by Robin that he gave his wife’s mother the writing credit.

The rockin’ bird rose from the dead again in 1972, this time trilled by Michael Jackson, who took it to #2 for a second time.

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:

  • Mel Larson
  • Jerry Marcellino

Lyrics Written by:

  • Leon René