Hal Davis, Berry Gordon, Bob West & Willie Hutch: “I’ll Be There”

Posted: January 4, 2014 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Tune du Jour: “I’ll Be There” – The Jackson 5
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Me First & The Gimme Gimmes vs. D.A. Sebasstian
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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"Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs." - Milton Friedbyrd

“Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs.” – Milton Friedbyrd

The Jackson 5 recorded I’ll Be There for Motown Records in September 1970. It became the Jackson 5’s fourth #1 hit in a row, making them the first black male group to achieve four consecutive #1 pop hits.

The most successful single ever released by the Jackson 5, I’ll Be There sold 4.2 million copies in the United States, and 6.1 million copies worldwide. It replaced Marvin Gaye’s I Heard It Through the Grapevine as the most successful single released on Motown in the U.S., a record it held until the release of Lionel Richie’s duet with Diana Ross, Endless Love (1981). Outside the U.S., I Heard It Through the Grapevine remained Motown’s biggest selling record with worldwide sales of over seven million copies.

The Original


The Jackson 5:


Another #1 Version


Mariah Carey & Trey Lorenz:

Mariah Carey included I’ll Be There as a last-minute addition to her MTV Unplugged setlist (1992), after she had been informed that most acts on the show commonly performed at least one cover. Carey’s label, Columbia Records, had not planned to release the unplugged version of I’ll Be There as a single but after receiving large-scale requests they relented. I’ll Be There became Carey’s sixth #1 single in the U.S., and her biggest hit elsewhere at the time.


THE CLASH of Cover Tunes


Me First & The Gimme Gimmes vs. D.A. Sebasstian

It’s been hours since Me First & The Gimme Gimmes were represented on CMI and, quite frankly, I’ve been receiving a lot of complaints over the perceived slight. So without further ado …

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes:

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes is a recipient of CMI’s universally coveted title of Uni Victor Melodious Maximus in Adversarial Replication. Among the title’s myriad of rewards and benefits, perhaps most desirous is that it bestows upon the recipient the eminently yearned for privilege of having one’s name appear in print media in bold yellow.

Me First & The Gimme Gimme’s triumphal performance in CMI’s THE CLASH of Cover Tunes competition is detailed below:

10/15/2013 – “The Boxer” (Simon & Garfunkel) – Me First & The Gimme Gimmes (60%) stymie Material Issue (40%)

D.A. Sebasstian:

Don’t know what to say about D.A. Sebasstian other than that before hearing his version of “I’ll Be There” on a covers compilation disc, I had never heard of the guy. But his cover was easily the best on the album. Great fun, tremendous cover:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

Also, keep in mind that if you should spontaneously self-actualize while playing a cover then you could – and probably should – nominate it for Top 10 (i.e. “Impeccable”) consideration.



Votes can be cast up to seven days from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. RDubbs says:

    Two great covers. This is one of Me First etal’s stronger covers yet I’m giving a slight edge to D.A. Sebasstian for his great fade-out.

  2. Kerry Black says:

    I played all four versions.

    My favorite Michael Jackson material is the stuff he did with The Jackson 5.

    I didn’t remember that Mariah had a #1 hit with it in ’92. I’d also pretty much forgot that she looked pretty good back in those days.

    I also need to mark the passing of Phil Everly, one half of the fabulous Everly Brothers. They were, and indeed are, one of my favorite acts of all time. I’m just glad I was fortunate enough to catch them live in ’01, before their final retirement. If there’s a rock ‘n’ roll heaven…

  3. Arnold Plotnick says:

    I gave this one to D.A. too. Still…a mediocre song that was barely rescued by this version.

    Any chance of a moratorium on MF & the GGs? With so many bands doing so many covers, they’re getting an inordinate amount of blog time.

    • RDubbs says:

      I actually do typically try to limit appearances to a maximum of once a month but a few things went haywire the last week or so. But you know, Arnie, Me First etal. is the self-proclaimed greatest cover band in the world.

  4. bornunderabadsign says:

    I think the Gimme Gimme’s were channeling the the Cars while D.A. Sebastian was caught somewheres between the Ramones and The Psychedelic Furs…so, I gave to DA for invoking multiple acts

  5. Cuspid says:

    What an awful song anyway. I’m going with the Gimme Gimmes because they can get it over with 8 seconds sooner than D.A.

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