The man who managed The Jackson 5 to show business heights has died. Joe Jackson passed away Wednesday at a Las Vegas hospital from pancreatic cancer. He was 89. His grandson Randy Jackson Jr. shared the news of Jackson’s passing on Twitter. (See it below).
John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson, released the following press statement: “We are deeply saddened by Mr. Jackson’s passing and extend our heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Katherine Jackson and the family. Joe was a strong man who acknowledged his own imperfections and heroically delivered his sons and daughters from the steel mills of Gary, Indiana to worldwide pop superstardom.”
As the patriarch in a family that produced 10 children, Jackson’s iron will and stern discipline of his young sons led them to music chart success. However, his tactics later estranged some of them and he spent his final years living away from wife Katherine Jackson.
Joe Jackson was born July 26, 1928, in Fountain Hill, Arkansas. His parents divorced, and Jackson went to live in California with his father, When he turned 18, he moved to Indiana to live with his mother. He had boxing success in the Golden Gloves competition, but when he met 17-year-old Katherine Scruse, he annulled a previous marriage so he could marry her.
The couple married on November 5, 1949, and moved to a two-bedroom house in Gary, Indiana. Jackson worked as a crane operator for US Steel to support his growing family, and also performed on guitar with a blues band called The Falcons.
He then began noticing the musical talents in his sons Jackie, Tito and Jermaine, later adding younger sons Michael and Marlon. The boys endured long rehearsals under Jackson’s management, but the hard work began to pay off in local talent show victories and high school dance gigs. The Jackson 5 landed a spot at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y., winning attention that won them their first record deal on the Gary label Steeltown Records.
Sensing the opportunity, Joe steered them to an audition for Detroit’s Motown Records, then the hottest R&B label in the country. They signed to the label in March 1969. Having outgrown Indiana, the family moved to California, with Joe supervising every Motown recording session. Their hit “I Want You Back” was a No. 1 single in Oct. 1969, followed by a full-length album, the promotionally-named Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 in December of that year.
Joe Jackson was portrayed by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs in the 1992 miniseries The Jacksons: The American Dream and was awarded the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame Museum’s Humanitarian Award in 2015.
Jackson is survived by his wife Katherine; sons Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Randy; and daughters Rebbie, La Toya and Janet.