June 25, 2010
Posted: 02:07 PM ET
Excerpt from Never Can Say Goodbye, The Katherine Jackson Story, by Katherine Jackson. It can be purchased exclusively from jacksonsecretvault.com. Photos from Never Can Say Goodbye.
I always felt that Michael had talent, but I had no idea that he would achieve the level of success he did. Both myself and my husband Joseph grew up with a great love for music. As a child, I enjoyed singing with my sister, and Joe performed in a band with his brother. Soon after we got married, our home in Gary, Indiana was buzzing to the harmony of country, blues and jazz, all of which our nine children took a liking too.
Michael was born with rhythm. As a baby, it was obvious that he loved music and dance. We had a broken down washing machine that made a racketing sound when set to a rinse cycle. Michael would sit on top of the machine with a bottle in his mouth, bopping and grooving to the rhythmic racket. Even before he could say his first words, he responded very well to sound. I knew then that the music was in him.
Ours was a musical family. It was not unusual to find Joseph and I singing country songs around the house when we were newlyweds. We didn’t have much money to entertain ourselves back then. I remember the time our television set broke down. We could not afford to get it fixed, so to entertain the kids, we encouraged the family to sing together with influences of popular musical acts like The Temptations. With his background in music, and my days playing clarinet in my high school band, Joe and I always had instruments lying around the house. Our kids were encouraged to experiment with music at a young age. It was Tito’s talent that got noticed first. He would borrow the guitar to practice on while Joe worked late shifts at the steel mill. The boys took turns on the instruments, intuitively learning how to compose music and vocals.
It was not long before Joseph discovered his sons' talents and decided to form The Jackson Brothers, with our three oldest sons, Tito, Jackie and Jermaine on lead vocals. Marlon and Michael soon became old enough to join their brothers on back-up vocals and percussion. Joseph renamed the boys The Jackson Five in 1964.
After realizing the talent that was brewing, my husband reduced his shifts at the mill so he could dedicate more time into developing the group. Michael’s vocal range was evolving naturally toward what is now known as the signature sound of the group. At the time, Joseph was hesitant to let his young son bear the weight of center stage, but with my persuasion, he eventually allowed Michael to assist Jermaine on lead vocals.
Filed under: Michael Jackson
From around the web
Go Behind The Scenes
LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.
With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.