The Jackson 5 – ABC: #564 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Jackson 5 - ABC

So why is The Jackson 5’s ABC on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

When thinking about The Jackson 5, I realized how embedded they were in American culture by the time I was a kid in the 1980s. I mean, I’m sure I heard jokes about someone named “Tito” without even really getting that he was ostensibly the “least famous” member of the Jackson family.

Michael Jackson, already quite famous due to his association with the Jacksons and his strong Off the Wall solo album, became one of the most famous people on the planet when Thriller landed in late 1982. And sister Janet would follow with a series of albums in the ‘80s, culminating with the immensely popular Rhythm Nation 1814 in 1989.

I mention all of this because it’s challenging to wipe away all that we now know about the Jacksons – the mostly outstanding music, and some sad and disturbing things besides – when going all the way back to assessing The Jackson 5.

The good news is that once that thought exercise is in theory successfully accomplished, The Jackson 5 are pretty amazing, best exemplified by the ABC album from 1970.

And indeed the title track, “ABC,” showcases an unironic, pure, and innocent (sounding) outpouring of love for music and song, with a little boy named Michael Jackson showing off incredible vocal chops that bridge the gap perfectly between R&B and pop music.  

“The Love You Save” is my favorite song on ABC. It has outstanding instrumentation from Motown’s best, a super catchy chorus, and infectious and groovy backing vocals.

“I’ll Bet You” is a wild deep cut, with a very Curtis Mayfield-esque funk groove going for it.

Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to The Jackson 5’s ABC

Speaking of the Jacksons’ musical legacy and its ubiquity in American popular culture, when I think about or hear “ABC” I immediately think about another young man who would go on to become an icon.

That young man is Adam Sandler, who stars in the goofily brilliant Billy Madison. “ABC” is used during a montage sequence featuring Bradley Whitford’s character, Eric Gordon, who hams it up as the bad guy trying to prevent Billy from taking over his dad’s hotel empire.

Some stats & info about The Jackson 5 – ABC

The Jackson 5’s ABC on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Jackson 5’s ABC that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Stop, the love you save may be your own! Darling, take it slow or someday you’ll be all alone.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.