Jermaine Jackson Biography
Singer. Born Jermaine La Jaune Jackson on December 11, 1954, in Gary, Indiana, to parents Katherine and Joseph Jackson. The fourth of ten children, Jermaine and his family were very musical; Katherine was an asipiring pianist and singer, and Joseph briefly played guitar with his brother in their band, The Falcons. But while music was their passion, it didn’t pay the bills. So Joseph supported his family with his job at U.S. Steel while Katherine stayed at home and raised the children.
While his father worked long hours as a crane operator, Jermaine and his brothers Tito and Jackie practiced their own songs, sometimes on their father’s guitar. One night, after Tito accidentally broke a string on his father’s instrument, the trio had to own up to their late night practicing. Joe, out of anger, made the boys demonstrate their musicianship. Impressed, he recognized the boys’ potential and began encouraging them to perform as a group. Jermaine and his two older brothers began The Jackson Brothers in 1964. By the end of 1965, Jermaine’s younger brothers Marlon and Michael had also joined, creating The Jackson 5.
After Jermaine and the group won a talent contest held at brother Jackie’s high school, The Jackson 5 began taking their performances more seriously. Jermaine moved from lead singer to back-up singer and bassist after several years as the rhythm guitarist and lead singer.
Jermaine and his brothers worked long hours and performed in several low-class nighclubs before securing a spot in the famous Amateur Night competition at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. The group won the contest, impressing Motown CEO Berry Gordy, who awarded the group a record contract in 1968. The group became wildly successful, and their first four hits went directly to No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
In 1972, while still with The Jackson 5, Jermaine began a solo career. A year later, he married Berry Gordy’s daugther, Hazel, during this time. When The Jackson 5 left Motown for CBS records, Jermaine broke with the group and stayed loyal to Motown.
Jermaine’s solo career throughout the late 70s and early 80s was fairly successful; his 1980 album Let’s Get Serious was nominated for a Grammy Award, and songs such as “Daddy’s Home,” “Feel the Fire,” and “Let’s Get Serious” all hit at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100. Despite his success with the company, Jermaine left Motown in 1983 for Arista Records, where he scored hits such as “Do What You Do” and “Dynamite.”