Classics: The Jacksons – Can You Feel It (Epic)
From The Jacksons altogether to Michael Jackson on his own, the line would be so thin at times. Did the siblings acted as a laboratory for Michael? Or did the latter moved them with his undeniable creative force? Maybe both at the end.
‘Can You Feel It’ is most definitely a title that speaks for itself. Standing among the highlights of The Jacksons’ 1980 ‘Triumph’ album along with ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘Walk Right Now’.
‘Can You Feel It’ could pretty much have belonged to the repertoire of Michael Jackson as a matter of fact. And I’m not even talkin’ about its video clip, under the direction of Bruce Gowers and Robert Abel. Itself remembered for its outstanding special effects, quite avant-guardist for the time being, as a latter of fact.
Strangely enough, the sparkling ‘Can You Feel It’ only reached a #77 position on the Pop chart and #30 on the R&B one back then.
Did ever Jackie, Tito and their mother realize their would give birth to one of the most exciting ventures in the history of music? This when they found themselves singin’ harmonies together at night after the family’s TV had broken down!?! They would later be joined by Marlon, Jermaine and Michael. With their mom leavin’ when father Joe officially formed The Little Jackson Brothers.
It wasn’t long before he turned their name into The Jackson Five Singing Group (upon suggestion), itself naturally shortened to The Jackson Five…
After they won a talent contest at the NY Apollo Theater during the Summer of 1967, Gladys Knight eventually sent a demo of them to Motown. But the label rejected it, sendin’ it back to the boys’ hometown in Gary, IN. Soon after, while performing at Beckman Junior High in Gary, they came to the attention of Gordon Keith who signed them on his Steeltown label. Eventually producing their debut-single – ‘Big Boy’ – and releasing it by the end of January 1968. The Five givin’ it a follow-up – ‘We Don’t Have To Be Over 21 (To Fall In Love)’ – before switching to Motown.
There, they started working along with Bobby Taylor who’d brought them to the label. The latter comin’ to produce their debut hits. In other words, ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’ and ‘The Love You Save’. Meanwhile, ‘I’ll Be There’ co-written and produced by Hal Davis, became the group’s fourth #1 single. This makin’ of them the first recording act to have their first four singles reach the top of the Hot 100!
The heat was (definitely) on, and it wasn’t long before The Jackson 5 became Motown’s best-selling group and main marketing focus. Motown jumpin’ on the band’s success to launch both Michael and Jermaine‘s solo careers.
By 1973, with an ear/eye on the then emerging Disco scene, the band delivered ‘Get It Together’. An album that saw them collaborating with writers such as Norman Whitfield and Leon Ware. The title track of their album somehow markin’ an evolution of their sound towards funkier vibes. With the same applying to ‘Dancing Machine’.
Two years after though, most of the group members decided to stop recording for Motown. Therefore claiming for creative control and get a better royalty rate. Eventually signing with Epic in June 1975. To the exception of Jermaine who decided to stay with Motown, with Randy replacing him from then on. The group turnin’ their name from The Jackson 5 (which was owned by Motown) to The Jacksons. Eventually makin’ their debut for their new label via Philadelphia International Records. This most likely being how they came to embrace the Philly Sound such as one could hear on the outstanding although quite underrated ‘Style Of Life’ which saw the light as the B-side of ‘Enjoy Yourself’.
The Jacksons eventually delivered another album for PIR before switching to Epic and release ‘Destiny’. An album that spanned ‘Blame It On The Boogie’ and ‘Shake Your Body Down To The Ground’, their biggest success ever for Epic. Another two years on, and would come its follow-up, ‘Triumph’. The latter featuring the memorable ‘Can You Feel It’, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and ‘Walk Right Now’.
In 1984 came ‘Victory’. The only album ever that saw the six brothers officially under the same banner. But also the last one along with Michael takin’ the lead vocals. Itself resulting in extra gems such as ‘Torture’ and ‘State Of Shock’ along with Mick Jagger. The… Victory Tour supported the album. Michael and Marlon went their respective ways shortly after the tour ended. Meanwhile Jermaine, Tito, Randy and Jackie continued as The Jacksons. Eventually releasing one more album, ‘2300 Jackson Street’, back in 1989, along with their sisters, Janet and Rebbie. Its title track nevertheless featuring the all six Jackson brothers.
Strangely enough, ‘2300 Jackson Street’ charted poorly. This despite the presence of the killer ‘Nothin That Compares 2 U’ produced by Swingbeat dons L.A. & Babyface. The album sold over half a million copies worldwide.
After a brief promotional tour, the band went into hiatus and never recorded another album together.