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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Where would anyone be today without the Jacksons there.Thanks guys
It's crazy how the music industry ruined such a talented person
Never Can Say Goodbye I Know What It Looks Like When We Dont See Someone Anymore Like Calling A Last Year A Worst And Calling It Just Were We Are This Commet Is From Me ERNESTO ORTIZ Most Likey 4 oernie
tannie2120
Rip love you !
I love you michale
Grew up in this era ~ ABC
I love you jackson 5��
Such a little talent
R.I.P Michael Jackson :( :(
I love this even know I'm 9 years old
dana_thompso n 3
I love usoooooooooo o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o much⛪��⚓����
Wow little Michael was awesome and before his time . RIP
This is a nice. Song. To. Sing
J5 was amazing
simply the man......... . . .
He was a gifted man and great dancer. Love and miss him.
209ricm
Who's loving you
connorkarali n e
Abc 123 man
Love it
I still can't believe Michael is gone...RIP. His voice will remain forever
Love this song sooooooo much! May Michael R.I.P.
I love you guys so much
Follow for a follow
We love Janet
I love you
teekva
ABC rocks
msantillan29 0
Some of the best of the 60s
Miss you
How can I also forget rock'n robin and ben
How can I forget , remember the time and in the closet
I love you michael j. Jackson.r.i. p . michael love your music.love your dance move too. By saniyah o. Anderson.xox o x o love you mj im also going to name my dog michael jackson .my favorite somg for j5 ismy girl and my favorite song for mj is smooth criminal, billie jean, bad, and love never felt so good, last but not leastis this is it . YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD MICHAEL
Cool songs
.I.Leke música
U.N.L.V Small Business Development Center Grad 2010*
Mr.Bronshae La'Ray Alexander™ Owner of; Nevada Professional Jet`Ski Rental inc.™ Year2009* CEO of; Shandozia Entertainmen t Service®Year 2 0 0 4 * Owner of; UFC, MMA, TMC, 2Mil.1987* at S.T.M.B.Chur c h Pittsburg Ca. {Owner of Nuloos inc.™} ((Paperwork Discrepancy? ) ) ~WNBA, NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL~ Universal Studios Hollywood© The Monica & Bronshae Show® & Promos! Year2000* 103.5 The Bomb™ Year2000* K.M.E.L SF© Year1987* The Kid Chris Show® Sacramento 2001
{Bronshae Alexander Pittsburg CA} Sacramento Policemen B-French is trying to Murder Me! Date:12/31/1 4 ! (Today's DATE:1/15/20 1 5 ) President: Barack Oboma! Alexander.Re s u m e 1 @ g m a i l . c o m
a601divaiam
Rest in heavenly peace Michael.
Well When I Grow Up And Be Famous Im A Greatful Person And Life Doesnt Kill No Ones Mind In The Future And/Or Past
9☺
annmirethomp s o n 0 7
He was small
I love the song rock'n robin
villarruel20 0 7
i Love you sher. He love you happ
courtsdad162 0 1
R.I.P TO THE KING OF POP... MICHAEL YOUR LEGACY WILL LIVE ON FROEVER��... . W E ' R E ALL SAD THAT YOU HAD TO GO... NO ONE CAN COMPARE TO YOU...GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ... LOVE YOU MICHAEL ...R.I.P ������������
MJ is still hot, too bad Pandora drop lyrics
Hard shoes to fill. Got so much pleasure from your music and amazing talent. Will stay with me always. XO
I love all there albums
What can u say about MJ besides RIP there will never b another so I guess I will say THANKS 4 all the memories of all your songs will never 4-get u
klturner1959
Love this song!
U love them sooooooooooo o o o much but it sad what happened to Michael ��,
L
I love
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