In 1968, Bobby Taylor (of Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers) discovered a group of five talented young brothers from Gary, Indiana and brought them to Motown’s attention. Their audition impressed president Berry Gordy, who signed The Jackson 5 almost immediately. The Jackson 5 soon exploded onto the pop and R&B charts in 1969 with “I Want You Back.” Like many of the group’s earliest hits, the song was co-written by “The Corporation,” a group of Motown writers and producers that included Berry Gordy, Alphonso “Fonce” Mizell, Freddie Perren and Deke Richards.
Diana Ross played a major role in The Jackson 5’s debut, presenting the group to music industry insiders in Los Angeles, California in August 1969. As the opening act for a Diana Ross & the Supremes concert at Los Angeles Forum a few days later, the boys were on their way to stardom. Four chart-topping releases followed over the next eleven months: “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” and “I’ll Be There,” making The Jackson 5 the only group to have its first four records reach Number 1 on the charts.
Years later, Berry Gordy would recall the boys’ determination to succeed in his autobiography. He wrote, “(t)heir hard work was unconditional, and they were willing to sweat to perfection.” Versatile, dynamic performers, the Jackson brothers soaked up all the training and advice the Motown hit-making machine offered. With an unmatched crossover appeal, the group’s singles hit the pop and R&B charts without fail.
The brothers, who ranged in age from ten to seventeen in 1969, captured the hearts of youngsters and music fans of all ages with their charm and talent.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Three Jackson 5 singles have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame: “I’ll Be There” (1999), “I Want You Back” (1999), and “ABC” (2017).
The Jackson 5 perform “Medley: Stand!, Who’s Loving You, I Want You Back” on The Ed Sullivan Show, December 19, 1969.
The Jackson 5 perform “I Want You Back” on their Goin’ Back to Indiana TV Special, 1971.
The Jackson 5 recorded an astounding 17 singles that reached the R&B Top 10 during their six-and-a-half years with Motown Records.