*not Michael, Janet or Jermaine.
Y’all know I love me some Jacksons. However, that love is extended far beyond the usual triumverate of Michael, Janet and Jermaine (wait…is Jermaine really part of that triumverate?) A quick look through my record collection will reveal albums from a variety of Jackson family members (including nephews 3T.) The truth is, every one of Joe and Katherine’s kids bar one (you rebel, Tito) has released a solo album on a major label. The casual music listener may not have heard many of these songs before, but sites like this exist to bring these to your attention. Enjoy!
And oh yeah, in case I don’t write an entire editorial about it, fuck Wade Robson.
LaToya Jackson “Heart Don’t Lie” (1984)
These days, we know LaToya for being kinda crazypants, posing for Playboy, being married to that gnarly abusive dude who made her say some fucked up things about her family, and looking the most like Michael post-surgery, but there was a time that ‘Toya was best known as a singer. She released five albums between 1980-1988, and while they collectively sold what Thriller might have sold in a day in 1983 or 1984, she did scrape the Hot 100 with “Heart Don’t Lie.” The reggae-inflected jam was a minor hit in the summer of ’84, as Victory was lighting up the charts. The video is simple and charming (some might say cheesy) and the Pop-Up Video take is note-perfect. By the way, that guy “singing” the male vocals in the video? Not the actual singer of the male vocals on the record. That would be Jackson family friend Howard Hewett, former lead vocalist of pop-soul trio Shalamar.
Rebbie Jackson “Centipede” (1984)
In 1984, Michael’s post-Thriller largesse extended widely. He teamed up with Jermaine for “Tell Me I’m Not Dreamin,” rejoined his brothers for Victory, contributed vocals to Janet’s “Don’t Stand Another Chance,” and even helped out an old family friend by singing on Rockwell’s smash “Somebody’s Watching Me.” He also wrote and produced this slinky funk number for his oldest sister, Rebbie (the video for which, they apparently robbed a nature preserve for.) The end result was a song that hit the Top 40 on the pop chart, the top 10 on the R&B chart, and wound up certified Gold. Gotta admit, this is kind of a jam, although I’d give a tip of the hat to anyone who can explain what the hell this song is about!
Jackie Jackson “Stay” (1989)
The eldest Jackson brother released his first solo album in 1973. Sixteen years later, he released his second solo album. There has not been a third.
Aside from his work with The Jackson 5/The Jacksons, Jackie is probably best known for
boinking discovering a talent by the name of Paula Abdul. Through her torrid love affair with a married man association with Jackie, Paula got her first choreography job working on The Jacksons’ “Torture” video (AKA the one that didn’t feature Michael or Jermaine even though they both sang on it.)
1989 was a weird year for The Jacksons. Albums were released by the family band, plus Jackie, Jermaine, Randy and Janet. Someone should have dropped a non-compete clause in their contract or something. That clause could’ve also applied to the shoulder pads Jackie’s rocking in this video.
Marlon Jackson “Don’t Go” (1987)
Not a lot of creativity within the brothers as far as song titles, eh?
The closest brother in age to Michael (Marlon is about 18 months older,) Marlon was also the first to leave the family group, saying his goodbyes shortly after the Victory Tour ended. It was another couple of years before he released his debut (and to date: only) solo album, Baby Tonight. The album’s first single, “Don’t Go,” rose all the way to #2 on the Billboard R&B charts in the fall of 1987.
Dude could dance his ass off. I know the video’s not the greatest quality, but Marlon had energy to spare…doing splits and shit.
Randy & The Gypsys “Love You Honey” (1989)
The youngest Jackson brother is arguably the most unrecognized. Not only did the talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist have to live in Michael’s shadow, but he also shares his name with that damn “American Idol” co-host/highly regarded studio musician (and wasn’t there a third Randy Jackson as well?) Back in The Jacksons’ days, Randy was about to spin off into a solo career, but that was pre-empted first by Michael’s astonishing success with Off the Wall, and then by a horrific auto accident that almost cost him the use of his legs. Of the surviving Jackson brothers, Randy has the most, shall we say, colorful history. I mean, who else can boast of being shot by Tina Turner and being kidnapped by Central American rebels?
Randy finally got to release an album in 1989, as part of an ensemble called Randy & the Gypsys (sic). Two minor hit singles-”Perpetrators” and ‘Love You Honey” were released.