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Pop - Released December 31, 2012 | UNI - MOTOWN

Booklet
When the Jackson 5 hit the ground running with the undeniable classic "I Want You Back" as their debut single, they exploded into almost overnight worldwide popularity, immediately becoming the biggest act on the Motown label. Their hot streak of hits and immense renown would mutate upward more than it would really slow down, with Michael Jackson's solo career becoming one of the most commercially successful in the history of music. Things wouldn't be as bright for Tito, Jermaine, and the rest as they were for Michael, but in those early days, they were all in it together and working together constantly. Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls is both evidence to the staggering work ethic of the band and a picture of a young group on an electric creative roll, collecting almost three albums' worth of unreleased material from those early Motown days, circa 1969-1973. With 32 unreleased tracks, the collection gets into a few different bags without going all over the map. "If the Shoe Don't Fit" comes closest to the classic sound of the early band, but maybe a little too close for comfort. The instrumentation is identical to already similar hits like "The Love You Save" and "ABC," but the arrangement is busy, trying for a lot of different ideas over the song's three minutes. Triumphant soul-pop melodies in songs like "Come and Get It (Love's on the Fire)" and "If You Want Heaven" are as strong if not stronger than some of the 5's released material from that time. A larger than usual number of covers appears on the set as well, ranging from soul and doo wop hits like "Up on the Roof" to more surprising takes on rock & roll in the form of Traffic's "Feelin' Alright" and Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come," where the Jackson boys remodel the sketchy psychedelic party tale into something a little more wholesome. The collection also shows how quickly the group was developing, with later tracks moving quickly from teen pop to disco and funk-flavored dance tracks like "Jumbo Sam" and "If I Can't Nobody Can." Perhaps what this collection reveals most is the superhuman pace at which the young Jackson 5 were being worked in those early days. Out of the gates they saturated the market with not just plentiful albums, but television appearances, live dates, and an enormous marketing campaign aimed at the expendable incomes of their predominantly early teenaged fan base. That they would have any time, energy, or creative juice left for the studio, let alone to record the volumes of unreleased songs represented here, is truly amazing. Most amazing, however, is that rather than a lackluster collection of understandably shelved duds, the songs here are by and large great. Nothing hits the impossible bubblegum soul heights of those early smash hits, but Rare Pearls lives up to its name, with a colorful blend of coulda-been hits and fun distractions. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2009 | UNI - MOTOWN

Easily the best of the of posthumous Michael Jackson-related collections released in 2009, I Want You Back! Unreleased Masters unearths 12 cuts from the Motown vaults that have somehow managed to not see the light of day despite many repackagings and reissues. To an extent, this is an indeed a collection of odds and ends, items that never saw release because they didn't fit elsewhere or, in the case of backing tracks for live TV performances of "Never Can Say Goodbye" and a medley of "I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save," they were never meant to be heard in this fashion. These two cuts have good, safe vocals from Michael, but they're not as bracing as a considerably different vocal arrangement of "ABC" -- an arrangement not nearly as good as what wound up on the release, but it's fascinating to hear the music being worked out. The other alternate here is an extended version of "Dancing Machine" -- enjoyable, but not that different -- but it's eclipsed by the previously unreleased cuts here: the creamy Stevie Wonder original "Buttercup," two terrific pieces of bubblegum-soul from the Corporation ("That's How Love Is," "Love Comes in Different Flavors"), some cinematic soul from Bobby Taylor ("Listen I'll Tell You How"), and bright, snappy funk on Willie Hutch's "Love Call." Compared to the classic Jackson Five singles, these do pale slightly, but taken on their own merits -- and seen in the wake of strained pieces of product like Michael Jackson's The Stripped Mixes -- they're dynamite, proof of how joyous and irresistible the Jackson 5 were at their peak. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B - Released December 1, 1971 | UNI - MOTOWN

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The Jackson 5's first Greatest Hits album remains an excellent summation of the group's first few years, boasting 11 of their biggest hits, including "I Want You Back," "ABC," "Never Can Say Goodbye," "I'll Be There" and "Who's Lovin' You." Although this is a fine record for what it is, it has been replaced many times over the next 25 years, and it pales in terms of song selection to such latter-day compilations as The Ultimate Collection, which offer more songs, better liner notes and improved sound for not much more money. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B - Released March 30, 2010 | UNI - MOTOWN

Here the posthumous Michael Jackson deluge begins in earnest, with Motown recycling 12 Jackson 5 hits in the form of J Is for Jackson 5, a “kid & parent friendly” compilation -- because, you know, the original recordings weren’t at all targeted at a kiddie audience at all. Certainly apart from that designation and four karaoke mixes tacked onto the end of the disc -- mixes that do not remove vocals, only shift them -- there is virtually no distinguishing J Is for Jackson 5 from the countless other J5 hits discs released over the years: sure, “Who’s Loving You” and “Never Can Say Goodbye” didn’t make the cut, but plenty other comps have similar oversights, so this just plays as a hits disc missing a couple of hits. There’s nothing wrong with the music here, but there are other compilations that offer more hits in packages that are just as family-friendly as this. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2010 | Hip-O Select

Live at the Forum contains two previously unissued performances from the Jackson 5. On June 20, 1970, the brothers were popular enough to attract well over 18,000 people -- many of whom screamed, some of whom rushed the stage -- to the Inglewood, CA venue. They had two albums to draw upon but threw in some covers, like a somewhat ragged version of Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” and a loose take on Sly & the Family Stone's “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.” Unsurprisingly, the dynamically performed hits generate the loudest response. Given the hysteria from note one of “The Love You Save,” which had just hit number one on the soul chart, the group could have been forgiven for spinning out of control, but they fed off the energy of their fans, awestruck yet realizing their power. When the Jacksons returned on August 26, 1972, they were a full-blown pop culture phenomenon and had released four additional albums. There is not much overlap with the 1970 show; some of the older material is incorporated into medleys and they roll through everything with professional finesse without losing their connection to the crowd. The scripted banter sounds more natural, too. Michael, who gets a significant chunk of the set for his solo material, struggles a little with his changing voice, but those who know the studio versions inside-out will find the issue more charming than awkward. Also containing an additional live cut at the end of each disc, Live at the Forum is a treat for J5 fans, essential for those who picked up Hip-O Select's In Japan! (the first U.S. release of a 1974 Osaka gig). The packaging here is more elaborate, featuring in-depth liner notes from professor and author Mark Anthony Neal, several photos, and a set of detachable black-and-white photo cards. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released October 1, 1970 | UNI - MOTOWN

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After three consecutive Top Five Pop albums in 1970 alone, it was somewhat of a no-brainer that Motown would want to include a holiday long-player to that list. The Jackson 5's Christmas Album (1970) combines classic favorites as well as a handful of compositions penned by the Corporation. This all-star team of Motown staffers and musicians boasted composer Bobby Taylor, Deke Richards (guitar), Freddie Perren (keyboard), Fonce Mizell (keyboards), and label co-founder Berry Gordy. As they had done for each of the Jackson 5's previous platters, they carefully crafted and significantly modernized familiar seasonal selections. Leading off the effort is an unusual (for a pop act, anyway) two-part interpretation of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," commencing with a fairly rote reading before kicking into high gear during a fittingly R&B-inspired coda. They follow with an undeniably soulful update of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" and the fun and funky "Up on the Rooftop," which also adds instrumental elements of their hit "The Love You Save" with a few bars of "Here Comes Santa Claus" likewise worked into the mix. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is another standard that has been infused with a fresh spirit, once again yielding a well-chosen and adeptly executed revision. Although not as drastically overhauled, "Frosty the Snowman" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" are none the less thoroughly enjoyable. In terms of originals, the lovely "Give Love at Christmas" informed covers by fellow Motown staples the Temptations -- who used the tune as the title track for their 1980 Christmas entry -- Johnny Gill, and even a reggae version by the Tamlins. The Jacksons similarly shared the brisk and upbeat "Someday at Christmas" with the Temptations and Stevie Wonder, as well as Diana Ross, whose take is one of the highlights of her Very Special Season (1998) outing. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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ABC

R&B - Released July 1, 2008 | Motown

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Soul - Released September 8, 1970 | Motown

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During the fall of 1970, pop music lovers remained in the grip of Jackson 5 fever. The quintet's Third Album (1970) continued the trend with another huge crossover smash. Similarly, it followed its two predecessors into the upper echelons of the pop (number four) and R&B (number one) LP surveys. It further mirrored their first two collections by taking a pair of singles into the Top Five with the best-selling ballad "I'll Be There" (number one) and the loose and funky "Mama's Pearl." The latter was credited to "the Corporation," consisting of Bobby Taylor, instrumentalists Deke Richards (guitar), Freddie Perren (keyboard), Fonce Mizell (keyboards), and Motown founder Berry Gordy. Together, they had tailored the Jackson 5 to reflect the unmistakable Motown sound, expanding just enough to incorporate other significant influences as well. From the Thom Bell/William Hart Philly soul songbook comes the non-Motor City highlight "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" -- a focus track for the Delfonics a year earlier. The update of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage" and the midtempo closer, "Darling Dear" (which Robinson and company had concurrently included on their Pocket Full of Miracles LP from 1970), are likewise worthwhile spins. Perhaps not all that coincidentally, both releases also feature tastefully scored arrangements of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," with the Jacksons' version getting the nod. In addition to being the name of their forthcoming ABC-TV prime time special, "Goin' Back to Indiana" makes its debut appearance here as an upbeat acknowledgment of the Jackson brothers' native stomping grounds. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Soul - Released October 1, 1970 | Motown

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After three consecutive Top Five Pop albums in 1970 alone, it was somewhat of a no-brainer that Motown would want to include a holiday long-player to that list. The Jackson 5's Christmas Album (1970) combines classic favorites as well as a handful of compositions penned by the Corporation. This all-star team of Motown staffers and musicians boasted composer Bobby Taylor, Deke Richards (guitar), Freddie Perren (keyboard), Fonce Mizell (keyboards), and label co-founder Berry Gordy. As they had done for each of the Jackson 5's previous platters, they carefully crafted and significantly modernized familiar seasonal selections. Leading off the effort is an unusual (for a pop act, anyway) two-part interpretation of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," commencing with a fairly rote reading before kicking into high gear during a fittingly R&B-inspired coda. They follow with an undeniably soulful update of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" and the fun and funky "Up on the Rooftop," which also adds instrumental elements of their hit "The Love You Save" with a few bars of "Here Comes Santa Claus" likewise worked into the mix. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is another standard that has been infused with a fresh spirit, once again yielding a well-chosen and adeptly executed revision. Although not as drastically overhauled, "Frosty the Snowman" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" are none the less thoroughly enjoyable. In terms of originals, the lovely "Give Love at Christmas" informed covers by fellow Motown staples the Temptations -- who used the tune as the title track for their 1980 Christmas entry -- Johnny Gill, and even a reggae version by the Tamlins. The Jacksons similarly shared the brisk and upbeat "Someday at Christmas" with the Temptations and Stevie Wonder, as well as Diana Ross, whose take is one of the highlights of her Very Special Season (1998) outing. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1996 | Motown

The first single-disc Jackson 5 collection to take full advantage of the compact-disc medium, The Ultimate Collection is certainly the ultimate for any but the most hardcore fans. Ranging from 1969's "I Want You Back" to 1975's "I Am Love, Pts. 1-2," these 21 tracks include each of the group's hits, among them "ABC," "The Love You Save," "I'll Be There," "Never Can Say Goodbye," "Maybe Tomorrow," "Lookin' Through the Windows," "Get It Together," and "Dancing Machine." And unlike previous hits collections (barring only the multi-disc Anthology), there's plenty of space for more material: a few solo hits from Michael ("Got to Be There," "Rockin' Robin," "Just a Little Bit of You") and Jermaine ("Daddy's Home"), plus a pair of previously unreleased tracks ("It's Your Thing," a slowed-down Isleys cover, and "The Life of the Party"). Despite a few classic albums, the Jackson 5 were singles artists first and foremost, and their two-minute blasts of rhythm and energy are best-heard on a compilation. The best of that lot is this one. © John Bush /TiVo
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R&B - Released December 1, 1971 | Motown

The Jackson 5's first Greatest Hits album remains an excellent summation of the group's first few years, boasting 11 of their biggest hits, including "I Want You Back," "ABC," "Never Can Say Goodbye," "I'll Be There" and "Who's Lovin' You." Although this is a fine record for what it is, it has been replaced many times over the next 25 years, and it pales in terms of song selection to such latter-day compilations as The Ultimate Collection, which offer more songs, better liner notes and improved sound for not much more money. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2010 | UNI - MOTOWN

Although they were still getting hits, there were some problems creeping into the Jackson 5's Motown albums. The main one was that the company was no longer in the forefront of black music production, and their '60s-style efforts were sounding dated. Only Michael Jackson's individual brilliance and the group's polished performances salvaged much of this material, and they soon openly expressed their disapproval. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2010 | UNI - MOTOWN

The Jackson 5 closed out their celebrated Motown tenure with Moving Violation, a slight if intermittently engaging LP buoyed, as always, by the brothers' remarkable vocals. A slickly commercial overture to the growing disco audience, the record is a patchwork of borrowed sounds and styles, from the Philly soul-inspired title cut to the percolating nightclub groover "Body Language" to the futuristic climax "Time Explosion." It's telling that the siblings sound most galvanized on an over-the-top cover of the Supremes' "Forever Came Today," the album's lone nod to Motown's rich legacy. Also noteworthy is the gossamer ballad "All I Do Is Think of You," which anticipates the quiet storm sensibility of the decade to follow. It's also a showcase for the gorgeous sibling harmonies that would begin to fracture with Jermaine Jackson's subsequent exit from the Jackson 5 ranks. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2010 | UNI - MOTOWN

A new phase in the Jackson Five's career began with Lookin' Through the Windows (1972), the quintet's seventh release since 1969. The album came out in the wake of the stop-gap Goin' Back to Indiana (1971) from the Jackson 5's hour-long ABC-TV network special of the same name, and just in time for Christmas, Greatest Hits [1971] (1971). Their previous studio outing Maybe Tomorrow (1971) had proven to be the last created under the primary direction of Bobby Taylor, Deke Richards (guitar), Freddie Perren (keyboard), Fonce Mizell (keyboards) and Motown co-founder Berry Gordy, who were collectively credited as the Corporation. So this effort is padded with a few scraps from their tenure, such as the breezy "To Know," sounding like a mixture of Stevie Wonder and the Philly soul stylings of the O'Jays -- as well as the charming but unremarkable "If I Have to Move a Mountain"." The highlight from that cache is the funky "Don't Let Your Baby Catch You," bearing a propulsive groove would have effortlessly translated to Michael Jackson's post-Motown career. The LP spawned two R&B/pop crossovers. The first, an update of Thurston Harris' "Little Bitty Pretty One" features several different Jacksons on lead with an arrangement that immediately recalls Michael's solo cover of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin." Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, Michael's 45 climbed to the number two pop position less than a month before the Jackson Five landed in the Top 15 with their remake. While on the subject of outsourced musical influences, the introductory orchestration to the Clifton Davis-penned title track indicates an undeniable and pronounced nod to Isaac Hayes' "(Theme From) Shaft." They also commit a bouncy interpretation of Jackson Browne's "Doctor My Eyes." Meanwhile, the combo had to look no further than the copious Motown back catalog for their impressive opener, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" -- a selection initially brought to significance by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell some four years earlier. In 2001 Lookin' Through the Windows was coupled with the aforementioned Goin' Back to Indiana (1971) on to a double-play compact disc. One of the bonus cuts on that package is "Love Song," another Clifton Davis tune that first surfaced as the B-side to the "Lookin' Through the Windows" 7" single. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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R&B - Released December 18, 1969 | UNI - MOTOWN

Less than two weeks before the 1960s were left to be deciphered in the history books, Motown unleashed Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 (1969) and in doing so fittingly marked the beginning of a new era in crossover pop and soul. For all intents and purposes, this dozen-song disc introduced the world to the sibling talents of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and most significantly of all, a prepubescent powerhouse named Michael Jackson. The brothers' inextricably tight vocal harmonies were fueled by the ebullience of youth and inexperience while the flames of their collective success were stoked with the funkified vibe of urban America. Immediately evident is the influence that Sly & the Family Stone (whose "Stand!" is an unmitigated zenith in the Jackson 5's care), James Brown, and even Funkadelic had on the J5. In fact, the quintet would actually cover George Clinton's "I Bet You" on their sophomore effort, ABC (1970). The burgeoning sounds coming out of Philly were having a similarly sizable impact, as evidenced by the addition of the Thom Bell/William Hart track "Can You Remember," which is one of the album's highlights. Another discernibly affective force was found closer to home, as they also drew on the considerable Motown back catalog with "My Cherie Amour," "Standing in the Shadows of Love," and a powerful reading of "(I Know) I'm Losing You." Under the moniker of "the Corporation," Motown staffers and artists including Bobby Taylor, instrumentalists Deke Richards (guitar), Freddie Perren (keyboard) , and Fonce Mizell (keyboards), and the label's co-founder, Berry Gordy, came up with a handful of dominant originals. Prominent among them are the midtempo "Nobody" and their double-sided chart-topping single "I Want You Back" b/w the Smokey Robinson-penned "Who's Lovin' You." © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 1995 | Motown

Originally released in 1995, Soulsation! first surfaced as a four-disc CD box set of the Jackson 5's hits, misses, and rarities from their fruitful beginnings at Motown between 1969 and 1975. Along with ubiquitous classic hits like "I Want You Back" and "ABC," the compilation offered a deeper look into the band's catalog with lesser-known tracks, later-period material, and plenty of solo cuts from various members. This issue of Soulsation! focuses in on 18 tracks originally included as a fourth disc of unreleased tunes recorded mostly between 1969 and 1972. These unheard tracks include a grooved-out cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "Everybody Is a Star" and renditions of Motown hits by other artists such as "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "I Hear a Symphony," as well as original outtakes that didn't make it onto official albums. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 1973 | Hip-O Select

Available outside North America since the mid-'70s, In Japan! makes its debut thanks to the audio archivists at Hip-O Select. The online sonic shop went as far as re-creating the original gatefold album jacket -- in miniature of course -- and a 16-panel fold-out replicating the Japanese insert. Still known as the Jackson 5, Marlon, Tito, Randy, Jackie and Michael took to the stage of Osaka's Koseinenkin Hall in support of their most recent release Skywriter (1973) -- yet the extracts from the show on this title are filled primarily with familiar tunes not only from the quintet's sizable songbook of hits, but also selections gleaned from Michael Jackson's and Jermaine Jackson's respective solo catalogs. In fact, both brothers come out stronger than the collective ensemble with Michael performing "I Want to Be Where You Are," "Got to Be There" and "Ben," while Jermaine provides persuasive renderings of his early platters "That's How Love Goes," as well as covers of Shep & the Limelites' "Daddy's Home" and Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar." The show kicks off with sturdy, though unremarkable stabs at the Rare Earth side "We're Gonna Have a Good Time," followed by a half-hearted "Lookin' Through the Windows". It doesn't take long before they are able to turn the beat around on the inspired interpretation of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," which many may find worth the price of admission in and of itself. They similarly barrel into a propelling and hearty spin of the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," commencing with an eerily portentous siren during the prelude. Even as the version of "Never Can Say Goodbye" is among this set's zeniths, it is likewise the sole entry from the Jackson 5's extraordinary run of best-selling and chart-topping R&B/pop crossover smashes. Those omissions are not entirely unexpected, as they had come a great distance from the catchy bubblegum of "ABC," "I Want You Back," and "The Love You Save," maturing into decidedly more demanding roles within the band -- especially Jermaine and Michael, whose respective stars would continue their ascent during the ensuing decades. The aforementioned Hip-O Select edition of In Japan is limited to 5,000 copies and is available through their website www.hip-oselect.com. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Ambient/New Age - Released October 1, 1970 | UNI - MOTOWN

After three consecutive Top Five Pop albums in 1970 alone, it was somewhat of a no-brainer that Motown would want to include a holiday long-player to that list. The Jackson 5's Christmas Album (1970) combines classic favorites as well as a handful of compositions penned by the Corporation. This all-star team of Motown staffers and musicians boasted composer Bobby Taylor, Deke Richards (guitar), Freddie Perren (keyboard), Fonce Mizell (keyboards), and label co-founder Berry Gordy. As they had done for each of the Jackson 5's previous platters, they carefully crafted and significantly modernized familiar seasonal selections. Leading off the effort is an unusual (for a pop act, anyway) two-part interpretation of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," commencing with a fairly rote reading before kicking into high gear during a fittingly R&B-inspired coda. They follow with an undeniably soulful update of "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" and the fun and funky "Up on the Rooftop," which also adds instrumental elements of their hit "The Love You Save" with a few bars of "Here Comes Santa Claus" likewise worked into the mix. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is another standard that has been infused with a fresh spirit, once again yielding a well-chosen and adeptly executed revision. Although not as drastically overhauled, "Frosty the Snowman" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" are none the less thoroughly enjoyable. In terms of originals, the lovely "Give Love at Christmas" informed covers by fellow Motown staples the Temptations -- who used the tune as the title track for their 1980 Christmas entry -- Johnny Gill, and even a reggae version by the Tamlins. The Jacksons similarly shared the brisk and upbeat "Someday at Christmas" with the Temptations and Stevie Wonder, as well as Diana Ross, whose take is one of the highlights of her Very Special Season (1998) outing. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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R&B - Released October 24, 2000 | Motown

Newly remastered and recompiled for 2000, this version of the Jackson 5's Anthology takes the place of the original double-CD set, which was first issued on LP back in 1976. The main difference is that where the first Anthology featured some of Michael and Jermaine's earliest solo hits, this one is devoted exclusively to Jackson 5 material, with a little more detail added to the pictures of their early pop-soul years and their later disco-influenced work. All of the group's charting singles are here, as well as important B-sides and album tracks, including several songs that have never previously appeared on CD. Later hits like "Dancing Machine" and "Hum Along and Dance" are also presented in their full-length LP versions. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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R&B - Released January 1, 2010 | UNI - MOTOWN

For a brief time, it seemed as if the magic was back between Motown and the Jackson 5. The title track was their best up-tempo hit since "ABC," and put them back on top of the R&B charts for the first time in three years. It just missed topping the pop charts as well, peaking at number two. They even got a second chart hit from the album, and it restored their position within the pop and R&B communities. © Ron Wynn /TiVo