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The Jackson 5

The Jackson 5 (also spelled The Jackson Five or The Jackson 5ive, abbreviated as J5) were an American popular music group from Gary Indiana. The primary members of the group are all male children of Katherine and Joseph: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael. Considered "one of the biggest phenomenons in pop music during the early 1970s, the Jackson 5 group is also notable for launching the career of its lead singer, Michael and also Jermaine.

Group composition
The Jackson Brothers (1962-1963): Jackie, Tito, Jermaine
The Jackson Five (1963-1967): Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael & Johnny Jackson (no family member)
The Jackson 5 (1968-1975): Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael

 

The Jackson boys ' interest in music took place in their family home on 2300 Jackson Street in Gary, Indiana bolstered by papa Joe. In 1964, Joe caught Tito playing with his guitar after a string broke. Upon fixing the string, threatening punishment, Tito played for his father, who was impressed enough to buy Tito his own guitar. Tito, Jermaine and Jackie showed an interest in singing and formed their own group with their father naming them as The Jackson Brothers, with six-year-old Michael playing congas and childhood buddies Reynaud Jones and Milford Hite playing keyboards and drums. Marlon, then seven, eventually joined playing the tambourine.

In 1966, the group won a talent show at Gary's Theodore Roosevelt High School, where Jermaine performed several Motown numbers, including The Temptations' "My Girl" and Michael performed two James Brown numbers, including, "I Got You (I Feel Good)", winning the talent show instantly. Johnny Jackson and Ronnie Rancifer eventually replaced Milford Hite and Reynaud Jones. After several more talent show wins, Joe booked his sons to perform at several respected music venues of the chitlin' circuit, including Chicago's Regal Theater and Harlem's Apollo Theater, winning the talent competitions on both shows in 1967. After winning the Apollo, the brothers entered the professional music scene signing with Steeltown Records and released two singles, "(I'm A) Big Boy" and "We Don't Have to Be Over 21". before signing with Motown in 1969.

While performing a week long run of shows at the Regal Theater as the opening act for Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, an impressed Taylor sent the Jacksons to Detroit to help with their Motown audition, which was set for July 23 at Motown's headquarters located at Woodward Avenue. Following the taped audition, which was sent to CEO Berry Gordy's office in Hollywood, Gordy requested the group to be signed by early 1969. Following initial recordings at Detroit's Hitsville USA studio, Berry Gordy sent the Jacksons to Hollywood in July, hiring Suzanne de Passe to become a mentor of the brothers.

The group continued as The Jackson 5 and recorded their first single, "I Want You Back", written by an assembled Motown team called The Corporation, which consisted of three composers and songwriters Freddie Perren, Deke Richards and Alphonzo Mizell with Gordy as a fourth partner. In October of 1970, the song was released and the group promoted it while performing at the Hollywood Palace with Ross hosting. In December, the brothers made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Afterwards, their debut album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, was released that same month.

In January 1970, "I Want You Back" topped the Billboard Hot 100. The Jackson 5 released two more number-one singles, "ABC" and "The Love You Save". A fourth single, "I'll Be There" became the band's fourth number-one single, making them the first recording act to have their first four singles reach the top of the Hot 100. All four singles were almost as popular in other countries as it was in the United States. Releasing a succession of four albums in one year, the Jackson 5 had replaced The Supremes as Motown's best-selling group. They continued their success with singles such as "Mama's Pearl", "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Sugar Daddy", giving them a total of seven top ten singles within a two-year period.

As Motown's main marketing focus, the label capitalized on the group's youth appeal licensing dozens of products, including the J5 heart logo, the group’s album covers, stickers, posters and coloring books, as well as a Saturday morning cartoon series produced by Rankin/Bass. The Jackson brothers graced the cover of magazines, including otherwise predominantly white teen-oriented magazines. In addition, the Jackson 5 appeared in several television specials including Diana Ross' 1971 special, Diana! and they starred on their first of two Motown-oriented television specials, Goin' Back to Indiana and The Jackson 5 Show.

To continue increasing sales, Motown launched Michael Jackson's solo career, with the single, Got to Be There, released in November 1971. Following several top 40 follow-ups, Jackson's 1972 song, "Ben", became his first to top the charts. Jermaine Jackson was the second to release a solo project, his most successful hit of the period being a cover of the doo-wop song, "Daddy's Home".

Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael released 15 albums, sold millions of records at Motown and toured all over the world as The Jackson 5 between 1970 and 1976, starting with their first official concert on 2 May, 1970 in Philadelphia the last one in this formation on 19 February, 1976 in Manila, Phillipines. Under Motown, Michael released four solo albums, Jermaine released 9 albums (two planned album releases were cancelled) and Jackie one.

By 1975, most of the Jacksons opted out of recording any more music for Motown desiring more creative control and royalties. Joe began negotiating to have his boys sign a lucrative contract with another company, settling for Epic Records, and signed Jackie, Tito, Marlon, Michael and Randy with the company in June of 1975. Absent from the deal was Jermaine, who decided to stay with Motown. The group continued as The Jacksons.