Essay Preview: The Jacksons
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in the music business, from birth? This is the life of the Jackson family. The Family consists of nine children, Joe, and Katherine.
Father, Joeseph Jackson was born in Arkansas in 1929 and raised in Tennessee. His own father, a Lutheran, was a stern schoolteacher, and had strict discipline. Joseph was a teenager when his parents divorced. Katherine Jackson was her husbands complete opposite in temperament. Katherine was born in 1930 and grew up in Alabama. A very loving parent, she played the clarinet and piano, and she influenced her children with her own love of music.
As a very young child, Katherine had been stricken with polio, a disease that killed many children and left many others severely handicapped. Yet she survived, she had to use a crutch until she was a teenager. Joseph met Katherine at a party. She fell in love with him at first sight, but Josephs feelings for her took longer to develop. He had already been married and divorced before he married Katherine in 1949, when she was 18 and he was 21. The newlyweds settled in Gary, Indiana, a town just outside of Chicago. In 1950 Katherine gave birth to their first child, a girl whom they named Maureen (Rebbie). The following year, Sigmund Esco (Jackie) was born. Two years later, another boy, Tariano (Tito) arrived. In 1954 the Jacksons had a third son named Jermaine. LaToya, their second daughter, was born in 1956, and was followed by 3 brothers: Marlon in 1957, Michael in 1958, and Randall (Randy) in 1961. And on May 16, 1966, Janet Dameta was born. Katherine recalls ” Janet was the most beautiful baby in the hospital.”
When the children began to play dads guitar and moms piano, they soon let the oldest 5 enter talent competitions. The talent shows they entered were all competitive and they soon began winning! Michael sang lead, Tito on guitar, Jermaine on Bass, and others sang and dance. They were learning stage crafts from James Brown, The Chi-Lites, Temptations, Gladys Knight, and the Pips.
In 1968 the group auditioned for Berry Gordy of Motown Records, who promptly signed the Jackson 5 to his pioneering label. Thanks to the precious talent of ten year old Michael, the group quickly won the hearts of America. Scoring number 1. Hits 1969-1970. Jackson Five was also featured in a TV cartoon series and were commended by congress for their contributions to American Youth, altogether a remarkable bundle of talent. The Jackson Five had 16 top 40 singles altogether with Motown between 1969 and 1975. Within a year however, their novelty was wearing off, though they still reached the top 10 with “Mamas Pearl”, and “Never Can Say Goodbye”. Still with upstart acts like The Osmonds and The Partridge Family, reducing the singing family shtick to clichÐ¹, Michael and Jermaine left the group to create solo careers.
Michael and his solo career was outrageous. On the night of May 16, 1983 almost 50 million people watched one of the most spectacular performances ever seen on television. If Michael would have been in charge, this never would have happened.
He was grateful to Motown for giving his family its start in show business but that was in the past. It took a personal visit from Gordy to persuade Michael to change his mine.The occasion was the special “Motown 25”, a television tribute to Motown records, 25 years of producing hit records by black entertainers. Michael had developed his own dancing style. Michael had picked up a break-dance step from watching kids dancing on the street corners. Michael had planned to do the moonwalk for the first time at the “Motown 25”. Michaels performance was so incredible Rolling Stone called it “The most electrifying five minutes of the evening!”
The next day one of Michaels heroes, dancer, FredAstaire called him. Astaire told Michael that he was one hell of a mover. This really made Michael so honored. Katherine claimed that as a baby Michael always had coordination and danced like an older person, unlike average babies.
Michaels favorite childhood memory of his dad was when Joe would bring home big bags of glazed doughnuts. According to Katherine, the children never got into serious trouble and rarely needed to be disciplined. The closet where Joe kept his electric guitar was practically sacred and was off limits to the kids. Tito once stole his fathers prized guitar and got caught. Joe asked Tito to show him what he could play. In 1964 most six year old