Here are two incredibly badass appearances by the Jackson Five on ‘The Flip Wilson Show’. The first, from April 11,1971, is a medley of ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC and ‘The Love You Save’ (the transition between the first and second songs–at the one minute mark–is impressively seamless). The second clip features ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ and is usually listed as being from the same show though I wonder about that; nothing about the set, the audience, and little about the Jackson’s feels to me like its on the same night, much less in the same year. Anyway, many thanks to the YouTuber known as Jackson5Things for putting this up.

The catastrophic future of the Jackson family and particularly Michael was of course not yet known at the time of these early 70s appearances. I remember as a kid eagerly watching them whenever I heard they were appearing on a show and being entranced with their assuredness, little Michael’s unbelievable charm and charisma, and the entire acts perfect balance of sleek showmanship and killer groove. Putting aside the history we now know of the family is difficult but if you can blind yourself to it for ten minutes I think you’ll find the above clip profoundly joyous and rocking good way to begin the year.


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