Marketing agents at Motown have been documented stating that Diana Ross was credited with “discovering The Jackson 5” as a way to attach the group to an established star.
In reality, the credit goes to fellow Motown artists Bobby Taylor (who would go on to produce most of their first album) and Gladys Knight.
It was Taylor and Knight who were impressed with The Jackson 5, after seeing them perform on amateur night first at The Regal theater in Chicago and later at The Apollo in Harlem, New York.
Gladys’ word carried little weight at Motown since she hadn’t released anything substantial for the label, while Taylor had written and produced several hits for Gordy.
After their successful audition, the group stayed at Bobby Taylor’s apartment in Detroit.
“that night we stayed at Bobby Taylor’s apartment in Detroit and called Mother in Gary, each one of us taking turns on the phone to tell her how brilliantly the night had gone,” Jermaine Jackson recalled.
“Did they like it? Did really?,” Katherine Jackson replied. “I’m so proud of you boys.”
When an excited Bobby Taylor ran into Motown’s offices hallways, excited that his discovery had been signed, Berry Gordy calmed him down.
“Taylor let me tell you something. As soon as they get rich they’re gonna forget who you are.”
After the group’s debut album, which featured production by Bobby Taylor, they switched producers and began using a collective at Motown known as The Corporation (Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell, Deke Richards and Freddie Perren).