Monday, July 26, 2010

Michael Monday: Digging Mathis, Three Dog Night

The very first issue of Right On! (October 1971) carried a four page piece with Michael talking about his favorite actor and his favorite music artists.

Some of his choices were surprising at the time -- especially Johnny Mathis as his favorite singer, when most of us only knew him from records our Grandmas had. But Michael was so consistent with his responses for so many years that we all soon got used to his eclectic tastes.

He cited his favorite group as Three Dog Night, and said his favorite song from them was "Mama Told Me Not to Come." Rumor has it that the Jackson 5 recorded a cover version of this song, but I find it hard to believe, because it seems so wildly inappropriate for young teens to record. But here is the original, performed live by Three Dog Night, so you can judge for yourself. Can you picture 13-year-old Michael singing this?


  1. Yeah, but J5 DID record a few inappropriate songs for young teens to sing. My girlfriend used to point 'em out in the '80s. Remember the original Mama's Pearl, even the revised one "you kiss for thrills and then draw the line" - damn, how far do ya wanna go, son? They were doing It's Your Thing really early - although it's so funky ypu overlook the subject matter. I think Rolling Stone mentioned Yvonne's raunchy opening act was a little inappropriate for the J5 audience, and I hated the song Touch with "if I satisfy you will you satisfy me" I couldn't even understand that at 12. Or the sexy guitars on the Ain't no Sunshine and Michael saying "and then you get it, and it's soooooo good to ya. I feel warm, soooo warm" Sounds like something Joe Tex would say. But then again, they didn't say the word "inappropriate" back then. It was the 70s, Barbara McNair (I think) had a TV show and always signed off "if it feels good, do it!"

  2. I actually could imagine Michael singing "Mama told me not to come", it sounds like it'd fit in with the way he used to phrase words and take pauses during certain songs. If that makes sense. Maybe Three Dog Day were one of his influences. To this day I still rather hate "Touch" it just seemed an odd choice for The Jackson 5.