Who’s Lovin’ You” is a Motown soul song, written in 1960 by William “Smokey” Robinson. The song has been recorded by many different artists including The Miracles, who recorded the 1960 original version, The Temptations, The Supremes, Terence Trent D’arby, Brenda and The Tabulations, John Farnham, Human Nature, En Vogue, Michael Bublé and Giorgia Todrani and Jessica Mauboy. The most famous version is attributed to The Jackson 5. Twelve-year-old singer Shaheen Jafargholi performed the song at Michael Jackson‘s public memorial service in July 2009.
The most famous cover of “Who’s Lovin’ You”, and the one most future covers were based upon, was recorded on August 7, 1969 by The Jackson 5. Michael Jackson was the lead singer on this recording, with his brothers Marlon, Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie on background vocals; Bobby Taylor of The Vancouvers served as producer. The Jackson 5 version of “Who’s Lovin’ You” was one of a number of early recordings the group made at the Hitsville U.S.A. recording studio in Detroit, Michigan, with the Funk Brothers on instrumentation. Just after recording this song, Berry Gordy moved the entire Jackson family to Los Angeles, California to record the hit pop songs he would co-write for the group with The Corporation.
The song was issued as the b-side to The Jackson 5’s first single, “I Want You Back”, which went to #1 on both the pop and R&B charts. A shortened version was included on the first Jackson 5 LP, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. The original single version was twenty seconds longer, with fewer backing vocals and sparser instrumentation than the album version. The mono single mix was released on Michael’s Love Songs compilation release in 2002.
The Jackson 5 performed this on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance.
When the group performed the song during their concerts and live performances, Michael usually gave an intro about being really young but knowing about the blues, usually stating how he met the girl during sandbox and sharing cookies, and ended in “I stepped up to her and i said…” the song started from there. In their first concert in Philadelphia, it (along with “I Want You Back”) caused the show to be stopped for several minutes because of such a huge response from the audience. It was a regularly performed/popular song in their set-list from 1970 to early 1972, presumably dropped from the set because of more hits being released and Michael’s voice beginning to change in 1972.