Publicity photo of The Jackson 5 from their 1972 television special (Courtesy of CBS Television via Wikimedia Commons)
Publicity photo of The Jackson 5 from their 1972 television special (Courtesy of CBS Television via Wikimedia Commons)


Fifty-five years ago, music changed forever.

In 1965, pop music’s most celebrated and dynamic dynasty began its journey to stardom when five brothers from Gary, Indiana, formed The Jackson 5.

With chart-breaking songs like “I’ll Be There,” “The Love You Save” and “I Want You Back,” the brothers quickly took the world by storm. But more would come as their trailblazing act set the stage for music’s single most influential artist: Michael Jackson, the “King of Pop.”

While the Jackson 5 never won a Grammy, Michael would eventually dominate all awards and shatter every record known to the music industry.

Following a long list of hits too numerous to recite including “Off the Wall,” “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” “Bad” and “Man in the Mirror,” Michael’s solo accomplishments remain unchallenged with the youngest Jackson brother not only idolized by fans around the globe but garnering the respect of other celebrities.

To put it in perspective, the praise heaped upon Michael equates to that achieved by Beyoncé multiplied by hundreds. As for the industry awards which eluded the Jackson 5 — who would later be rebranded as the Jacksons after leaving Motown — they dominated categories where it may have mattered the most with rarely-achieved record sales and concert receipts.

As for talent, Michael wouldn’t be the only Jackson to make his mark. On stage and far from hyperbole, Jackie, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and even Randy proved to be just as talented as any pop star. Of course, anyone who shared the stage with Michael had to possess talent of equal proportion. Few would argue that the only thing better than a Michael Jackson concert would be a performance featuring the entire Jackson clan.

“Nobody worked harder than Michael,” Joseph Jackson, the late family patriarch, once told this reporter. “But nobody except my boys could run with him.”

Jermaine, perhaps the best-known group member not named Michael, would also be ticketed for superstardom. Far from coincidence, Jermaine served as the glue that held the brothers together.

He also possessed a string of hits, including “Let’s Get Serious,” “Dynamite” and “When the Rain Begins to Fall.” Meanwhile, Tito would go on to front a blues band, while Jackie found success producing other artists.

The Jackson 5 earned induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Michael, who died in 2009, would be inducted as a solo artist four years later.

But the King of Pop’s music continues to routinely top the charts. In fact, his legacy has eclipsed the likes of musical icons including Elvis Presley and John Lennon, among others. His estate continues to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and fans remain as loyal today as ever.

The Jacksons have since resumed touring, wowing a new generation of fans with sold-out performances.

“There was always magic in Michael and something special in all of them,” said Motown Records founder Berry Gordy.

Motown legend Stevie Wonder agrees: “There will never be another Michael nor another Jackson 5.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.