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The Jackson clan represents a colossus in music history terms. Their exploits and successes are so vast it would and has taken library loads of books to explain their appeal. But in fact their charismatic pull is down to exquisite singing, professional stagecraft that defines show business and groundbreaking productions that always kept them at the forefront of the pop soul movement. Added to that is their appeal to TV watching teen fans, live shows that defy description on occasion and the inescapable truth that they defined black American music as a commercial entity for longer than anyone else. Consider: their combined total sales place them in the Elvis Presley and Beatles category and with front man Michael’s subsequent career and waiting-in-the-wings Janet Jackson to come they would eclipse all rivals with ease. Their debut Motown single, I Want You Back”, released in October 1969 sets them off as number one hits follow in rapid succession leaving records tumbling. Michael, Jermaine (later replaced by bro’ Randy) Marlon, Tito and Jackie were hardly puppets of the industry either since they were schooled in old-fashioned values by their immediate family, especially father Joe. “ABC”, “The Love You Save” and “I’ll Be There” were also modernist in approach, the latter becoming Motown’s biggest record, selling seven million copies and replacing Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” as the label’s supreme moment. Four first number ones? That’s more history. They also enjoyed, and then probably endured, Jackson mania. Thousands of fans waited for them at Heathrow Airport, police escorts were their everyday companions. The big tours got bigger: Destiny, Victory and Triumph figured them as quasi-Roman cohorts conquering territories in their wake. They played seven nights at the Dodger Stadium in LA, another record – 90,000 folks a night. And they evolved. When Motown tried to restrain them inside a slick, bubblegum wrapper they rebelled and embraced elements of electronica, Moogs, ARP synthesisers and treated percussion – all quite revolutionary for a pop act in 1980.

Their Motown tutors were the very best – Berry Gordy Jr himself, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder. Once Michael Jackson became the man-child star of legend and birthed The Moonwalk all bets were off. Marlon Jackson’s nephew picked up on that street routine and body popping expert Jeffrey Daniels from Shalamar refined it with MJ in behind closed doors choreography studios. In 1983 with his Moonwalk perfected Michael and his brothers blitzed the Motown 25 Yesterday, Today, Forever TV special. “Billie Jean” and the phenomenal Thriller heralded a period of pop domination not since equalled by anyone. The Jacksons never won a Grammy and were snubbed by the American Music award people but they were au fait with presidents and Kings – Mandela, the potentates of Bahrain and Jordan – they were after all pop royalty in their own right. And then eventually they were inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, how could they not be with sales of mind-boggling proportions! The Jackson 5, the Jackson’s as adults and Michael, Janet and siblings as solo entities all changed the known pop world and discovered places we’d never visited before.

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ABC
Jackson 5 - ABC
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Third Album
Jackson 5 - Third Album
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Get It Together
Jackson 5 - Get It Together
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Maybe Tomorrow
Jackson 5 - Maybe Tomorrow
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Skywriter
Jackson 5 - Skywriter
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Greatest Hits
Jackson 5 - Greatest Hits
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