15 July 2008

July Artist of the Month: The Jackson Family

The Jackson's are without a doubt the most successful and influential family in American Pop Music history.

Born and raised in Gary Indiana, the Jacksons brothers were guided early in their careers by their father Joseph. He saw their potential and in 1964, he decided to form a group around his three eldest sons Jackie, Tito and Jermaine. But it wasn't long until younger brother Michael was added to the group after Joseph discovered his remarkable talent.

The family moved to Los Angeles shortly after the boys signed with Motown in the fall of 1968. It wasn't long before The Jackson 5 was one of the most popular groups in the world. Sisters Rebbie, La Toya and Janet along with the youngest son Randy would stay at home in LA with their mother Katherine while Joesph and the boys were on the road. Randy would replace Jermaine after he left the group to stay at Motown (He had married founder Barry Gordy's daughter) when Joseph took the boys over to CBS for a new more lucrative deal. Jermaine would go on to build a successful solo career as well as mentor other Motown groups such as the Bobby DeBarge lead Switch. (Bobby even dated La Toya for a while and is rumored to have inspired the Switch hit "I Call Your Name") Rebbie, La Toya and Janet would form a short lived group in the late 70s but it would stall almost immediately due to the sisters constant arguing. Around this same time baby sister Janet would try her hand at acting on the then popular sitcom "Good Times" before gaining some minor success with her first two solo albums. Rebbie married and faded from the spotlight for a while before reemerging in the mid 80s with the number one song "Centipede" (Produced by brother Michael). La Toyta (and her headband) would release a few mildly successful albums but eventually become know as the family's "black sheep" after a series of magazine layouts and tell all books.

Brother Michael had left the Jacksons in the early 80s and was now the biggest star in pop music history following "Off The Wall" (79) and the massively successful "Thriller" (82). The bothers tried to carry on without Jermaine and Michael but the public had little interest. Michael briefly rejoined his brothers in 1984 for the Victory tour and album but that was pretty much the last gasp for The Jacksons as group.

Janet would strike pay dirt with her third solo album "Control"(86). Produced by ex Time members Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the album would remake Janet into a pop icon that would rule the charts for the next 15 years.

Michael & Janet alone have sold more records than any brother sister combo in the history of American music. Add the solo albums from Randy, Marlon, Jermaine, Rebbie, La Toya, The Jacksons & Jackson 5, and you have a run that will no doubt never be touched in our lifetime. July in Jacksons month at Reunion Radio. Let's all give it up for America's First Family of Music.

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