6 Songs You Didn’t Know Michael Jackson Wrote for The Jacksons

Michael Jackson is one of the greatest pop music songwriters ever. While he’s known today for solo songs like “Beat It,” “Bad” and “Thriller,” Jackson came up in a family band, known first as The Jackson 5.

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Indeed, Jackson wrote songs for his family band, even after he’d gone solo when the group was later known as The Jacksons. Below, we dive into six such songs. Six songs fans of MJ likely didn’t know he wrote for The Jacksons.

[RELATED: Ranked: Each of Michael Jackson’s No. 1 Songs]

1. “Can You Feel It”

Written by Michael Jackson, Jackie Jackson

Released on the family group’s third album, the 1981 offering, Triumph, this song was written by Michael and Jackie Jackson. Randy and Michael both sing on the track, which hit No. 6 on the U.K. charts (though only No. 77 on the U.S. pop charts). Sings Michael on the fun, disco-funk song,

All the colors of the world should be that
Lovin’ each other wholeheartedly
Yes, it’s all right
Take my message to your brother and tell him twice
Spread the word and try to teach the man
Who’s hating his brother, when hate won’t do
‘Cause we’re all the same, yes, the blood inside me is inside you
Now tell me

2. “Give It Up”

Written by Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson

The eighth song on the album, Triumph, this song was written by Michael and Randy. It’s a piano-driven, propellant offering, complete with big, swelling strings. On the song, Michael opens with the lyrics, singing in his signature falsetto,

I don’t know what you do to me
But this feelin’ is here to be
I hope it’s love and one day we’ll see the moon

Take my hand and we’ll fly away
A love so new till the dyin’ day
A life so true, all I have to say is you will

3. “Walk Right Now”

Written by Michael Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Randy Jackson

The fourth (and final) single released from Triumph, this song was written by a trio of Michael, Jackie and Randy. It tells the story of a person fed up with the lies from their lover and her cheating ways. The track hit No. 70 on U.S. pop radio charts but it was a more popular song in the U.K., where it hit No. 7 on the U.K. singles chart. On the bass-driven funky number, Michael sings to open the song,

Here, when all my work is done
She calls and she says, dear, can I come?
I say to her, that you know our love has gone
But aggressive heart, you’re really not the one
She comes to the door, crying at my feet

4. “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)”

Written by Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson

This song, written by Michael and Randy, was released on The Jacksons’ 1978 LP, Destiny. As a single, the track hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is one of the more famous Michael songs from the ’70s, rich with attitude, moxy and melody. On the song, he sings,

I don’t know what’s gonna happen to you, baby
But I do know that I love ya
You walk around this town with your head all up in the sky
And I do know that I want ya

Let’s dance, let’s shout (Shout)
Shake your body down to the ground
Let’s dance, let’s shout (Shout)
Shake your body down to the ground
Let’s dance, let’s shout (Shout)
Shake your body down to the ground
Let’s dance, let’s shout (Shout)
Shake your body down to the ground (Ooh)

5. “Heartbreak Hotel”

Written by Michael Jackson

This song from Triumph, written solely by Michael, is also known as “This Place Hotel.” A slower offering, on which Tito Jackson plays a guitar solo and the other brothers play background percussion, the song is about a planned romantic night with a lover “ten years ago,” which later led to a breakup in this seedy hotel. On the song, Michael sings,

Live in sin
Ten years ago on this day, my heart was yearnin’
I promised I would never ever be returnin’
Where my baby broke my heart and left me yearnin’
As we walked into the room, there were faces
Starin’, glarin’, tearin’ through me
Someone said, “Welcome to your doom”
Then they smiled with eyes that looked as if they knew me, this is scarin’ me

6. “Everybody”

Written by Michael Jackson, Tito Jackson, Mike McKinney

This fourth song on the 1980 LP, Triumph, “Everybody” was written by Michael, Tito and Mike McKinney. It’s a string-bolstered, electric guitar-driven song that features Michael’s feathery voice and backing harmonies by the family. It’s a bright, funky song that signifies the state of the family band at the time. On the song, Michael sings,

Oh, everybody, get down on the floor
I love the way you shake your thing
You make me want some more

I’ve had my days of standing on shaky ground
I want my life so fancy-free
I know that I can do it
I have to let me be
And I’ve had enough
And I know What’s right for me

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

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