About Jackson 5
The Jackson 5’s exuberant bubblegum soul was forged in the hardscrabble town of Gary, IN, fomented by a father who had sublimated his own musical dreams. One night in the early ’60s, Joe Jackson discovered that his sons Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine had been fiddling around with his guitar. Initially furious, he quickly recognized their innate talent, and the three brothers began performing together; younger siblings Marlon and Michael joined a few years later. By mid-decade, the family act was gaining fame locally and winning talent shows—most notably at New York’s Apollo Theater in 1967. They signed to Motown Records in 1968 and moved to Los Angeles, where the songwriting conglomeration The Corporation began feeding them songs. Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 dropped in late 1969, and the single “I Want You Back” was a mad burst of joy from its first bass-driven, jangling notes. It was the first in an unprecedented stream of four No. 1 hits in less than a year. The Jackson 5 attained incredible crossover success, bolstered by an innovative marketing campaign that included Saturday-morning cartoons, coloring books, and even a board game. Later albums couldn’t—and didn’t—match that initial flash of brilliance, but the act had become a cornerstone of pop music. Motown never allowed the brothers to write songs or play instruments—a massive mistake in light of the undeniable charm (and success) of their self-made 1978 outing for Epic (as The Jacksons), Destiny. As Michael’s solo fame skyrocketed in the early ’80s, his star power helped turn the 1984 album Victory and its accompanying tour into blockbuster events. The siblings released one more album, 1989’s 2300 Jackson Street, and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.