"Never Can Say Goodbye" is a song written by Clifton Davis and originally recorded by The Jackson 5. Released as a single in 1971, it was one of the group's most successful songs. The song has been covered numerous times, most notably in 1974 by disco diva Gloria Gaynor and in 1987 by Hi-NRG/dance-pop group The Communards.
The recording features 11-year-old Michael Jackson singing a serious song about a 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 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and a number-one hit on the Billboard Black Singles chart in the United States. In the United Kingdom, it reached number thirty-three on the UK Singles Chart. An alternate version appears on the Jackson 5 CD "I Want You Back! Unreleased Masters" released in 2009.
|"Never Can Say Goodbye"|
|Single by Gloria Gaynor|
|from the album Never Can Say Goodbye|
|B-side||"We Just Can't Make It"|
|Released||November 13, 1974 (U.S.)|
|Format||Vinyl record(7" 45 RPM)|
|Producer||Jay Ellis, Meco Monardo, Tony Bongiovi, Harold Wheeler|
|Gloria Gaynor singles chronology|
A second major version, reimagined as a disco record by Gloria Gaynor in 1974, was a number-nine hit on the U.S. Pop Singles chart and went to number thirty-four on the Soul Singles chart. The Gloria Gaynor version became one of the defining recordings of the disco era. Indeed, in the UK, Gaynor's version peaked at #2 in the chart during January 1975. This version, released on MGM records, was produced by the Disco Corporation of America, a production company newly formed by Meco Monardo and Tony Bongiovi to which Gaynor was signed. Also working on this production were Jay Ellis and Harold Wheeler.
Though perhaps best known for her 1978/1979 hit "I Will Survive", Gaynor's version of "Never Can Say Goodbye" has the distinction of occupying the number-one spot on the very first Dance/Disco chart ever to appear in Billboard magazine. Never Can Say Goodbye was also the title of Gaynor's debut album on which the single appeared.
The Newark, New Jersey, native has re-recorded the song on more than one occasion, in increasingly Hi-NRG tempos, and subsequent remixes have hit the dance charts.
|"Never Can Say Goodbye"|
|Single by The Communards|
|from the album Red|
|B-side||"'77, The Great Escape" (7")|
"Tomorrow" [Remix] (U.S. 12")
|Released||1987 (International release)|
|Format||Vinyl record(7" 45) (12" single) CD Maxi Single|
|Genre||Hi-NRG, dance, disco|
|Length||4:30 (7" 45 RPM)
7:50 (12" single) 7:50 and 5:35 (CD Maxi single)
|Label||London Records (UK) / MCA Records (U.S.) / Metronome (Germany)|
Remix and additional production byShep Pettibone
|The Communards singles chronology|
In 1987, British pop band The Communards had a hit with a Hi-NRG cover of the Clifton Davis classic, which was featured on their second album, Red.
Their version is faithful to Gaynor's disco version and it reached number four in the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot Dance/Disco chart in the U.S. The group had reached number one on those charts covering another 1970s classic, "Don't Leave Me This Way", in 1986.
The energetic music video of this version is classified as a classic by cable video channel VH1.
The song was covered by a number of artists, including Isaac Hayes, Grant Green, Andy Williams, Junior Walker, The Supremes (in 1971) , Smokey Robinson (in 1973) , Cal Tjader,David T. Walker, The Sandpipers, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Herbie Mann, Yazz, Sheena Easton, Vanessa Williams, Gerald Albright, Sonny & Cher, David Benoit,Westlife, The Impact of Brass and Matchstik "The Mj Tribute".
Isaac Hayes recorded the song in 1971 and re-recorded it for the 2008 film Soul Men, in which he appears alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac. The film's producers dedicated the 2008 version to both Mac and Hayes, who both died before the project was released.
In 2008, pianist David Benoit recorded a version for his covers-packed album "Heroes" and saxophonist Gerald Albright covered the song on the album "Sax for Stax." In 2009, keyboardist Bob Baldwin along with guitarist Chuck Loeb covered the song from Bob's album "Lookin' Back."
Guitarist Zachary Breaux covered the song on his 1997 album, Uptown Groove, and the final studio album released before his untimely death the following month.
The Astronomical Kid sampled the song in a performance during The X Factor USA
- The Jackson 5 version appears in the 1994 movie Crooklyn and on the second volume of its soundtrack album.
- Nicole Kidman sings a few lines of the song in the animated film Happy Feet (2006).
- Will Ferrell sang the song on the first episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
- The song was in the Charmed episode "That 70's Episode".
- Jorge Núñez sang the song on the top 13 show on American Idol season 8.
- J Xavier sampled the Jackson 5 version for his single, "I Love My Music".
- Dianna Agron sang the song in the Michael Jackson tribute episode "Michael" of the hit TV show Glee.
- The song is the theme tune to the 2013 British comedy show Vicious (TV series)
- Written by Clifton Davis
Never Can Say Goodbye was originally copyrighted on June 10, 1970 [EU0000187089] and then was copyrighted again on December 21, 1970 [EP0000281027]
- Lead vocals: Michael Jackson
- Background vocals: Jackie Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Marlon Jackson
- Produced by Hal Davis
- Instrumentation by various Los Angeles studio musicians