Never Can Say Goodbye

Never Can Say Goodbye
"Never Can Say Goodbye"
Single by Jackson 5
from the album Maybe Tomorrow
Released March 16, 1971 (U.S.)
Format Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)
Recorded June 1970
Hitsville West, Los Angeles, CA
Genre Soul
Length 2:58
Label Motown
Writer(s) Clifton Davis
Producer Hal Davis
Jackson 5 singles chronology
"Mama's Pearl"
"Never Can Say Goodbye"
"Maybe Tomorrow"
"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)
Recorded 1974
Genre Soul, Disco
Length 3:00
Label MGM Records
Writer(s) Clifton Davis
Producer Jay Ellis, Meco Monardo, Tony Bongiovi, Harold Wheeler
Gloria Gaynor singles chronology
"Honey Bee"
"Never Can Say Goodbye"
Reach Out, I'll Be There"
"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)
Writer(s) Clifton Davis
Producer Stephen Hague
Remix and additional production by Shep Pettibone
The Communards singles chronology
"Never Can Say Goodbye"
"For a Friend"

"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 Jackson 5

The recording features 12-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.[1] 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.

Gloria Gaynor version

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.[2] 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.[3]

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.

The Communards version

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.

Scottish lead singer Jimmy Somerville, openly gay on record since his previous band Bronski Beat released "Smalltown Boy" in 1984, performed a falsetto version faithful to Gaynor's disco take, right down to the pronouns "you know you love him more and more" and "never can say goodbye, boy".

The Communards' version 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.[citation needed]

The Communards version was also featured in Father's Day, in the first series of the revived Doctor Who, set in 1987.

Other covers

The song was later covered by a number of artists, including Isaac Hayes, Junior Walker, The Supremes (in 1971) [4] , Smokey Robinson (in 1973) [5] , Cal Tjader, David T. Walker, The Sandpipers, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Herbie Mann, Yazz, Sheena Easton, Vanessa Williams, Gerald Albright, 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"[6][7] and saxophonist Gerald Albright covered the song on the album "Sax for Stax."[8][9] In 2009, urban jazz keyboardist Bob Baldwin along with guitarist Chuck Loeb covered the song from Bob's album "Lookin' Back."[10][11]

In 2010, Chinese singer Olivia Ong recorded a bossa nova based cover on her Olivia album.

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.

In popular culture

  • 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".

The Neptunes remixed Never Can Say Goodbye on the album Michael Jackson: The Remix Suite (1989).


Never Can Say Goodbye was originally copyrighted on June 10, 1970 [EU0000187089] and then was copyrighted again on December 21, 1970 [EP0000281027]

The Jackson 5

Gloria Gaynor


Preceded by
"What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye
Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles number-one single (The Jackson 5 version)
May 1, 1971 – May 15, 1971
Succeeded by
"Bridge over Troubled Water" by Aretha Franklin
Preceded by
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (Gloria Gaynor version)
October 26, 1974 – November 16, 1974
Succeeded by
"Express" by B.T. Express

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Never Can Say Goodbye — Single par The Jackson Five extrait de l’album Maybe Tomorrow Sortie 16 mars 1971 Enregistrement 1970 Los Angeles Durée 2:58 3:18 (The …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Never Can Say Goodbye — Never Can Say Goodbye …   Википедия

  • Never Can Say Goodbye — «Never Can Say Goodbye» Sencillo de The Jackson 5 del álbum Maybe Tomorrow Publicación 16 de marzo de 1971 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Never Can Say Goodbye (Gloria Gaynor album) — Never Can Say Goodbye Studio album by Gloria Gaynor Released 1975 …   Wikipedia

  • Never Can Say Goodbye: The Music of Michael Jackson — Studio album by Joey DeFrancesco Released September 14, 2010 ( …   Wikipedia

  • say goodbye to (something) — kiss/say/wave goodbye to (something) if you say goodbye to something, you accept that you will not have it any more or that you will not get it. You can say goodbye to your Ј10. Tom never repays his debts …   New idioms dictionary

  • Never Say Goodbye (Bon Jovi song) — Never Say Goodbye Single by Bon Jovi from the album Slippery When Wet Released …   Wikipedia

  • Never Say Goodbye (musical) — Never Say Goodbye Japanese production poster Music Frank Wildhorn Lyrics Shûichirô Koike Book …   Wikipedia

  • Never Say Goodbye (Sarah Bettens album) — Never Say Goodbye Live album by Sarah Bettens Released 2008 …   Wikipedia

  • Say Goodbye (Chris Brown song) — Infobox Single Name = Say Goodbye Artist = Chris Brown Album = Chris Brown and the Step Up soundtrack Released = July 21 2006 Format = CD single Recorded = 2005 Genre = Pop, R B Length = 4:49 Label = Jive Writer = Bryan Michael Cox, Kendrick… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.