It’s been almost a decade now since Michael Jackson passed away, and fans around the world are still processing the news. No one took it harder than Michael’s own family and friends, many of whom had recorded and performed with him over the course of his illustrious career.
Though still underrated, Janet Jackson’s phenomenal career is well documented elsewhere. The brothers who had toured and recorded with Michael, first as the Jackson 5 and later as The Jacksons, deserve an overview of their own careers after Michael went solo. So without further ado, these are The Jacksons’ best post-Michael moments.
Though Michael had released some solo material as a young boy — the theme to the movie ‘Ben’ being one popular example — it was actually Jermaine Jackson who first made a bid for a solo career.
In 1975, The Jackson 5 left Motown, instead signing with Epic Records for a better royalties deal and more creative freedom. As a condition, they changed their name to what it is today: The Jacksons (this also gave them more leeway to have any other number of members). Though the Epic Records lineup still included five Jackson brothers, Randy Jackson replaced Jermaine, who instead chose to stay with Motown as a solo artist.
Jermaine’s solo records with Motown were hugely successful with fans and critics alike. His 1980 album Let’s Get Serious was nominated for a Grammy, and featured songwriting and production from labelmate Stevie Wonder. Several albums followed, including the largely self-produced Dynamite, which became his most commercially successful solo record.
In 1983, Jermaine rejoined The Jacksons for the Victory album and subsequent tour. At the end of the tour, Michael and Marlon Jackson announced they were leaving the group to pursue their respective solo careers.
Undeterred, the four remaining brothers stayed together as a group. A few years later they made their first album without Michael on lead vocals: 2300 Jackson Street. Named after their family home, the 1989 album features collaborations with some of the most accomplished producers of that era, including Babyface, L.A. Reid and Teddy Riley, as well as the brothers themselves.
The album underperformed commercially, but it has since become a fan favourite. The title track, in particular, is a moving celebration of family life, bringing together many members of the Jackson clan, including Janet and Michael who both contribute vocals.
When Michael Jackson passed away in 2010, The Jacksons had a lot of ideas about how to pay tribute to their brother. The group appeared at Michael’s public memorial service, with Jermaine giving a heart-wrenching rendition of one of his late brother’s favourite songs, ‘Smile’. But plans for their own large-scale tribute were difficult to put together.
After years of discussions, the band finally embarked on the 2012-13 Unity Tour, which was The Jacksons’ first tour in more than three decades, and their first ever tour without Michael. With a hit-filled setlist that included several Michael Jackson songs as a tribute to their brother, the tour was a huge success. Jermaine, Tito, Marlon and Jackie brought the music of The Jacksons and of Michael Jackson to the world once again, proving themselves as seasoned performers, and keeping their brother’s legacy alive.
While it’s important to have this kind of retrospective overview of great artists, there’s no need to entirely dwell on The Jacksons’ past. As ambassadors for R&B’s golden era, the group’s performances around the world today always bring joy and delight to audiences. Millions of us were raised on The Jacksons, even if we were born during their 1990s/2000s hiatus. With gigs and festival slots worldwide, Jermaine Jackson and The Jacksons are keeping the spirit of Motown alive, telling you, as they have before, to ‘Enjoy Yourself’.
Contact his music agent today to book Jermaine Jackson for your venue, event or festival.