The Jackson 5

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The Jackson 5 (also spelled The Jackson Five or The Jackson 5ive, abbreviated as J5, and later known as The Jacksons) were an American popular music act, active from 1962 to 1990, whose repertoire combined R&B, soul, funk, and later disco. All six members of the group were the male children of Katherine and Joseph Jackson (who also served as the boys' manager): Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael, and Randy, who replaced Jermaine in 1975. Originally signed to the Motown label from 1969 to 1975, and to CBS Records (as "The Jacksons") from 1975 until their disbanding in 1990, the Jackson 5 were one of the most popular groups of the era, eventually selling over 100 million records worldwide and becoming the only performers to have their first four singles ("I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There") reach the top of the American charts.



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The Jackson 5 in 1970. From left to right: Michael, Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon, and Tito
  • Jackie Jackson (1962-1989): The eldest brother, Jackie was a high tenor singer and, prior to a musical career, a baseball player. He had a solo career, releasing three albums, and eventually married Enid Jackson, also later having an affair with singer Paula Abdul.
  • Tito Jackson (1962-1989): Another original member, baritone singer and guitarist Tito has enjoyed a solo career as a blues musician.
  • Jermaine Jackson (1962-1975; 1984-1989): A singer and bass player, Jermaine stayed with the group until the others switched from Motown to CBS Records. He stayed with Motown to pursue a solo career, achieving moderate success.
  • Marlon Jackson (1963-1989): Joining the year after the band was formed along with Michael, Marlon was sometimes beaten for his failure to live up to his brother's dancing skills. He eventually eloped with a fan, Carol, and, due to friction with his brothers, did not perform on the group's last album. He released one solo LP. Marlon then became a real estate broker and co-owner of Major Broadcasting Corporation.
  • Michael Jackson (1963-1989): During his tenure with the Jackson 5, Michael was clearly the most popular member. He was the only one of the brothers to have a consistent solo career, and has become one of the most famous musicians in the world.
  • Randy Jackson (1972-1989): Randy unofficially began performing with the Jackson 5 in 1972, playing congas. He became an official member of the group in 1975, replacing Jermaine when the Jackson 5 moved to CBS Records and officially changed their name to "The Jacksons".

Band Personnel

  • Milford Hite (1962-1967): Was the original drummer of the group before he was replaced during the early years in Indiana.
  • Reynaud Jones (1962-1975): Was one of the group's first keyboardists who stayed with them from the Indiana days to their Motown tenure.
  • Johnny Jackson (1967-1975): Johnny was the group's on-stage drummer until the end of its Motown tenure.
  • Ronnie Rancifer (1962-1975): Ronnie was one of the group's on-stage keyboardists from its inception until the end of its Motown tenure.

Influences and followers

The Jackson 5's sound was influenced by many of the biggest stars of the 1960s, especially including family funk bands Sly & the Family Stone and The Isley Brothers, soul pioneer Marvin Gaye, doo wop boy band Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and soul shouters like Jackie Wilson, Joe Tex, Stevie Wonder and James Brown [1] ( At the time of their early success, soul and funk stars, especially coming from Motown Records, were among the most popular musicians; Motown had launched the careers of dozens of the decade's biggest stars, most notably Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, and Diana Ross & the Supremes. Coming after the label's most famous acts, the Jacksons were "the last big stars to come rolling off (the Motown) assembly line" (Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Records). Their influence on later performers has been profound, inspiring a number of performers from diverse fields, including indie rock band Dashboard Confessional [2] (, New Jack Swing group New Edition [3] ( and boy band Hanson [4] ( The Jackson 5 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and have two songs ("ABC" and "I Want You Back") that are among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.


Early career

The Jacksons were a working-class family from Gary, Indiana. Katherine raised the children as Jehovah's Witnesses, and they therefore were not allowed to have many leisure activities. Joe, a steel mill employee who often performed in an R&B band called "The Falcons" with his brother Luther, was a strict disciplinarian; many of the Jackson children recall being severely beaten by Joe for misbehaving. The children found an outlet in music, with elder brothers Jackie (born 1951), Tito (b. 1953), and Jermaine (b. 1954) borrowing their father's guitar without his permission and playing along to the radio. Younger brothers Marlon (b. 1957) and Michael (b. 1958) would be allowed to watch, as long as they didn't tell. Joe eventually discovered that the older three boys were playing his guitar when one of the strings broke [5] (; although he was furious at first, he realized the boys had talent, and began making plans to create a musical act for them.

In 1962, Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine began performing around the Gary area with two neighborhood children, Milford Hite (on drums) and Reynaud Jones (on keyboards), in a group called The Jackson Brothers. Joe Jackson served as the manager, at first only part-time, and then eventually quitting his job at the steel mill. Jermaine sang lead and played bass, and Tito played guitar. In 1963, younger brothers Marlon and Michael, joined the group as its tambourine and bongo players. Already showing talent as a singer and dancer, Michael would replace Jermaine as lead vocalist by mid-1967, and Shirley Cartman, Tito's junior high orchestra teacher, noticed the group's talents and served as an early mentor for the group, now called The Jackson Five.

During this period, the boys toured Indiana extensively, and after winning a major local talent show in 1966 with a rendition of The Temptations' "My Girl", led by Michael, they began playing professional gigs. In 1967, the Jackson Five won the Amateur Night competition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, impressing Motown Records artist Gladys Knight of The Pips. Knight recommended the group to Motown chief Berry Gordy, but Gordy, who already had Stevie Wonder on his roster, was hesitant to take on another child act because of the child labor laws and other problems involved. That same year, the Jackson Five made their first recordings for the Steeltown label in 1967; one of them, "Big Boy," became a regional hit.

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The cover to the Jackson 5's first LP, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, released on Motown Records in 1969.

Joining Motown

For one of their performances in 1968, the Jackson 5 opened for Motown group Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers at Chicago's Regal Theater. Taylor was also very impressed with the boys, and he and Motown executive Suzanne de Passe arranged for the Jackson Five to audition for the label inside the label's Hitsville, U.S.A. studios. Bery Gordy was not present, but the audition was videotaped and sent to him in Los Angeles. Gordy's initial reluctance to sign the group disappeared when he finally saw the boys perform, and decide to sign them to Motown.

Motown began negotiations to buy out the Jackson Five's Steeltown contract, completing the deal in March 1969. By the summer, Bobby Taylor began producing the group's first recordings at Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. recording studio in Detriot. The early Taylor-produced Jackson Five records were all covers of both contemporary hits and Motown-standards, including Sly & the Family Stone's "Stand!" and their famous rendition of The Miracles' "Who's Lovin' You", written by Smokey Robinson.

In mid-August 1969, Gordy moved the Jackson Five and Joseph to California, and he and Suzanne de Passe began the process of grooming them as the label's next big act. The rest of the Jackson family remained in Gary until Joseph found the family a house. Until then, he, Jermaine, Tito, and Jackie lived with Gordy, while Michael and Marlon lived with Diana Ross.

The Jackson 5 practiced and rehearsed continuously during the late summer and early fall of 1969. Diana Ross formally introduced the Jackson 5 to the public on August 11, 1969, at a Beverly Hills, California club called The Daisy. Towards the end of August, the Jackson Five made their first television appearance, singing The Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" at the Miss Black America Pageant in Madison Square Gardens, New York City.

The Jackson 5's first single, "I Want You Back," was written and produced by a collective of Motown songwriters and producers, including Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell, Deke Richards, and Freddie Perren, who were collectively known as The Corporation™. "I Want You Back" was released as a single for The Jackson 5, as Motown decided to officially bill the group as, on October 7. The group performed "I Want You Back" and Sly & the Family Stone's "Sing A Simple Song" as part of their appearance on The Hollywood Palace as special guests of Diana Ross & the Supremes. "I Want You Back" was the only single from the Jackson 5's first album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, which was released in December, 1969.

Now successful, Joseph was finally able to arrange to move Katherine and the rest of the family out to California in 1970. First moving into a two-story residence at 1616 Queens Road in Los Angeles, the Jackson family would move to a gated mansion they called "Havenhurst", which was purchased by Joseph in March 1971.

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A scene from Rankin-Bass's The Jackson 5ive Saturday morning cartoon.


Most of the early Jackson 5 singles were written and produced by The Corporation, who crafted for the Jackson 5 a combination of the "Motown Sound" and bubblegum pop that they termed "bubblegum soul". The Jackson 5 became an instant sensation, with "I Want You Back" and its 1970 follow-ups "ABC", "The Love You Save", and "I'll Be There" all going to #1 on both the Billboard Pop Singles chart and the Billboard Black Singles (R&B) chart. Other early Top 5 hits included "Mama's Pearl" and "Never Can Say Goodbye."

"Jacksonmania" swept the nation, and Motown licensed dozens of Jackson 5-related products, including stickers, sewable patches, posters, coloring books, and other juvenille-related material. A new teen magazine aimed at African-American youth, Right On!, began publication in 1971, and focused heavily on the Jackson 5 (at least one Jackson adorned the cover of every issue published between January 1972 and April 1974). Animation producers Rankin-Bass produced The Jackson 5ive, a Saturday morning cartoon that debuted on September 11, 1971 and ran for two seasons on ABC. The Jackson 5 starred in two of their own television specials, Goin' Back to Indiana (aired September 16 1971) and The Jackson 5 Show (aired November 5 1972).

The Jackson 5 can be considered one of the first major American boy bands, not only because of their meticulously designed image and packaging, but also because of their significant popularity with adolescent girls. Thousands of young girls fell in love with the Jackson brothers, especially Jermaine and Michael. Tito was the first Jackson brother to marry, wedding his high school girlfriend Dee Dee in 1971. Against the wishes of his father, Jermaine married Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel at a gala wedding ceremony held on December 15 1973 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Expanding and continuing the Jackson 5 franchise

In 1971, Motown began a spin-off solo career for Michael, whose first single, "Got to Be There", was a Top 5 hit. Michael also sung the title track for the 1972 motion picture Ben. His other successful solo singles included "Rockin' Robin" (1972) and "I Wanna Be Where You Are" (1973). Jermaine started a solo career of his own in 1972, and had a Top Ten hit with his Shep and the Limelites cover "Daddy's Home." Jackie also recorded a solo album, but his releases failed to chart. Despite fan rumors that all three Jacksons might leave the group as they released solo work, the solo careers of Michael, Jermaine, and Jackie coexisted alongside that of the group as a whole, allowing Motown to expand the success and sales of Jackson 5-related releases.

After 1972, the Jackson 5's releases were less immensely successful, but they still did very well. Later Top 20 hits included "Lookin' Through the Windows" (1972) and the disco-styled "Dancing Machine" (1974), which popularized the "Robot" dance routine. Jackson 5 albums declined somewhat in critical acclaim and financial success during the latter part of their Motown tenure, although LPs such as Lookin' Thru the Windows (1972) and Get It Together (1973) frequently included successful album tracks, including their version of "Hum Along and Dance", a popular number in their live act.

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The cover to the 1978 album Destiny.

The move to CBS Records

In 1975, Joseph negotiated a new record deal with CBS Records, who offered a royalty rate of 20% per record, compared to Motown's standard 2.8%; and would allow the Jackson brothers to write and produce their own records and play their own instruments, something that was not allowed in their Motown contract (Posner). After unsuccessfully attempting to talk the group into staying on the label, Motown sued for breach of contract. Although they eventually let the group go, the Jackson 5 were forced to change their name to The Jacksons, because Motown owned the "Jackson 5" trademark. The Jacksons were also forced to trade Jermaine for the youngest Jackson brother, 14-year-old Randy, since Jermaine chose to stay with Motown and the Gordys. At first part of CBS's Philadelphia International division, and later moving over to Epic Records, the Jacksons continued releasing popular singles such as "Enjoy Yourself" (produced by Philadelphia International's Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff) and "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" (written by Michael and Randy and produced by the group).

Later years and Michael's solo career

Without Motown's input, The Jacksons had in 1973 begun playing regular dates in Las Vegas, including Jackson siblings Randy, LaToya, Janet, and later Rebbie in the act. In summer 1976, CBS television executive Fred Silverman signed the Jackson family (including Michael, Marlon, Tito, Jackie, Randy, Rebbie, LaToya, and Janet) to appear in their own variety show, to compete with ABC's The Osmonds. The Jacksons debued on June 16 1976, and ran on CBS until its cancellation the following March. The show was the first variety show hosted by an African-American family.

In 1978, Michael starred alongside Diana Ross in the Motown/Universal Pictures motion picture The Wiz, an adaptation of the Broadway musical based upon L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Quincy Jones was the producer of the film's songs, and he and Michael began work on Michael’s first Epic solo album, Off the Wall, the next year. Off the Wall, released in 1979, sold six million copies and featured four #1 hit singles, causing some speculation about whether Michael would leave the Jacksons.

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The cover to the 1984 album Victory.

Michael continued to perform with his brothers, releasing the album Triumph in 1980, which featured the minor hit "Can You Feel It." Although Triumph was mildly successful, it was nothing compared to Michael's Off the Wall or its follow-up, Thriller, which went on to become the most successful album of all-new material ever. Around that same time, the boys released the gold-selling Live album and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Motown 25 television special, broadcast on NBC on May 16 1983, featured a reunion performance between Jermaine and the other brothers, their first time together in nearly seven years. the Jackson 5 reunion was overshadowed, however, by Michael's landmark performance of "Billie Jean" on the same program, which introduced his trademark "moonwalk" dance.

The Jacksons released the album Victory in 1984, featuring the hit single "State of Shock" with guest star Mick Jagger, and supported the album with the massively successful Victory tour. The brothers eventually drifted apart, reuniting only once for the album 2300 Jackson St. in 1989. Michael and Jermaine resumed their respective solo careers, with Michael becoming one of the most well-known performers in the world. Marlon unsuccessfully attempted to start a solo career of his own, while Tito, Randy, and Jackie went on to become successful session musicians.

The Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. Two years later, The Jacksons made a reunion appearance on Michael's September 7, 2001 concert at Madison Square Garden, which was later broadcast as a television special on November 13 on CBS.


Main Entry: The Jacksons: An American Dream.

In 1992, Suzanne de Passe and Jermaine Jackson worked with Motown to produce The Jacksons: An American Dream, a five-hour television miniseries broadcast based on the history of the Jacksons in two parts on ABC. The first installement of the miniseries covered the decades from Katherine and Joseph Jackson's first meeting in 1945 up until the first Jackson 5 releases on Motown in 1969, while the second part covered the years from 1970 to 1984, and the effects of the Jackson 5's phenominal success on the family.

Among the actors featured in the miniseries were Angela Bassett as Katherine Jackson, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs as Joseph Jackson, Billy Dee Williams as Berry Gordy, Vanessa L. Williams as Suzanne de Passe, Bumper Robinson as teenage Jackie, Jason Weaver as pre-teenage Michael, and Terrence Dashon Howard as adult Jackie. The miniseries was the highest rated show of the week, won an Emmy Award and was nominated for three more, and won two Young Artist Awards. The Jacksons: An American Dream was later rebroadcast on VH-1 and released to VHS and DVD.

See also

The three girls of the Jackson family, although never members of the group, also enjoyed musical careers of their own:


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The Jackson 5 in concert.


The Jackson 5

(Steeltown release)
  • 1968: "Big Boy" (never charted; regional hit in the Midwest)
(all Motown releases)
  • 1969: "I Want You Back" (US #1; R&B #1; UK #2)
  • 1969: "Who's Lovin' You" (b-side of "I Want You Back", R&B #1)
  • 1970: "ABC" (US #1; R&B #1; UK #8)
  • 1970: "The Love You Save" (US #1; R&B #1; UK #7)
  • 1970: "I'll Be There" (US #1; R&B #1; UK #4)
  • 1971: "Never Can Say Goodbye" (US #2; R&B #1; UK #33)
  • 1971: "Mama's Pearl" (US #2; R&B #1; UK #25)
  • 1971: "Maybe Tomorrow" (US #20; R&B #3)
  • 1971: "Sugar Daddy" (US #10; R&B #3)
  • 1972: "Little Bitty Pretty One" (US #13; R&B #8)
  • 1972: "Lookin' Through the Windows" (US #16; R&B #5; UK #9)
  • 1972: "Corner of the Sky" (US #18; R&B #9)
  • 1972: "Doctor My Eyes" (UK #9)
  • 1973: "Hallelujah Day" (US #28; R&B #10; UK #20)
  • 1973: "Skywriter" (UK #25)
  • 1973: "Get It Together" (US #28; R&B #2)
  • 1974: "Dancing Machine" (US #2; R&B #1)
  • 1974: "You Haven't Done Nothin'" (Stevie Wonder with The Jackson 5) (US #1; R&B #1)
  • 1974: "Whatever You Got, I Want" (US #38; R&B #3)
  • 1974: "I Am Love" (US #15; R&B #5)
  • 1975: "Forever Came Today" (US #60)
  • 1975: "All I Do Is Think of You" (R&B #50)
  • 1988: "I Want You Back [Remix]" (UK #8)
  • 1992: "Who's Lovin' You [live]" (R&B #48)

The Jacksons

(all CBS releases)
  • 1976: "Enjoy Yourself" (US #6; R&B #2; UK #42)
  • 1977: "Show You the Way to Go" (US #28; R&B #6; UK #1)
  • 1977: "Dreamer" (UK #22)
  • 1977: "Goin' Places" (US #52; R&B #8; UK #26)
  • 1978: "Find Me a Girl" (R&B #38)
  • 1978: "Blame It on the Boogie" (US #54; R&B #3; UK #8)
  • 1979: "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" (US #7; R&B #3; UK #4)
  • 1979: "Destiny" (UK #39)
  • 1980: "Lovely One" (US #12; R&B #2; UK #29)
  • 1981: "Heartbreak Hotel" (AKA "This Place Hotel") (US #22)
  • 1981: "Can You Feel It" (US #77; R&B #30; UK #6)
  • 1981: "Walk Right Now" (US #73; R&B #50; UK #7)
  • 1984: "State of Shock" (featuring Mick Jagger) (US #3; R&B #4; UK #14)
  • 1984: "Torture" (US #17; R&B #12; UK #26)
  • 1984: "Body" (US #47; R&B #39)
  • 1987: "Time Out for The Burglar" (R&B #88)
  • 1989: "Nothing That Compares to You" (US #77; R&B #4; UK #33)
  • 1989: "2300 Jackson Street" (R&B #9)


The Jackson 5

(all Motown releases)
  • 1969: Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5
  • 1970: ABC
  • 1970: Third Album
  • 1970: Christmas Album
  • 1971: Maybe Tomorrow
  • 1971: Goin' Back to Indiana
  • 1972: Lookin' Through the Windows
  • 1973: Skywriter
  • 1973: The Jackson 5 Live (Japan only, issued in US by Motown in 2004)
  • 1973: GIT: Get It Together
  • 1974: Dancing Machine
  • 1975: Moving Violation
  • 1976: Joyful Jukebox Music

The Jacksons

(all CBS releases)


  • Bierbaum, Tom (Nov. 18, 1992). Week's Nielsen win easy as ABC ( Variety.
  • Cadman, Chris and Craig Halstead. Michael Jackson the Early Years. Author's Online. ISBN 0755200640
  • Manning, Steve. The Jacksons. Indianapolis. Bobbs-Merrill. 1976.
  • Posner, Gerald (2002). Motown : Music, Money, Sex, and Power. New York: Random House. ISBN 037-550062-6.
  • Transcript ( of interview with Jermaine Jackson. Larry King Live. November 30, 2003.

External links

fr:Les Jackson Five ko:잭슨 파이브 no:The Jackson 5 pl:The Jackson Five


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