Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

I Just Can't Stop Loving You

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B-side  "Baby Be Mine"
Format  7" / 12" / CD single
Genre  Pop R&B
Released  July 20, 1987
Recorded  May 1987
Length  4:25 (Album version) 4:17 (7" w/ spoken intro) 4:12 (7" w/o spoken intro)

"I Just Can't Stop Loving You" is a 1987 duet ballad by Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett, and was the first single released from his seventh album, Bad. The song was written by Jackson, and co-produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, R&B and adult contemporary charts.

Contents

The song became the first of five consecutive number-one Hot 100 singles from the Bad album. It was Jackson's second number-one song on the AC chart (his first, coincidentally, had also been a duet: 1982's "The Girl Is Mine" with Paul McCartney). It was released without an accompanying music video.

The presence of Garrett on the track was a last-minute decision by Jackson and Jones, after Jackson's first two choices for the duet, Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston, both decided against participating. Garrett, a protégé of Jones's who co-wrote another song on Bad, "Man in the Mirror", did not know that she would be singing the song until the day of the recording session. It became her first hit since Dennis Edwards' 1984 song "Don't Look Any Further".

Jackson and Garrett later recorded "Todo Mi Amor Eres Tú", a Spanish-language version of the song, with lyrics translated by Rubén Blades, and "Je Ne Veux Pas La Fin De Nous", a French-language version, with translation by Christine "Coco" Decroix. All three versions are featured on the 2012 reissue album Bad 25. The original English-language version was re-released as a single in 2012, as part of the Bad 25 release.

Background and writing

For the duet ballad "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," Michael Jackson wanted to share vocals with Barbra Streisand or Whitney Houston. Both singers took a pass on the invitation. The co-duet duties were given to Siedah Garrett who had previously dueted on former Temptations member Dennis Edwards' "Don't Look Any Further." Garrett first came to the attention of producer Quincy Jones after auditioning for and winning a spot in the group Deco. She later signed as a recording artist with Jones' Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. The singer was constantly sent song demos including one for "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," though she didn't know that the demo was a song written and sung by Jackson. While reporting for a recording session, Garrett thought that she was summoned to do overdubs for a song she'd co-written titled "Man in the Mirror." Instead she was surprised to learn that she'd been chosen to sing a duet with Jackson. To some, the wispy ballad was reminiscent of Jackson's Motown classic "Got to Be There."

The original album version of the song opened with Jackson cooing a tremulous spoken intro backed by a longer version of the opening music. According to Jackson, he recorded that part of his song while lying in bed. The intro went, in part, "I just want to lay next to you for awhile. You look so beautiful tonight... A lot of people misunderstand me. That's because they don't know me at all. I just want to touch you and hold you..." This intro was mixed out on the 7" single, on future releases of Bad and on most compilation albums. An alternate version of the single, featuring the original mastered album version mix with the spoken word intro for "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" backed by the album outtake "Don't Be Messin' 'Round", was released in select Walmart stores in 2012 to mark the release of Bad 25.

Critical reception

"I Just Can't Stop Loving You" received mixed reviews from contemporary music critics. Sputnikmusic's staff gave to the song 4 out of 5 stars, writing: "It's not one the most fondly remembered songs on the album but I've come to appreciate it more as I listen to it, especially the instrumentation at the start. It's a nice song really, the lyrics are a bit soppy but still it adds something different to the album and the vocals are top notch." Richard Cromelin from Los Angeles Times was negative with the song, and particularly the spoken word opening, writing: "The soliloquy is meant to be revealing, tender and vulnerable, but with his quivering timbre and the haunting music behind, it comes off a little creepy, like Norman Bates gearing up for "Psycho IV'." Davitt Sigerson from Rolling Stone wrote a review about the song, commenting:

"Churls may bemoan 'I Just Can't Stop Loving You,' Jackson's duet with the often indistinguishable Siedah Garrett, as a second unworthy entry. Without descending to musical McCarthyism and questioning the honor of anyone who can fault a record with both finger snaps and timpani, it need only be asked, Who, having heard the song at least twice, can fail to remember that chorus?"

Chart performance

"I Just Can't Stop Loving You" was the lead single from Jackson's much-anticipated Bad album. The single debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at #37, the week of August 8, 1987. The single was the highest debuting single of 1987, and quickly traveled to the top quarter of the Hot 100, advancing to #16 in its second week, and soaring to #1 in its seventh week on the tally, the week of September 19, 1987.

However, due to the album title track's quick release as a single (it debuted on the Hot 100 at #40 in the same week that "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" hit number one), the duet had a relatively short chart run and fell out of the top 40 just five weeks after topping the chart, spending a total of 11 weeks in the top 40. Billboard ranked it as #43 on the year-end Hot 100 chart for 1987.

The track spent three weeks at number one on Billboard's Adult Contemporary singles chart, becoming only the second Michael Jackson single to top that chart and the last one to date (although "Man in the Mirror" would come close to topping the chart when it reached #2 in 1988). In the United Kingdom, the song reached #1 on the UK Singles Chart for the week of August 11, 1987 and ranked #30 on the year-end UK tally.

In his autobiography, Moonwalk, Jackson stated the song was not written with someone in mind, but that he had been thinking of someone when singing the song live.

Live performances

Jackson performed the song on his Bad World Tour with background singer Sheryl Crow and on his Dangerous World Tour with Siedah Garrett. He also performed the song at the Royal Concert in Brunei with Marva Hicks. Live versions of the song are available on the DVDs Live at Wembley July 16, 1988 and Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour.

Jackson would have performed it on This Is It with Judith Hill, but the concert series was canceled due to his sudden death. However, this is a featured song in the movie Michael Jackson's This Is It. As a tribute to Jackson, Hill recorded and released a "sequel" to the song, entitled "I Will Always Be Missing You".

Releases

  • CD promo:
    1. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (7" version) – 4:12
  • US 7" single
    1. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (with spoken intro) – 4:17
    2. "Baby Be Mine" – 4:20
  • US 12" special edition single
    1. "Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu" – 4:06
    2. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (7" version) – 4:12
  • US 3" CD single
    1. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (7" version) – 4:12
    2. "Baby Be Mine" – 4:20
  • American CD single Wal-Mart exclusive
    1. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (original album version) - 4:25
    2. "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" (demo) - 4:19

    Mixes

    1. Album version / Original album mix* – 4:25
    2. 7" version – 4:11 *This version replaced the original version on the later releases of Bad
    3. "Todo mi amor eres tú" Spanish version – 4:06 (which means "You Are All My Love")
    4. "Je ne veux pas la fin de nous" French version – 4:06 (which means "I Don't Want the End of Us")
    5. Live version from Live at Wembley July 16, 1988, included in the deluxe edition of Bad 25 – 4:25
    6. "You Are Not Alone"/"I Just Can't Stop Loving You," remix included on Immortal – 6:08

    2012 reissue

    On June 5, 2012, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Jackson's Bad album (on which "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" appears), the single was re-released to Walmart stores in the United States, but was denied a digital release. The single included the original 1987 edit of "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," which included the spoken word intro that was removed from current versions of the Bad album, as well as "Don't Be Messin' 'Round," an untouched demo that was recorded for the album in 1986. On Billboard''s Hot Singles Sales Chart, which ranks the best-selling physical singles of the week, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" debuted at no. 1 with 5,000 copies sold. This gave Jackson his first no. 1 single on a Billboard chart since 2003, when "One More Chance" spent three weeks atop the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Singles Sales Chart. The vinyl single was released in USA on June 26, 2012.

    Track listing

  • CD single (88725414922)
    1. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (Album Version) - 4:23
    2. "Don't Be Messin' 'Round" (Demo) - 4:19
  • 7" single
    1. "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" (with spoken intro) – 4:25
    2. "Baby Be Mine" – 4:20

    Covers

  • In 2001, Gloria Estefan & James Ingram performed the song in Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special.
  • Contemporary jazz guitarist Chuck Loeb (pronounced Lobe) presented his rendition from his 2002 album "My Shining Hour."
  • In 2009, the top 8 finalists of Latin American Idol performed the Spanish version "Todo mi amor eres tú", directed by Jon Secada as a tribute to Michael Jackson.
  • In 2012, Glee performed the song in their Michael Jackson tribute episode.
  • In 2012, Italian jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava released a version on his tribute album Rava on the Dance Floor.
  • In 2013, Toby Love covered the Spanish version of the song in bachata as the second single from his album Amor Total. His version reached number one on the Billboard Tropical Songs chart and in the Dominican Republic. Love's cover led to Rubén Blades receiving the ASCAP Latin Award on the Tropical category in 2014.
  • References

    I Just Can't Stop Loving You Wikipedia


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