Monday, November 15, 2010

Song of the Week: All I Do Is Think of You

Corey Sheppard by Corey Sheppard

On May 15, 1975 Motown Records released the latest Jackson 5 album entitled Moving Violation. The album went to Number 6 on the R&B album charts and Number 36 on the pop album charts. Not too bad for the brothers Jackson, who had been experiencing declining sales since 1972. The A-side of the single pulled from the LP was receiving some airplay in the new discos and dance floors around the world, but it was the B-side (a ballad written by Eddie Holland Jr. and Michael Lovesmith) that was getting the most attention from fans…. then and now.

“All Is Do Is Think of You” was released as the B-side of the boy’s disco Supremes cover “Forever Came Today” in June 10, 1975. This was actually the first time in three years that the Jackson 5 released a traditional ballad on either the A-side or B-side of their single. This record stood out from the rest of the album because it is the only true ballad that was presented on Moving Violation.

“All Is Do Is Think of You is clearly inspired by the sweet 70’s soul ballads by such artists as the Stylistics, Blue Magic and the Chi-Lites. Ballads were in at this time, and Motown clearly took notice of this. The Jackson 5 was originally accustomed to recording at least three ballads for each album they released for Motown in the beginning years. But starting in 1972, Motown went for a more bubblegum pop sound for the J5. This continued until around 1974 when songs like “If I Don’t Love You This Way” and “It All Begins and Ends with Love” starting appearing on the later Jackson 5 albums. Finally, the J5 had started recording songs that were more their forté.

Michael’s delivery on the song is excellent. Moving Violation is the only Jackson album recorded with Motown where you get a true sense of Michael’s adult vocal style. Atlhough he iss still a year or two from his singing voice being completely developed, his voice is in rare form on this track. His ad-libs at the end are terrific. This song was probably recorded right around the same time as “(You Were Made) Especially for Me” because Michael uses the same ad-lib line for both songs (“Day and Night/That’s all I do).” Listen for some early synthesizer keyboard playing on the verses as well.

The only minor issue I have with this song is the lyrics. There are two changes I would make to the lyrics if it were my song. First, I wish that the opening lyric of “All Is Do Is Think of You” (“I can’t wait to get to school each day“) hadn’t been used because I think that it puts too much emphasis on the fact that Michael was still a teenager. The boys weren’t young kids anymore, and I feel it was not necessary for that lyric to be put it to match the boys “main audience.”

But there is one part of this song makes me cringe every time. I’m sure you can guess what my answer will be!...... It’s Jermaine’s little spoken section on the bridge. “Girl, you’re so doggone fine.” Jermaine, that's so doggone awful! (although I’m sure it was the producer’s idea, not Jermaine’s). It doesn’t fit the seriousness of the track prior to it and makes the song sound slightly corny! Instead of focusing on Jermaine’s outdated rap, why not turn up the harmonies that the brothers are doing in the background.

The Jackson 5 performed this song a couple times on television shortly after Jermaine’s departure. It was Motown’s decision to have the boys continue to perform as the Jackson 5 and promote Moving Violation while they were in negotiations to leave the company. When the group appeared on Soul Train in 1975, they carefully lip-synched the tune with no brother covering Jermaine’s ad-libs.

But my favorite performance of “All Is Do Is Think of You” is when the boys (minus Jermaine, plus Randy) performed the song live on The Mike Douglas Show that same year. This live performance is incredible. Watching this performance is the prime example to me how much Michael and the brothers truly forgot about all of their problems while on stage. In the beginning the brothers (especially Michael) seemed a little uninspired and perhaps sad from Jermaine’s departure (note: his very lackluster spoken intro) but as every second of the record goes by they all forget about all the issues and troubles of their real life and give one heck of a performance.

With Michael‘s lead vocals, and Marlon, and Jackie’s excellent harmony background throughout the performance, it has remained one of my favorite TV appearances. I love Michael’s expression at the end of the extended chorus, and the ending should have been captured on the record as well. To be honest, I prefer this live version over the regular album version, mainly because I prefer the vocals and instrumentation on this performance over the studio recording and the significance of this performance means a lot to me.

The main melody is so extremely catchy and gorgeous that it is no wonder that this song has stood the test of time. It was first covered by group Troop in 1989 and they actually took the song to Number 1 on the R&B singles chart. Sixteen years later, Bad Boy Records’ youngest boy group B5 covered the song, as well, introducing it to a whole new generation. While these covers have maintained their popularity, I am very happy that the J5’s version is still accepted as the primary version of All I Do Is Think of You.”

“All I Do Is Think of You” is a beautiful, beautiful ballad that was never given a proper chance. I really feel that if the song received proper promotion from Motown, and A-side status on single, I feel it could’ve become a major R&B hit. But, in the end, it has become a classic, and classics never fade away. Once again, great songs never die, despite how long it took for the song to be heard.

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Corey Sheppard, 20, has been a Jackson 5 fan since 1993. His favorite hobbies are listening to music, playing racquetball at the YMCA, and hanging out with friends. Corey’s life passion is centered on music. His latest project is an all-new production company shared with Robert White Jr. entitled "Ask About It Productions."


  1. Maybe it's a girl thing, but I LO-O-O-VE Jermaine's spoken word part. I *know* he was talking to me, though.

  2. Hahaha! Yes, J5Collector, indeed I loved that part too (though, I would have loved those words even more if they had been Michael uttering them, LOL) Not just a girl thing, I'm sorry to say, it's a generational thing. That kind of ridiculous rap actually worked on us in the mid 1970s! And really does echo the genre of R&B music that this song fits into. None of that to detract from another fabulous song of the week posting from the fabulous Corey!


  3. Well, I didn't like all of Jermaine's spoken word stuff. I always felt embarrassed by his spoken word intro for "I Only Have Eyes for You" where he says "My love must be some kind of blind love. I can't see anyone but you." But I do love it when he says "Girl, you're so doggone fine." He sounds like he means it!

  4. i really enjoy reading your song reports Corey. keep up the cool work.. did you ever notice something regarding the tracklisting order of:

    All I Do Is Think of You
    Call Of The Wild

    lol useless bit of trivia there!