JERMAINE JACKSON - BIOGRAPHY
Possessing one of the most elegant voices in the annals of popular music, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alumnus Jermaine Jackson’s imprint on the musical landscape is so indelible that an optimum barometer has been set for future generations of performers. From a youngster in Gary, Indiana, to an embraceable solo artist, Jermaine’s contributions to the pop music spectrum are incalculable.
With bursts of eclectic harmonic fusion, Jermaine’s undulating guitar baselines crescendo into rhythmic explosions(!), taking international audiences by storm. His superlative studio recordings, action videos and dynamic stage routines are emblematic of his inestimable contribution to the world of entertainment. And his insightful business aptitude and undying love for the music that has shaped generations account for the enormity of his commercial success.
In 1962, Jermaine, as a member of The Jackson Brothers, enjoyed his first studio recording (local label) titled “Big Boy.” This morphed into a local hit and set the stage for the 1969 partnership with Motown Records. Subsequently, the group, now the Jackson 5, made live appearances on the top-rated Ed Sullivan, American Bandstand and Soul Train television shows.
In the 1970s, they were the first act in recording history to have their first four singles ("I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There") reach the pinnacle of Billboard’s Hot 100. Also, "Mama's Pearl", "Never Can Say Goodbye" and "Dancing Machine" reached Billboard’s Top 5 and all reached number 1 on the R&B charts. Realizing their multitudinous gifts, the brothers composed and produced many of their own studio recordings during that decade.
Jermaine’s illustrious solo career began in 1972 with the platinum cover of the R&B classic “Daddy’s Home,” a Billboard Top-Ten hit and a Motown Records release. Soon a plethora of successes followed, including “Let’s Get Serious,” “Let’s Be Young Tonight,” "Do What You Do," “Don’t Take It Personal” (# 1 on Billboard’s R&B charts), and multitudes more.
And it was in 1976 that they filmed their own primetime television show for CBS and a Saturday morning ABC TV animation series.
After fulfilling commitments to Motown, in 1984 Jermaine accepted the invitation to join forces with Arista Records to release the album Dynamite, which featured the mega-disc "Do What You Do" and a number of duets. This was followed by the album Don’t Take It Personal, which housed numerous emotive singles and a continuum of well-produced albums. In 1985, Jermaine co-produced Whitney Houston’s biggest-selling debut album, Whitney Houston, which contained three hit singles and his duet with Whitney. His airwave success swept not only America, but in the same year, his duet with Pia Zadora in the UK, “When the Rain Begins to Fall,” topped many singles charts.
Although Jermaine’s vocal prowess is obvious, his versatility as a performer was accentuated in 1984 when the brother’s embarked on the highest-grossing concert tour till that time – The Victory Tour. To witness him playing bass riffs, singing and dancing to the syncopated beat of forever classics was a visual that is cherished by millions of attendees and video aficionados. That, coupled with success as a Jackson 5, validated the multitalented star as one of the most influential recording artists to ever command center stage. Additionally, in the early 1990s, he recorded an album and several singles for La Face Records.
Jermaine alone enjoys the distinction as the only artist to perform as co-lead singer with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Their one-two punch kept their music on the charts and laid the foundation for the gush of artists who’ve acknowledged them as their primary creative influences, among them Celine Dion, Justin Timberlake and Usher.
In 1992, Jermaine’s role as a pivotal member of both of the brothers’ successful groups was highlighted in the video and television special The Jacksons: An American Dream, which Jermaine co-executive produced. He also co-executive produced The Jackson Family Honors special for NBC, which benefited charities.
In 2010, to the delight of his loyal international fan base, Jermaine co-starred and executive produced the television documentary series The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty on the A&E network. This insightful, six-part series gave a rare glimpse into the Jackson Family and debuted with 2.8 million viewers.
Another performing highlight of Jermaine’s remarkable career was the unforgettable reunion performance on one of histories most watched television specials, Motown 25. The show signaled a pivotal point in the thrilling career of this entertainment icon. And in 1997, to the delight of family, friends and supporters, Jermaine and his brothers (The Jacksons) received the ultimate professional tribute: induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Also in 2010, Jermaine performed a solo concert in Gambia for the International Kanilai Cultural Festival before 30,000 excited fans at Bakau’s Independence Stadium. In addition to his solo repertoire, a special tribute to The King of Pop and songs from both The Jackson 5 and The Jackson’s kept the vivacious throng thrilled.
As a father, husband, philanthropist, musician and composer, Jermaine, who is deeply religious, leverages his high-profile status – whether on Larry King, network television or other media outlets ¾ to emphasize the plight of the less-fortunate, not in word, but in deed. In traveling the world, he has seen the best and the worst that mankind has to offer, and he has, along with his caring wife Halima, contributed his time and financial resources in assisting those in desperate need.
Jermaine’s love of life and family was no more obvious than at the memorial service for his younger brother. When he sang “Smile” to billions, tears flowed like the Nile from grieving faces of admirers everywhere. According to a long-time industry insider: “Jermain’s emotive rendition of that standard was never sung better.”
For Jermaine, the show must go on, and it has: he plans to record more albums and to tour as a solo performer. And in the event of a brothers’ reunion, make no mistake about it: You’ll be the first to know.
(Jermaine and his family express their sincerest gratitude for the tremendous support you granted them during a most difficult time.)
By Phil Brown