Got to Be There (2013 Remaster)
Michael Jackson was already the successful lead singer of The Jackson 5 when Motown chief Berry Gordy decided the 13-year-old should start his solo career. Gordy put his A-team together for Jackson's 1972 solo debut, and three U.S. hit singles—the title track, "Rockin' Robin," and "I Wanna Be Where You Are"—justified his faith and efforts. The young Michael shows incredible vocal range on "Maria (You Were the Only One)" and sings Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" and Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" with sensitivity and craft, beyond the songs' obvious purpose to fill the album with popular hits of the day. The entire album has a consistent early-'70s feel; it's the commercial side of a sound that was often used for sociopolitical material by the adult soul music stars of the era. Jackson's take on The Supremes' 1967 hit "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone" and the in-house Motown track "Wings of My Love" are easy adaptations for him.