Joe Jackson is recognized as the father of the Jackson musical family, most notably the pop superstars Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, and as the former manager of the worldwide phenomenon The Jackson 5, a group consisting of his five sons. For his successful managerial effort, in October 2002 he was awarded by Jane L. Campbell, the Mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, a proclamation in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the Best Entertainment Manager of All Time. In the 1992 TV film “The Jacksons: An American Dream,” Jackson was portrayed by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. He also stepped in front of the camera as an actor in the films “Diamond from the Bantus” (2002) and “Destination Fame” (2004, also co-producer).
Jackson has frequently been accused of by members of his family of abusive parenting. Michael had said that in the past Jackson never demonstrated the kind of emotion that fathers should show to their kids and Jermaine and Janet added that Jackson was able to bring his family out of their rocky Gary neighborhood using the talents of his children. In her book, “La Toya: Growing up in the Jackson Family” (1991), La Toya called her father a physically and sexually abusive father. Jackson was also reported to have been unfaithful to his wife Katherine during their marriage.
Jackson currently resides in Las Vegas. He has 26 grandchildren.
Childhood and Family:
The son of Crystal Lee King and Samuel Jackson, Joseph Walter Jackson, professionally known as Joe Jackson, was born on July 26, 1929, in Fountain Hill, Arkansas, but grew up in Oakland California. The eldest of four, at age 18 he moved to Chicago to live with his mother. It was in Chicago that Joe met future wife Katherine Jackson, whom he eventually married on November 5, 1949. Joe and Katherine then relocated to Gary, Indiana, where he found worked as a crane operator at Gary's U.S Steel company while his wife took care of their nine children, which consisted of the six boys Jackie (born 1951), Tito (1953), Jermaine (born 1954), Marlon (born 1957), Michael (born 1958) and Randy (1961) and three girls named Rebbie (born 1950), La Toya (born 1956) and Janet (born 1966).
The father of nine, Joe Jackson began his musical career in the 1950s by forming a band with his brother called the Falcons. The group, however, never got out of Gary, Indiana, and split up within two years. He went on to play his guitar during singing-alongs with his wife and children. By 1962, Jackson had discovered his three eldest sons, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, had a knack for music and Joe establish an early incarnation of Jackson 5 with two neighborhood youngsters before younger brothers Marlon and Michael joined the group.
Under the strict guidance of Mr. Jackson, the Jackson 5 refined their talents and turned professional by 1966. Working as their manager, Jackson booked the boys all over the eastern U.S. and provided opportunities for them to perform with other artists like Gladys Knight and the Pips, who were already recording for Motown. After winning a number of talent contests, The Jackson 5 landed their first record contract with Steeltown Records. However, they did not receive their big break until 1969 when the group began their partnership with Motown.
Shortly thereafter, The Jackson 5 became household names. After the release of the #1 hit “I Want You Back,” the Jackson 5's first single, the group's first four singles sold 10 million copies in 10 months and set a world record for sales. The success gave evidence that Jackson's ambition to make his sons the first black youngsters to become international recording stars had been achieved. However, the victory was not without cost. Jackson's role as manager decreased when Motown CEO Berry Gordy began taking more control of the act. Joe returned to the manager's chair when he began managing the entire family for performances in Las Vegas and helped the Jackson 5 secure a deal with CBS after leaving Motown. Nevertheless, in 1982, his sons began working with outside managers.
Jackson is also known for managing the careers of his daughters La Toya and Janet until they also left him in favor of solo projects. He financed the recording of Janet's first demo and signed her to A&M Records, which was responsible for the release of her albums “Control” and “Rhythm Nation.” “Control” and “Rhythm Nation” were produced in conjunction with Jackson's production company. With the help of her father, La Toya released her first album with Private I Records.
Jackson’s more recent activities included making several trips to Africa to testify on Michael's behalf that Michael co-wrote “We Are the World.” He also acted in the 2002 film “Diamond from the Bantus” and 2004's “Destination Fame,” which he also co-produced with Pauile D'Angelo and Crystal Marven. In addition, Jackson was credited as a co-creator of the TV sitcom “Blended,” a family comedy about the life of a young couple.
In late 2005, Jackson proclaimed that he would host a boot camp for aspiring hip-hop acts. He said, “Everybody is liking rap now. I'm gonna have to clean it up a little bit, all that vulgar language out there. I'm gonna have to keep that clean with nice singing in it and great music behind it.”