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Jackson 5

The Jackson 5 were one of the biggest phenomenons in pop music during the early '70s, and the last great group to come out of the Motown hitmaking machine before Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder shifted the label's focus to more individual visions. The Jackson 5's infectious brand of funky pop-soul was a definite departure from the typically smooth, elegant Motown sound, as befitting the group's youth and the dawn of a new decade. That youth, coupled with the merchandising juggernaut that sprang up behind them, inevitably got them tagged a bubblegum group. But they were far more talented musically than that label would suggest, especially lead singer Michael, and their material, while sunny and upbeat, didn't pander to its audience. Solo careers and overexposure gradually weakened the Jackson 5, but their best music still holds up surprisingly well as some of the most vibrant mainstream pop/R&B of its era.

Originally, the Jackson 5 were composed of brothers Jackie (born Sigmund Jackson, May 4, 1951), Tito (guitar, born Toriano Jackson, October 15, 1953), Jermaine (bass, lead vocals, born December 11, 1954), Marlon (born March 12, 1957), and Michael (lead vocals, born August 29, 1958). By all accounts, the Jackson family's upbringing in Gary, IN, was strict; their mother Katherine was a devout Jehovah's Witness, and their father Joe was a stern, temperamental disciplinarian. Allowed few outside interests, the boys gravitated to music, which was in their blood -- prior to his job as a crane operator for a steel company, Joe had played guitar in an R&B group called the Falcons (not the same group that launched Wilson Pickett's career). One night, Joe discovered that Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine had been playing his treasured old guitar without permission; though initially furious, he quickly discovered that his sons had genuine talent, and began to conceive of a family singing group that might eventually get them out of their tough working-class life in Gary. The eldest three sons began performing around the area together in 1962, teamed with two cousins (Johnny Jackson and Ronnie Rancifer), who were replaced by Marlon and five-year-old Michael. Supervised by Joe, who became their manager and began working only part-time, the group practiced and rehearsed often, and improved as dancers, singers, and instrumentalists at a rapid rate. In particular, Michael proved himself a dynamic performer, soon replacing Jermaine as the featured lead vocalist, and establishing himself as a nimble dancer able to mimic talents like James Brown. At first, the group was known as Ripples & Waves Plus Michael, then the Jackson Brothers, and finally the Jackson 5.

In 1966, the Jackson 5 won an important local talent competition with a Michael-led rendition of the Temptations' "My Girl." Their father, who had been chauffeuring them to out-of-state performances, also booked their first paid professional gigs that year. In 1967, the group won an amateur talent competition at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater, where they earned an influential fan in Gladys Knight (probably the first person to recommend the group to Motown). At the end of the year, the Jackson 5 made their first studio recordings for the small Gary-based Steeltown label, and their single "Big Boy" became something of a local hit. Championed again to Motown by Bobby Taylor, a member of the Vancouvers who'd seen the group in Chicago, and Diana Ross, the Jackson 5 finally got a chance to audition for the label in the summer of 1968. Desperately needing new blood, an impressed Berry Gordy signed the group and flew them out to his new headquarters in Los Angeles, where he and his assistants groomed them to be the label's next breakout stars. Having lost his famed Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team, Gordy formed a new partnership with Freddie Perren, Fonce Mizell, and Deke Richards dubbed the Corporation, which set about crafting material for the group.

In August 1969, shortly before Michael turned 11, the Jackson 5 opened for Diana Ross at the L.A. Forum, and in December, they issued their debut album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. On October 7, 1969, the Jackson 5 released their first single, "I Want You Back," a Corporation composition that had originally been intended for Gladys Knight. It was an instant smash, hitting number one on both the pop and R&B charts. So did their next two singles, "ABC" and "The Love You Save" (both from their second album, ABC), which solidified the group's so-called bubblegum-soul sound and certified them as pop sensations. Third Album was released before year's end, spawning the hit ballad "I'll Be There," which not only proved that the group (and lead singer Michael) were more mature and versatile than their bright, bouncy initial singles let on, but also made them the first group in pop history to have their first four singles hit number one. It also became the best-selling single in Motown history, spending a stellar five weeks at number one. And it had still been less than a year since the group's national debut.

A virtual Jackson 5 cottage industry sprang up in the wake of their success, producing everything from dolls to a cartoon show on -- what else? -- the ABC network (during the summer of 1971). Younger and younger listeners were brought into the fold, adding to an already broad appeal that transcended color lines, and the record label that once billed itself as "the Sound of Young America" could once again lay legitimate claim to the title. Meanwhile, following their four straight number ones, the Jackson 5 opened 1971 with a pair of number two hits, "Mama's Pearl" and the ballad "Never Can Say Goodbye"; "Maybe Tomorrow" was their first single not to make the pop Top Ten, though it still reached the R&B Top Five. That year, Motown executives began grooming Michael and Jermaine for solo careers that would run concurrently with the Jackson 5. Michael was the first to debut on his own (toward the end of 1971), and was an instant success; his first two singles, "Got to Be There" and "Rockin' Robin," both made the Top Five, and later in 1972 he scored his first pop number one with "Ben." Jermaine debuted at the end of 1972, and his first single, "Daddy's Home," reached the Top Ten, though the follow-ups didn't sustain the momentum as well as Michael.

In the meantime, the fantastically hyped Jackson 5 craze was beginning to cool down. Their prolific LP release schedule slowed a bit, and while their singles continued to perform reliably well on the R&B charts, they were no longer a sure-fire bet for the pop Top Ten. After a relatively lengthy drought, the Jackson 5 scored what would be their last major smash for Motown, the 1974 number two hit "Dancing Machine," a nod to the emerging sound of disco (it also topped the R&B charts). The group's frustrations with Motown had been building -- not only did the label seem less interested in their career, but they still refused to allow the Jacksons to write or choose their own material, or play their own instruments on their records. Finally, in early 1976, they left Motown to sign with Epic. When the legal battles finally ended, Motown won a breach-of-contract settlement and retained rights to the Jackson 5 name, forcing the group to become the Jacksons. They also lost Jermaine, whose marriage to Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel made it extremely impractical for him to join his brothers. He was replaced by younger brother Randy (born Steven Randall Jackson, October 29, 1961), who had been appearing (unofficially) with the group as a percussionist for some time.

The Jacksons' first few records on Epic were somewhat erratic affairs produced by Philly soul legends Gamble & Huff. However, the group truly assumed control over their music and hit full stride on 1978's Destiny, which most regard as the strongest studio LP the Jacksons recorded together in any incarnation. Destiny was self-produced and largely self-written, and its success helped encourage Michael to return to solo work. 1979's brilliant Off the Wall made him a star in his own right, signifying his arrival as a mature adult artist, but he remained with his brothers for the time being, helping them record a Grammy-nominated follow-up to Destiny in 1980's Triumph. The staggering success of Michael's next solo album, Thriller, signaled the beginning of the end for the Jacksons, but not quite yet; Jermaine rejoined the group for 1984's Victory, the only album to feature all six brothers. The single "State of Shock," which featured guest vocalist Mick Jagger, hit number three that year, and the group's ensuing tour was a blockbuster success, despite expensive (for the time) ticket prices. Michael and Marlon both left the Jacksons, the latter trying out an unsuccessful solo career; Randy, Tito, and Jackie appeared as the Jacksons on the soundtrack of Burglar, and subsequently became highly regarded session musicians. The Jacksons reconvened in 1989 for the album 2300 Jackson Street, which featured every Jackson sibling save LaToya on the title cut. However, it wasn't as successful as hoped, and to date there have been no further reunions on record. In 1997, the Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Come And Get It: The Rare Pearls

Disc 1

1. (We're The) Music Makers

3. If The Shoe Don't Fit

5. Come And Get It (Love's On The Fire)

7. I Got A Sure Thing

15. Since I Lost My Baby

17. Keep An Eye

19. Movin'

23. You Better Watch Out

25. I'm Your Sunny One (He's My Sunny Boy)

27. Someone's Standing In My Love Light

Disc 2

1. If You Want Heaven

2. You Can't Hurry Love

3. Keep Off The Grass

4. Going My Way

5. Makin' Life A Little Easier For You

6. Up On The Roof

7. If I Can't Nobody Can

8. Our Love

9. I Can't Get Enough Of You

10. Cupid

11. Let's Go Back To Day One

12. Would Ya Would Ya Baby

13. Love Trip

14. Label Me Love

15. Jumbo Sam

16. That's How Love Is

17. If I Have To Move A Mountain

18. Mama's Pearl (Demo)


Track List: I Want You Back! Unreleased Masters

1. Medley: I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save (Alternate Version)

2. That's How Love Is

3. Listen I'll Tell You How

4. Man's Temptation

5. Never Can Say Goodbye (Alternate Version)

6. Love Comes In Different Flavors

7. Abc (Alternate Version)

8. Love Call

9. Buttercup

10. Lucky Day

11. I'll Try You'll Try (Maybe We'll All Get By)

12. Dancing Machine (Alternate Version)


Track List: Back To Indiana & Looking Through The Windows

9. Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing

10. Lookin' Through The Windows

11. Don't Let Your Baby Catch You

12. To Know

13. Doctor My Eyes

14. Little Bitty Pretty One

17. Don't Want To See You Tomorrow

18. Children Of The Light

19. I Can Only Give You Love

20. Love Song


Track List: Dancing Machine & Moving Violation

1. I Am Love

2. Whatever You Got, I Want

3. She's A Rhythm Child

4. Dancing Machine

5. The Life Of The Party

6. What You Don't Know

7. If I Don't Love You This Way

8. It All Begins And Ends With Love

10. Forever Came Today

11. Moving Violation

12. (You Were Made) Especially For Me

13. Honey Love

14. Body Language (Do The Love Dance)

15. All I Do Is Think Of You

16. Breezy

18. Time Explosion

19. Through Thick And Thin

20. Forever Came Today


Track List: Skywriter & Get It Together

1. Skywriter

2. Hallelujah Day

3. The Boogie Man

4. Touch

5. Corner Of The Sky

6. I Can't Quit Your Love

7. Uppermost

8. World Of Sunshine

9. Ooh, I'd Love To Be With You

10. You Made Me What I Am

11. Get It Together

12. Don't Say Good Bye Again

13. Reflections

14. Hum Along And Dance

15. Mama I Gotta Brand New Thing (Don't Say No)

16. It's Too Late To Change The Time

17. You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You)

18. Dancing Machine

19. Pride And Joy

20. Love's Gone Bad

21. Love Is The Thing You Need


Track List: Third Album & Maybe Tomorrow

1. I'll Be There

2. Ready Or Not (Here I Come)

3. Oh How Happy

5. Can I See You In The Morning

6. Goin' Back To Indiana

7. How Funky Is Your Chicken

8. Mama's Pearl

9. Reach In

10. The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage

11. Darling Dear

12. Maybe Tomorrow

13. She's Good

14. Never Can Say Goodbye

15. The Wall

16. Petals

17. 16 Candles

18. (We've Got) Blue Skies

19. My Little Baby

20. It's Great To Be Here

21. Honey Chile

22. I Will Find A Way

23. Sugar Daddy

24. I'm So Happy


Track List: Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 & ABC

1. Zip A Dee Doo Dah

2. Nobody

3. I Want You Back

4. Can You Remember

5. Standing In The Shadows Of Love

6. You've Changed

7. My Cherie Amour

8. Who's Lovin' You

9. Chained

10. (I Know) I'm Losing You

11. Stand!

12. Born To Love You

13. The Love You Save

14. One More Chance

15. ABC

16. 2-4-6-8

17. (Come 'Round Here) I'm The One You Need

18. Don't Know Why I Love You

19. Never Had A Dream Come True

20. True Love Can Be Beautiful

21. La La (Means I Love You)

22. I'll Bet You

23. I Found That Girl

24. The Young Folks

25. Oh, I've Been Bless'd


Track List: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Jackson 5

1. I Want You Back

2. ABC

3. The Love You Save

4. I'll Be There

5. Never Can Say Goodbye

6. Got To Be There

7. Sugar Daddy

8. Daddy's Home

9. I Wanna Be Where You Are

10. Maybe Tomorrow

11. Dancing Machine


Track List: The Ultimate Collection

1. I Want You Back

2. ABC

3. The Love You Save

4. I'll Be There

5. It's Your Thing

6. Who's Lovin' You

7. Mama's Pearl

8. Never Can Say Goodbye

9. Maybe Tomorrow

10. Got To Be There

11. Sugar Daddy

12. Rockin' Robin

13. Daddy's Home

14. Lookin' Through The Windows

15. I Wanna Be Where You Are

16. Get It Together

17. Dancing Machine

18. The Life Of The Party

19. I Am Love

20. Just A Little Bit Of You

21. It's Your Thing


Track List: ABC

1. The Love You Save

2. One More Chance

3. ABC

4. 2-4-6-8

5. (Come 'Round Her) I'm The One You Need

6. Don't Know Why I Love You

7. Never Had A Dream Come True

8. True Love Can Be Beautiful

9. La La (Means I Love You)

10. I'll Bet You

11. I Found That Girl

12. The Young Folks


Track List: Jackson 5 Anthology

Disc 1

1. I Want You Back

2. Who's Loving You

3. ABC

4. The Young Folks

5. The Love You Save

6. I Found That Girl

7. I'll Bet You

8. I'll Be There

9. Goin' Back To Indiana

10. Mama's Pearl

11. Darling Dear

12. Never Can Say Goodbye

13. Maybe Tomorrow

14. It's Great To Be Here

15. Sugar Daddy

16. I'm So Happy

17. Medley: Sing A Simple Song / Can You Remember (Live)

18. Doctor My Eyes

19. Little Bitty Pretty One

20. Lookin' Through The Windows

21. Love Song

Disc 2

1. Corner Of The Sky

2. Touch

3. Hallelujah Day

4. Daddy's Home (Live)

5. Get It Together

6. Hum Along And Dance

7. Mama I Gotta Brand New Thing (Don't Say No)

8. It's Too Late To Change The Time

9. Dancing Machine (Original LP Version)

10. Whatever You Got, I Want

11. The Life Of The Party

12. I Am Love

13. All I Do Is Think of You

14. Forever Came Today

15. We're Here To Entertain You


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So young and so much soul happy birthday Mike rip
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Miss u Mike. Will forever be a fan
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Rip micheal you are very much missed you are still the king
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Love u Michael...mi s s i n g u my n**ga
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To Jackson 5
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All i can do since you been gone is criy love you ricky
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This man came out the womb romancing women!!! RIP Michael
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Advertisemen t
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Had a pet turtle called Ricky...And
His Best Friend who is called
Lucy.Lucy died a couple weeks ago
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When i had you i treated you bad i love you i miss you baby ricky love you
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JaCkSon 5050,0028
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I love you ricky so much baby I'll always love you
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This song is the best song I heard
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Life is so lonely with out u are not here
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Life with out love is so lonely ricky love you baby
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He is so bad he keeps saying shake shake shake it baby
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He is so cute as a kid��
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jackkson 5 fo life
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Let me love you ricky forever miss you baby love you
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Look at my name
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I love you so much
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Is Michael alive??
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You know I'm bad come on you know who's bad the word is out don't talk to cheep when the sky a land in miss to if don't what I like I'm saying then won't you slap my face whose bad
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Say peace Jackson 5 and to Michael Jackson
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God took one of our greatest singers of all to soon R.I.P MJ
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karilynbell2 4
Years 55555@@@@���
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karilynbell2 4
Nice ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺
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karilynbell2 4
life is to team
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heavymetal35 9
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What more can you say about the King of Pop , a beautiful voice taken away much too soon from us. I remember watching The Jackson 5 cartoon show when I was a kid , The Jackson 5 music will live on but most of all Michael Jackson songs will live on also for eternity in our hearts. Thank you for your God given beautiful voice Michael, R.I.P...����
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Red robin
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Life with out love is life with out you ricky love you baby
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Love this song
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I will give you all my love I don't want to lose your love mimi
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washingtona4 6 3
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I love this song! Just call my name, and I'll be there! RIP Michael Jackson. We love you and we miss you.
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Who's loving you now ricky i wish it was me love you baby forever
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Say crush me
Kiss hand
Put on two other tracks
Check hand
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I will save we have depend on anyone else just us alone Mimi mike
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shaking baby mimi
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I will give you one more chance don't let me go mimi
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