Marlon Jackson

Marlon David Jackson (born March 12, 1957) is an American singer, former member of The Jackson 5, and older brother of American pop stars Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. He is the sixth eldest Jackson child.


Early years

Born in Gary, Indiana to Joseph and Katherine Jackson as a twin, his older twin brother Brandon died a stillborn after an emergency c-section surgery was performed on Katherine. Marlon was born several months premature. While Marlon was still a young child, his older brothers Jackie, Tito and Jermaine formed an early incarnation of what would be The Jackson 5 in 1964. Within two years, Marlon and younger brother Michael joined the group initially as percussionists. According to sources, Marlon was told by his father Joseph that he couldn't sing and wasn't as skilled a dancer as younger brother Michael, and was almost removed from the group. Reasoning for remove is because he sang out of tune and missed turns. Eventually, he was not removed from the group. While he eventually danced, he was required not to sing until the group was signed to Motown in 1969. (Later on in his career however, fans began to regard him as one of the bands most talented dancers)

The Jackson 5

In 1969, the Jackson 5 scored the first of four consecutive number one pop singles during their tenure in Motown. While brothers Michael and Jermaine were the main leading attractions of the group, all five Jackson brothers took turns singing lead in various songs. Marlon's voice was included in "I Want You Back", "Mama's Pearl", "I'll Be There", and "Rockin' Robin". During the early years, the group was influenced by the multi-vocal leadings of The Temptations and Sly and the Family Stone. During the Motown years, Marlon co-sung lead in the group's 1970 hit, "I'll Be There" where he ad-libbed holding on besides Michael, Jermaine and Jackie. Marlon took background vocals in Michael Jackson's solo song "Rockin' Robin'". The only song Marlon took Lead vocals in from 1970-1972 was "Feelin' Alright". Marlon also had a co-lead spot in the cover of Funkadelic's "I'll Bet You", he also sung co-lead on their covers of Sly and the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" and "I Want to Take You Higher". He also had several lead spots in the Jackson 5's 1973 album, G.I.T.: Get It Together. Eventually a dispute with Motown led to the group's split from the label in 1976 to sign with CBS Records leaving brother Jermaine to leave the group. Marlon then took part in singing Jermaine's parts.

Later years

After the inclusion of youngest brother Randy and the group's name change to the Jacksons, Marlon took the place of Jermaine as one of the group's co-leaders often taking Jermaine's spot when singing older hits at concert. The group's later albums, Destiny and Triumph, returned the brothers back to the top of the pop charts. Marlon took a special co-lead spot on the Jacksons' album track "Give It Up" from their Triumph album playing a second tenor contrast to brother Michael's falsetto lead. The return of Jermaine to the group in 1983 after their reunited performance at Motown 25 led to a new album and tour, both titled Victory in 1984. Despite the success of both the album and tour, monetary problems and rumored accounts of the brothers' egos led to the collapse of the Jacksons as a group. Michael announced his exit from the group at the end of the tour while Marlon stunned family members a year later and announced his split from the group leaving the Jacksons as a quartet of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Randy. The Jacksons later confirmed their breakup in 1990. Marlon didn't participate in much of the Jacksons' final album, 1989's 2300 Jackson Street though he and Michael were featured on the title track, which became an R&B hit. Marlon issued his debut album, Baby Tonight, on Capitol Records, which was only a modestly successful album. As far as playing a pivotal role in his brothers' careers, he produced songs for all three of his sisters, producing Janet's 1984 album, Dream Street, which featured the top ten R&B single, "Don't Stand Another Chance". He also produced a song on Rebbie Jackson's debut album, Centipede.

Other endeavors

Unlike his brothers, after his brush with solo stardom tanked, Marlon embarked on a career outside of show business, becoming a successful real estate agent in Southern California. He was also part owner of the Black Family Channel, a cable network designed to bring family-friendly programming to the Black community. Marlon joined his brothers on stage when the Jackson 5 was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2001, he reunited with his brothers to perform as the Jacksons during Michael's 30th anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden.

Personal life

In August 1975, at age 18, Marlon married Carol Parker, a girl he met and corresponded with since 1968 before his rise to fame. Marlon is the only Jackson brother to avoid divorce, and the couple have three children: Valencia, Brittany and Marlon, Jr. Among the Jackson brothers, Marlon was also the first to become a grandfather after daughter Valencia gave birth to a boy, Noah, in 2006.

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