Soul And / Or Related Artists
the jackson 5 / the jacksons

The Jacksons

Jackie (b. Sigmund Esco Jackson, 4th May 1951, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.)

Tito (b. Toriano Adaryll Jackson, 15th October 1953, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.)

Marlon (b. Marlon David Jackson, 12th March 1957, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.)

Michael (b. Michael Joseph Jackson, 29th August 1958, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A. d. 25th June 2009, Ronald Reagan Medical Centre, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.)

Jermaine (b. Jermaine La Jaune Jackson, 11th December 1954, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.)


Randy Jackson (b. Steven Randall Jackson, 29th October 1962, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.)

From Gary, Indiana, the Jackson 5 have navigated many career stages since the families original artistic incarnation during the late Sixties and early Seventies.

The group cross many divides within the Soul Music genre, pleasing the general public and diehard Soul fans alike.

The Jackson family are a very large unit of relatives, with many pursuing solo careers in various sections of the music industry.

Joe and Katherine Jackson joe and katherine jackson

The families parents were strict disciplinarians, with father Joe Jackson (an ex crane operator and musician) being married to Katherine Jackson, a Jehovah's Witness.

Young Jackson 5

The Jackson 5 originally comprised of the brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael, although their earliest line-up involved Jackie, Tito and their mother.

All of the brothers showed an early interest in music, a talent picked up on by their father following him finding the children playing his old guitar without asking their permission to do so!

In the early Sixties, the three eldest children began performing together.

Jackie, Tito and Marlon were joined by their cousins, Johnnie Jackson and Ronnie Rancifer, at this stage, although they wre later to be replaced by the younger family members at various stages.

Their father oversaw their developing careers, becoming the manager at a later stage, whilst the children blossomed as musicians and dancers.

Michael's dancing abilities were greatly influenced by the on stage choreographic performances of the legendary James Brown.

Jermaine had been the main lead vocalist at the time, although as the Sixties progressed, Michael became more involved as the group's main vocal lead.

The group went through a few short lived name changes ranging from Ripples and Waves plus Michael to the Jackson Brothers, until finally surfacing as the Jackson 5.

Early Jackson 5

By 1966, the group had won a local vocal talent contest, which led to further gigs, in and out of town, often driven around by their father, until in 1967 they won an amateur talent competition at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

The group had previously performed at the Regal Theater in Chicago and the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia.

In late 1967, the Jackson 5 released a 45 called 'Big Boy', which was recorded for the local Gary imprint Steeltown.

Bobby Taylor had witnessed live performances by the group, and recommended to Diana Ross that she come see the brothers, following which they were additionally recommended to the Motown label for an audition in 1968.

It was also suggested at the time that Gladys Knight, additionally, recommended the group to Motown Records, where the careers of the siblings really took off.

Berry Gordy recruited the family to the label in the summer of 1968 and took them to the new headquarters of Motown in Los Angeles.

The Jackson 5The Jackson 5

Here he teamed the Jackson 5 up with the new in house composition team called The Corporation.

The Corporation the corporation

The Corporation included the writers Freddie Perren (later to further the careers of the Tavares band), Fonce Mizell (whom was to later team up with his brother, Larry a.k.a. as the Mizell Brothers, to pen many classic fusion tracks for the Blue Note inprint, including Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey amongst others), and Deke Richards.

By 1969, the Jackson 5 were performing alongside Diana Ross, followed on by the brothers first album release in December of that year.

Diana Ross PresentsABC

The album was entitled 'Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5'.

In October 1969, the group released their debut 45, the single, 'I Want You Back' ( a song rumoured to have been destined for the Glady's Knight and the Pips stable).

'I Want You Back' reached the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and was speedily followed up by the releases 'ABC' and 'The Love You Save'.

Third AlbumGoing Back To Indiana

A second album entitled 'ABC' followed, which was subsequently followed on by 'The Third Album'.

The latter set included the chart topper 'I'll Be There', which became Motown's largest retailing 45 in the company history.

By this time the family group had become highly marketable.

There were cartoon series, toys etc, all of which began to break down barriers to colour and race as a positive influence, especially amongst the very young.

Maybe TomorrowLookin Through The WindowsGet It TogetherSkywriter

Following their four number one singles (which also included 'Mama's Pearl', 'Never Can Say Goodbye' and 'Maybe Tomorrow'), further releases consolidated the group's reputation.

These included 'Lookin' Through The Windows' (Top 10, 1972), 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town' (Top 50, 1972), 'Doctor My Eyes' (Top 10, 1973), 'Hallelujah Day' (Top 20, 1973) and 'Skywriter' (Top 25, 1973).

At this juncture, Motown began preparing Jermaine and Michael for solo work to embellish the success of the family ensemble.

Michael's vocal stylings were hugely influential and appealling to the listening public, therefore his initial solo releases chart topped as a result.

A version of the Bobby Day song, 'Rockin' Robin' and 'Got To Be There' both made the top 5, whilst a title song taken from the film 'Ben' became number one. The song was based around the story of a rat in the movie.

Michael also hit the charts with the Shep and the Limelite's song, 'Daddy's Home', whilst the Jackson 5 allowed themselves a slowing of their hectic schedules in order to plan for future endeavours.

Jackson 5

In 1974, a more mature sound was beginning to develop for the group, highlighted by the release of the album 'Dancing Machine'.

The same year they recorded with Stevie Wonder on his 'FulfilIingness First Finale' album shocasing their vocal talents on the song 'You Haven't Done Nothin'.

By 1976, the group and Motown had decided to seek greener pastures, following some legal wranglings regarding the group's name.

Motown owned the Jackson 5 name, therefore The Jackson 5 became the Jacksons, and relocated to the Epic Records imprint.

Jermaine left the group and follow a solo career at the label, choosing to stay with Motown mainly due to his marriage to Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel.

Randy joined the Jacksons as a result, although he had been performing with the band as a percussionist for some period.

At Epic, the group were teamed with the veteran songwriting partnership of Gamble and Huff.

The JacksonsGoin Places

In 1976, the group's first album contained the massive hit 'Show You The Way To Go'. The songs 'Blues Away' and 'Good Times' were also popular amongst the Soul purists.

'Going Places' followed in 1977, which was additionally popular for the song, 'Even Though You're Gone'.


'That's What You Get For Being Polite' featured on 1978's album release 'Destiny', along with the disco dancers 'Blame It On The Boogie' and 'Shake Your Body Down To The Ground'.

In 1979, Michael had returned to solo chores releasing the album 'Off The Wall', an album which was, subsequently to decide his eventual departure from the fold, teaming him up with the producer Quincy Jones and the songwriter Rod Temperton.

'Off The Wall' is considered by many pundits, to be a masterpiece of it's kind.

1980 saw the album 'Triumph' hit the streets. By this time, the sound had matured to the point where the lines between early boy band and real R & B had been removed.

'Triumph' was almost perceived as a swansong and contained the songs 'Give It Up' and 'Heartbreak Hotel' amongst others.

If 'Off The Wall' had been seen as a return to form for Michael Jackson, the immense success of 1982's album 'Thriller' created a waves wthin the industry, quickly becoming the best selling album spanning the previous century.

1984's album release 'Victory' did see Michael in the Jackson line-up, however, by this time the group's approach had developed a much more rockier edge, with only the song 'One More Chance' hinting of previous more Soulful times.

Michael and Marlon both then left the Jacksons, with varying career successes.

In 1989, the group 'regrouped' for the album '2300 Jackson Street', with much of the family featured on he album's title song.

In 1997, the Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The family group has never formally seperated, but have been inactive since then, although all six brothers performed together at two Michael Jackson tribute concerts in September 2001.

2009 saw an agreement with all of the members of the Jackson 5 regarding a future performance, due in 2010, at London's O2 Arena (the old Millennium Dome).

Real Player


Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 (Motown 1969)

ABC (Motown 1970)

Third Album (Motown 1970)

The Jackson 5 Christmas Album (Motown 1970)

Goin' Back to Indiana (Motown 1971)

Maybe Tomorrow (Motown 1971)

Lookin' Through the Windows (Motown 1972)

Get It Together (Motown 1973)

In Japan! - live (Motown 1973)

Skywriter (Motown 1973)

Dancing Machine (Motown 1974)

Live! (Motown 1974)

Moving Violation (Motown 1975)

Joyful Jukebox Music (Motown 1976)

The Jacksons (Epic 1976)

Goin' Places (Epic 1977)

Destiny (Epic 1978)

Triumph (Epic 1980)

The Jacksons Live (Epic 1981)

Victory (Epic 1984)

2300 Jackson Street (Epic 1989)

top of the page

SoulwalkingStart HereThe ArtistsListen Out ForThe ChartBeen MissedRespectReal AudioOpinionNetworkJazz & FusionLinksMotown