The famous King of Pop is still revered today for his innovative inventiveness and music, which revolutionized the music industry. Michael Jackson was a rookie music artist seeking to get into the music industry with his skilled older siblings long before he was called the King of Pop. They were known as the Jackson 5 at the time and consisted of Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, and Michael.
Although Diana Ross is often credited with discovering the Jackson 5 in 1969, Gladys Knight, a great soul singer, was the one who did so. According to a Courier Post report, it was Knight who first brought the Gary, Indiana-based brothers to the attention of record producer and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
According to the report, Knight submitted Jackson’s demo reel to Gordy in 1967, but he was not moved. Gordy returned the reel to the brothers without a contract or explanation. Later, Ross, who was preparing to leave The Supremes to pursue a solo career, realized the brothers’ brilliance.
According to the Courier-Post, Ross utilized her Motown clout to book the Jackson brothers as Diana Ross and The Supremes’ opening act. “Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5.” Diana Ross slammed her name on the Jackson 5’s debut album. On the Motown label, the album was released.
After their father noticed they had musical potential, the Jackson brothers began performing together in the early 1960s. By 1964, the brothers had formed the Jackson Brothers with his assistance. Michael Jackson was only six years old when he joined them. He played congas, while his younger brother, Marlon Jackson, played tambourine.
After winning several amateur music competitions, the Jackson brothers changed their name to the Jackson Five Singing Group in 1965. Later, they abbreviated the name to the Jackson 5. Even though the brothers became household names after the publication of their first album in December 1969, it was their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” that really brought them to the public’s attention.
In July 2015, Marlon Jackson told the London Daily Mail, “We knew it could be our big break and that we needed to do an A-1 job.” “I remember us all going out and picking our outfits at a fashion boutique called First Equals before the event, and by the day of the show, we’d rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed, so even though we were apprehensive, we did our job once you got on that platform and relaxed.”
That was their television debut, and the brothers would never forget it because they understood how much more important it was to perform in front of tens of millions of viewers on the Sullivan program than it was to act in strip clubs. The brothers were playing in strip clubs to get money after being rejected by Motown two years prior to the concert.
They were so polished at the time of the Sullivan performance, Marlon Jackson said, that they just knew they had to captivate the audience. “That was our job, and the crowd liked it, and while the program gave us a lot of exposure, we realized it was only the beginning.”
Knight was one of the famous friends of Michael Jackson who shared their personal experiences with the singer in 1993. “He was just incredibly spectacular,” the Empress of Soul recalled of Michael Jackson’s first performance alongside his brothers as the Jackson 5. “This bunch of young youngsters made an impression on me.”
After meeting Michael Jackson for the first time, Knight became closer to him, and the two even shared a manager at one point. “It’s not about who discovered them,” Knight stated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, despite the fact that she may have made the first phone call to Motown about him and his siblings.
What was most crucial, according to Knight, was the “network of people joining together to get these young men recognized.”
After Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, Knight told co-anchor, Harry Smith, on the Early Show that she feels “fortunate” to have known him in “a different manner.”
“He lived every trial, every bad mistake he made,” she explained. “It’s finished. It’s finished. Now he has to be recognized for what he’s done for us and how happy he made us feel.”