Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Never Can Say Goodbye; It's 50 Years since Five Brothers Brought Jacksonmania to the Music World. JOE NERSSESSIAN Talks to Marlon Jackson about Their Success and How It All Began

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Never Can Say Goodbye; It's 50 Years since Five Brothers Brought Jacksonmania to the Music World. JOE NERSSESSIAN Talks to Marlon Jackson about Their Success and How It All Began

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE NERSSESSIAN

THE Jackson 5 were the original boy band, going on to produce one of music's biggest pop stars. Child stars Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael hit number one with their first four singles I Want You Back, ABC, The Love You Share and I'll Be There and even had their own TV show.

The brothers from Indiana had an average age of 12 when they turned professional. Five decades on from their first record deal, their youthful funky pop-soul continues to grace party playlists.

The longevity of their music is a blessing, says a soft-spoken Marlon. At 60, he has been part of one of the world's most successful groups (on and off) for more than 90% of his life.

He was just 10 when the group was first signed in 1967 and he is the youngest living member of the original line-up. Michael was the youngest.

"It doesn't feel like 50 years at all, it's gone so quickly," he says. "To see that people still enjoy the music and the fans are still there loving the music is an achievement."

During the height of Jacksonmania, crowds would almost pile up on top of each other close to the stage. Early footage shows girls climbing frantically over seats to get closer, with police officers looking alarmed nearby. The vibe is a little different now, explains Marlon, but he is still amazed at the number of youngsters they attract.

"It's like 'How do you know these songs?' They weren't even born but their mums and dads still play them and they fell in love with us and now they are playing them for their kids. It's amazing."

The group's ongoing popularity means they continue to grace stages across the globe. This summer they are returning to the UK as part of their 50th anniversary celebrations, notably making their long-overdue debut at Glastonbury.

It was overnight during the festival eight years ago that thousands of music fans learned of Michael's death. It never gets easier, says Marlon. "You never get over it," he adds. "You have to learn to live with it. That's how I put it."

He remembers their relationship as one filled with laughter and, of course, dancing.

"We were the jokers, we were always joking and messing around. …

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