Today is the 47th birthday of Jackie Jackson, the oldest of the
superstar singing group first known as the Jackson 5 and later as the
Jacksons -- both vocal ensembles spotlighting the voice of Michael
Jackson. The Jackson 5 were one of the greatest hit-making acts of the
'70s. Its members were all brothers: Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and
Michael. The boys were raised in Gary, Ind., and sent into the music world
by their father, Joe, in 1966.
In 1969, Bobby Taylor of the Motown act the Vancouvers brought the
Jackson 5 to that record label's attention. In 1970, "I Want You Back"
topped the U.S. singles chart, becoming the first of the group's 13 top-
20 singles. Others included "ABC" (1970), "I'll Be There" (1970),
"Never Can Say Goodbye" (1971) and "Dancing Machine" (1974). In 1975, the
Jackson 5 left Motown over creative-control issues and changed their name
to the Jacksons to sign with Epic Records. At their new label, the
Jacksons began writing and producing most of their material and resumed
their hit-making, including 1976's "Enjoy Yourself" and 1979's "Shake Your
Body (Down To The Ground)". As the '80s began, Michael's career began to
eclipse the group's and he became the most successful recording artist of
his time. In the '90s, the Jacksons tried various reunion events, the
success of these being determined by Michael's always-questionable
participation. In 1994, the "Jackson Family Honors" charity TV show, for
which Michael was a no-show, was a ratings disaster and resulted in
lawsuits. However, in 1998, the brothers are reportedly planning another
such benefit. "Earthvision '98," to be headlined by a Jacksons
performance, is scheduled to be broadcast live this summer from Athens,
Greece, and will honor the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sophia Loren, Stevie
Wonder and Bishop Desmond Tutu for public service.
Other birthdays: Ed Cassidy (Spirit), 74; Dick Dale, 61; Nick Ashford
Simpson), 55; Ronnie Bond (the Troggs), 55; Georg Wadenius (Blood, Sweat
and Tears), 53; and Mike Dirnt (Green Day), 26.