Joseph Walter Jackson was born in Fountain Hill, Arkansas, to Crystal Lee (King) and Samuel Jackson, a schoolteacher. Raised during the Depression in Oakland, California, Jackson learned the importance of work at an early age. In the 1950s, he formed and played guitar with his band with his brother. During the early 1960s, he worked two jobs to support his six boys and three girls. He also rehearsed his eldest five boys for years, then entered them in local talent contests. During the mid ’60s, he booked the Jackson 5 at gigs all over the Eastern U.S., and they performed with other acts like Gladys Knight & The Pips who were already recording for Motown. Jackson gave up his career as a musician to manage his sons.
After his boys won all the talent contests, including Harlem’s Apollo Theater, he signed the Jackson 5 to their first record deal, with Steeltown Records. In 1969, he drove the Jackson 5 to their secret audition at Motown, in Detroit.
Jackson later relocated his family to California and supervised every Jackson 5 recording session. After the Jackson 5’s first single, “I Want You Back” hit #1, his group’s first four singles sold 10 million copies in 10 months, setting a world record for sales, it becomes clear that his dream to make his sons the first black teenagers to become internationally known recording stars had come true.
He then financed the recording of daughter Janet Jackson’s first demo and signed her to A&M Records, which later released her first hit albums “Control” and “Rhythm Nation”, which were produced in conjunction with his production company. He also helped daughter La Toya Jackson record her first album at Private I Records and assisted Rebbie Jackson to Michael’s label MJJ.
Jackson was awarded a proclamation in the Rock and Roll Hall of fame as the Best Entertainment Manager of All Time by Jane L. Campbell, mayor of Cleveland, Ohio in October 2002. Recently, he’s made several trips to Africa, and testified on Michael Jackson’s behalf in a trial where a jury agreed with him that Michael co-wrote “We Are the World”. He just finished a film as co-producer with Paul D’Angelo (II) [IMDb has problems with within-name apostrophes] and one of his artists, Crystal Marven, called Destination Fame (2012). Jackson also co-created a television sitcom, “Blended”, a family comedy, about the life of a young interracial couple and their two opposite families blending.