Music Friday: Promise Ring Can’t Stop Michael Jackson’s Girlfriend From Chasing After Other Boys in 1970’s ‘The Love You Save’

Let’s take a musical voyage back to the summer of 1970, when The Jackson Five were burning up the Billboard Hot 100 charts with four consecutive #1 hits. Each of the songs has stood the test of time, but “The Love You Save” qualifies for our Music Friday feature because it includes an important reference to a promise ring.

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In the song, a 12-year-old Michael Jackson is maddened by a girlfriend who can’t seem to shake her cheating ways. When they were little kids, she was always chasing after the boys. Now that she’s older, a promise ring from Michael is not enough to keep her faithful.

Jackson sings, “When we grew up you traded / Your promise for my ring / Now just like back in grade school / You’re doin’ the same old thing.”

Music historians believe that the emphatic “stop” at the beginning of “The Love You Save” is a nod to The Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love,” which was released on the Motown label in 1965. Diana Ross, the lead singer of The Supremes, is often credited with having discovered The Jackson Five (also on Motown).

“The Love You Save” was the third of four rapidly released chart-toppers by The Jackson Five in 1970. The others included “I Want You Back,” “ABC” and “I’ll Be There.” These songs are often mashed and merged in still-popular Jackson Five medleys.

The founding members of the Jackson Five included brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. During a successful run from 1964 to 1990, The Jackson Five (later to be called The Jacksons) amassed international legions of screaming fans and sold more than 100 million records, making them one of the most successful groups of all time.

We hope you enjoy the neat clips at the end of this post. The first video, captured from the Diana! Special in 1971, features a 13-year-old Michael Jackson and his brothers singing “The Love You Save.” We’ve also added a bonus clip of a grown-up Michael and his brothers performing the same tune 12 years later at Motown’s 25th Anniversary gala. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“The Love You Save”
Written by Deke Richards, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell and Berry Gordy Jr.  Performed by The Jackson Five.

Stop, you better save it
Stop, stop, stop, you better save it, woo
Do do do do do …

When we played tag in grade school
You wanted to be it
But chasin’ boys was just a fad,
You crossed your heart, you’d quit
When we grew up you traded
Your promise for my ring
Now just like back in grade school
You’re doin’ the same old thing

Stop, the love you save may be your own
Darlin’ take it slow
Or some day you’ll be all alone
You better stop
The love you save may be your own
Darlin’ look both ways before you cross me
You’re heading for a danger zone

I’m the one who loves you
I’m the one you need
Those other guys will put you down
as soon as they succeed

They’ll ruin your reputation
They’ll label you a flirt
The way they talk about you
They’ll turn your name to dirt, oh.

Isaac said he kissed you, beneath the apple tree
When Benjii held your hand he felt electricity
When Alexander called you, he said he rang your chimes
Christopher discovered you’re way ahead of your time

Stop, the love you save may be your own
Darlin’ take it slow or some day you’ll be all alone
You better stop
The love you save may be your own
Darlin’ look both ways before you cross me
You’re headed for a danger zone
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on..

“S” is for save it
“T” is for take it slow
“O” is for oh, no
“P” is for please, please don’t go

The love you save may be your own
Some day you may be all alone
Stop it
Save it girl
Baby, ooh
You’d better stop
The love you save may be your own
Please, please or some day, some day baby
You’ll be heading for a danger zone
(All alone)

I’m the one who loves you
I’m the one you need
Those other guys will put you down
As soon as they succeed

Ooh, stop, the love you save may be your own oh baby
You better stop it, stop it, stop it girl or someday you’ll be all alone

The way they talk about you
They’ll turn your name, turn your name
Stop, the love you save may be your own
Don’t you know, don’t you know
Some day baby you’ll be heading for a danger zone
(All alone)

Those other guys will put you down
As soon as they succeed
(Fade Out)

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