Release Date

April 12, 1971

“Never Can Say Goodbye” is a song written by Clifton Davis and originally recorded by the Jackson 5. The song was originally written and intended for the Supremes; however, Motown decided it would be better for the Jackson 5. It was the first single released from the group’s 1971 album Maybe Tomorrow, and was one of the group’s most successful records.

The recording features 11-year-old Michael Jackson singing a serious song about love, with accompaniment from his brothers. Although such a record was unusual for a teenage group, “Never Can Say Goodbye” was a number-two hit for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, stuck behind Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” (May 8–22, 1971), and a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the United States. In the United Kingdom, it reached number 33 on the UK Singles Chart.