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Music Friday: She's Wearing Michael Jackson's Promise Ring But Still Chasing Other Boys in ‘The Love You Save’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun throwback songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we step into our time machine and dial in May 10, 1970, the day The Jackson 5 performed “The Love You Save” on The Ed Sullivan Show.

In the song, a 12-year-old Michael Jackson is tormented 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, Michael's promise ring 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.”

“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.

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).

According to Songfacts.com, the original lyrics of "The Love You Save" concerned traffic safety. The writing team of Deke Richards, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell and Berry Gordy Jr. (also known as "The Corporation") altered the safety song to fit the style of The Jackson 5. In the end, Songfacts.com reported, the only elements of the original to survive were the title and the line "Darling, look both ways before you cross me."

The founding members of The Jackson Five included brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. During a successful run from 1964 to 1990, the group (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.

Fun trivia: About halfway through the song, Michael calls out four rivals by name: "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."

A closer look at the lyrics reveals that he's actually referencing Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell and Christopher Columbus.

We hope you enjoy the clip of The Jackson 5 performing "The Love You Save" on The Ed Sullivan Show. 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)

Credit: Image by CBS Television [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons