The 4th child of the The Jackson Family Dynasty: the World's Most Popular Music Family and Pop Royalty
Mini-documentary by director Jared Bentley/Engenius Productions
Little did Joseph and Katherine Jackson know when they married in November of 1949 and started the world’s most popular music family group and pop royalty. They started their family in 1950 when daughter Maureen Reilette (Rebbie) was born, followed by Sigmund Esco (Jackie, 1951), Tariano Adaryll (Tito, 1953), Jermaine La Jaune (1954), La Toya Yvonne (1956), Marlon David (1957, twin brother Brandon died within 24 hours after birth), Michael Joe (1958), Steven Randall (Randy, 1961) and Janet Damita Jo (1966).
2300 Jackson Street
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 songs, including The Temptations’ “My Girl” and Michael performed two James Brown songs, 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”.
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 Jackson 5
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 Diana 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 charts. All four singles were 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’s solo career, with the single, Got to Be There, released in November 1971. Following several charts follow-ups, Michael’s 1972 song, “Ben”, became his first to top the charts. Jermaine was the second brother to release a solo project, his most successful hit of the period being a cover of the song, “Daddy’s Home”.
The Jackson 5 released 15 albums at Motown, selling millions of records in one decade and touring all over the world as The Jackson 5 between 1970 and 1976, starting with their first official concert on 2 May, 1970 in Philadelphia and the last one in this formation on 19 February, 1976 in Manila, Philippines. At Motown, Michael released four solo albums, Jermaine released nine 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 loyal to the label that introduced the Jackson 5 to the world and he and continued his career solo at Motown. At that time, Jermaine was also married to Berry Gordy’s daughter Hazel and had started a family with her.
While Jermaine’s brothers continued as The Jacksons, he focused on his solo career at Motown. In 1980, Jermaine teamed up with his longtime friend Stevie Wonder for the album Let’s Get Serious of which the title song reached #1 in the U.S. charts and earned him a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Jermaine released a total of nine solo albums for Motown and moved on to the record label Arista Records in 1983.
At Arista Jermaine released four albums and collaborated with rising star Whitney Houston. He produced three songs for her debut album Whitney Houston and he recorded a couple duets with her, one of them is featured on Jermaine’s 1984 hit album Dynamite, which also features a duet with his brother Michael, the #1 song “Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin’ (Too Good to Be True)”. The album Dynamite also features the #1 European smash hit single “When the Rain Begins to Fall”, a duet with Pia Zadora. In 1989, Jermaine topped the U.S. charts again with the song “Don’t Take It Personal”.
In March of 1983, one of the performing highlights of the remarkable career of Jermaine is the unforgettable reunion performance with his brothers on one of histories most watched television specials, Motown 25. Following the success of the reunion, all six brothers recorded a sixth album for Epic, released as 'Victory' in 1984. Their biggest-selling album to date included the top ten single, “State of Shock”. In July of 1984, the Jacksons launched their Victory Tour. The group performed 55 concerts to an audience of approximately 2 million and the tour sold what was then a record number of ticket sales.
After the Victory Tour, Jermaine and Michael continued their solo careers. The other brothers also released solo records. Marlon released his solo debut in 1987, Jackie released his second album in 1989 and in that same year Randy worked on and album with a band called The Gypsys and released that album in 1989 as well.
In 1989, five years after their last album, the remaining quartet of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Randy released '2300 Jackson Street', with Jermaine performing most of the lead vocals. After a brief promotional tour, the band went into hiatus. Besides Michael, all the brothers spent time as a husband and father to children and worked on their own careers, projects and businesses.
In 1997 Jermaine and his brothers were ceremonially honored as inductees of the well-respected Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as the youngest group ever to receive that honor and they were inducted to the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.
In September 2001, nearly 17 years after their last performance together, all six Jackson brothers reunited for two performances at Madison Square Garden for a 30th anniversary special commemorating Michael’s career. It would the final and last time the world would see all the brothers on stage together.
Early 2009, the four elder brothers began filming a reality show to make their attempt on reuniting the band, however on June 29th that year, the brothers, the family and the world were confronted with the devastating news of the sudden passing of Michael and the series later debuted in December of 2009 as 'The Jacksons:A Family Dynasty'.
In 2010, Jermaine performed a solo concert Celebrating 40 Years of Jackson Family Music in The Gambia, Africa and Las Vegas, United States.
Jermaine publicly defended his brother Michael when he went through rough times. Jermaine is on a mission to make the world remember his brother for the great human being that he was. Jermaine wrote his memoirs in the book You Are Not Alone, Michael: Through A Brother’s Eyes, published in 2011 which is an intimate, loving portrait of his brother Michael, illuminating the private man like never before.
After nearly three decades, brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon reunited in 2012 to start the Unity Tour in the United States and Canada. The Unity Tour continued in 2013 with shows in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the United States and Canada.
In February and March of 2014, The Jacksons performed at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas during a six week RockTellz & Cocktails residency. That year and in 2015, the brothers continued to perform shows all over the world.
In February of 2016, The Jacksons performed 10 shows at Art on Ice in Switzerland and they performed a couple dates around the globe throughout the year.
In March of 2016, Jermaine launched Jermaine Jackson Fine Jewelry with the first three exclusive lines of Jermaine Jackson & Coronet® Collection and during the launch event at Baselworld, where Jermaine breaks the Guinness World Record for Most Jewels on a Guitar by presenting, playing and performing on the Coronet Gemstone Gibson SG Guitar titled “Circles of Life”. In 2016, Tito joined his brothers and sisters and scored his first solo hit on the Billboard charts with his debut single “Get It Baby”, becoming the ninth and final Jackson family sibling to place a solo single on the charts.
In 2017, Jermaine launched the "Jelephant" Tourbillon watch and he embarked on a Summer Tour with his brothers for a Celebration Of 50 Years. Jermaine Jackson is in showbusiness for over 50 years and he is not done yet. Always being a keeper of the flame, Jermaine Jackson formed companies or partnerships to create or represent (new) brands as he moves beyond the music in the worlds of entertainment, hospitality, jewelry, watches and food & beverages to make his dreams come true and turn his creative concepts into reality.