Why did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5? (2023)

I Want You Back - The Jackson 5

Michael Jackson and his brothers performed in The Jackson 5, a band managed by their father. Soon their father stepped back from managing, though remained thoroughly involved in their success, and the group catapulted into fame, teaming up with famous artists like Diana Ross on their road to stardom. Over time, Michael and his brother Jermaine did solo work, and slowly the band began to break down.

Why did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5?

As may be expected, Michael Jackson left The Jacksons when his solo career took off, and he wanted to focus on that.

The band was started back in 1965 with Jackie, Tito and Jermaine Jackson.

Not long after, their younger brothers Marlon and Michael joined up, and they started performing in high schools, shopping malls and at talent shows in their hometown of Gary, Indiana.

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Why did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5? (3)

Jackson 5 - why did Michael leave? (Image: Getty)

Why did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5? (4)

The Jackson Five (Image: Getty)

Joe managed his children’s early careers but he became infamous for his treatment of them.

Some of his children, namely Michael, claimed he had been abusive and domineering in his dealings with the boy band.

Michael opened up about this abuse in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, saying: “If you didn’t do it the right way, he would tear you up, really get you.”

He claimed his father whipped him with a belt, but despite these allegations, Michael forgave his father, even establishing a ‘Joseph Jackson Day’ memorial at his home at the Neverland Ranch.

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Why did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5? (6)

The Jacksons at Madison Square Garden in 1984 (Image: Getty)

Despite these difficulties, their fame was slowly growing and they were able to book gigs in larger cities like Chicago, until they were heard by some big names, like singer Gladys Knight.

Speaking about when she heard the band, as reported in GQ, Gladys said: "I was sitting in my dressing room on the second floor [of the Regal Theater in Chicago] when I heard these little voices.

“I could look out from the bannister to the stage, so I got up from my make-up chair and saw these little kids.

“I couldn't see that well because the curtains were in the way, but I could see how they moved.

“I thought to myself, 'Oh, my god. Who is that?' As young as I was, I knew talent when I saw it.


Why did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5? (7)

The Jacksons in 2019 (Image: Getty)

“Even with their little children voices I heard their potential and knew what these guys could achieve.

“I went back to my dressing room and when The Pips came upstairs I asked, 'Who was that singing a few minutes ago?' They told me it was 'Joe's boys'."

It has been alleged Gladys sent a tape of them to Motown Records, though this claim has been disputed.

They were rejected for some time by record labels until they signed up with Steeltown Records in 1967, through which they released their first single, Big Boy.

Two years later they signed a seven-year deal with Motown, at which point their youngest member, Michael, was only 10-years-old.

The band skyrocketed into fame very quickly after being signed, even performing to big names like Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder in their early days.

Marlon said of this event: "We were kids from Gary, Indiana, who had never been in a big mansion. I noticed Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.

“We had to sing their songs in front of them. My brothers were running around, having fun.

“They forgot that we had a show to do and that it was make it or break it for us."

Their fame came with the release of I Want You Back in January 1970, which turned them into household names, especially for Michael when, in 1971, he released his first solo single, Got to be There.


    This marked the beginning of the end for the band, as by 1975 they were struggling to release new songs and were forced to move from Motown to Epic Records, changing their name to The Jacksons.

    As well as that, Michael’s solo fame started to eclipse his brothers, especially with the 1979 album Off The Wall and 1982 album Thriller.

    In December 1984, Michael announced he was leaving the band after their performance at the Dodger Stadium.

    The following month Marlon left the band, after which the band’s last record was released in 1987.

    They reunited as a six-piece in 2001 for two performances to commemorate Michael’s solo career, taking to the stage at Madison Square Garden.


    Why did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5? ›

    Michael announced he was leaving the group after their final performance at Dodger Stadium that December to continue his solo career. The following January, Marlon Jackson also announced he was leaving the group to pursue a solo career.

    When did Michael Jackson leave the Jackson 5 and why? ›

    As may be expected, Michael Jackson left The Jacksons when his solo career took off, and he wanted to focus on that. The band was started back in 1965 with Jackie, Tito and Jermaine Jackson.

    What happened to Michael and Jackson 5? ›

    The brothers kept the family group – no longer The Jackson 5, but simply the Jacksons – going after Michael's death, going on several tours and also releasing new recordings. Randy, the family's youngest son who replaced Jermaine in the family group in the 1970s, went on to co-found a record label with sister Janet.

    When did Michael leave the Jackson 5? ›

    It was Jermaine (Bassist and second lead singer) who split with them when they left Motown in '76 to become The Jacksons, and he stayed (don't ever marry your label's boss's daughter). Michael did split from The Jacksons in '84, and in so doing, essentially split from his family, too.

    Why did the Jackson 5 change to The Jacksons? ›

    Marlon on the band's leaving Motown for Epic Records in 1976

    "I was too young to realise it was a big deal to leave Motown. We came to Motown with the name Jackson 5 and I thought we should walk away with it. But they kept it and that's why we changed it to The Jacksons.

    Why did Michael Jackson wear one glove? ›

    "Michael was beginning to develop the vitiligo," Cicely continued. "And it started on his hand ... The glove was to camouflage it. That's how that glove came into being."

    How old was Michael Jackson during the Jackson 5? ›

    Michael Jackson was only six years old when they formed in 1964, but his natural gifts for singing, dancing and entertaining belied his youth. They performed at talent shows and as opening acts on bills that took them to places like Harlem's Apollo Theater, where they won an amateur-night competition in 1967.

    Who did Michael Jackson fall out with? ›

    Michael Jackson and Prince's feud explained: Why the pop rivals hated each other. They both revolutionised music in their own unique ways. During the MTV-fuelled era of the 1980s, both Michael Jackson and Prince became the biggest stars pop music had ever seen.

    Did the Jackson 5 get along? ›

    Each of the Jacksons have shared how tight their brotherhood was during the Motown years. They rehearsed together, toured together, and even before that- they shared space, sleeping in a 3-level bunk-bed in their bedroom in Gary. Jermaine Jackson called it their first “dressing room”.

    How many of the Jackson 5 are still living? ›

    While Michael died in 2009 at age 50 almost and, all of his siblings are still alive to continue his legacy.

    How old would Michael Jackson be in 2023? ›

    On August 29, 2023, Michael Jackson would have celebrated his 65th birthday. Known as the 'King of Pop', Micheal's achievements were phenomenal despite having a difficult childhood, and a life full of. Michael Jackson, known as the "King of Pop," is still one of the most well-known entertainers of all time.

    Why were the Jackson 5 important? ›

    Not only did the Jackson Five launch the career of Michael Jackson, but the group's own "bubblegum soul" sound—which combined influences from vocal groups, contemporary soul and R&B stars, and classic Motown artists—was enormously successful.

    Did the Jackson 5 get back together? ›

    The group has never formally broken up, but has been dormant since then, although all six brothers performed together at two Michael Jackson tribute concerts in September 2001. After Michael's death in June 2009, the group announced a 2012 reunion tour, The Unity Tour, although Randy did not take part.

    Was the Jackson 5 forced? ›

    Joe was also accused of forcing his children to rehearse their singing and dancing "incessantly" and of calling them names as part of his authoritarian hold over them. In 2010, Joe admitted to Oprah that he had hit Michael and his siblings with a strap - but said it had kept them on the straight and narrow.

    Who was the main singer of the Jackson 5? ›

    Originally, the Jackson 5 were composed of brothers Jackie (born Sigmund Jackson, May 4, 1951), Tito (guitar, born Toriano Jackson, October 15, 1953), Jermaine (bass, lead vocals, born December 11, 1954), Marlon (born March 12, 1957), and Michael (lead vocals, born August 29, 1958).

    Who was originally in Jackson 5? ›

    What year did Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 come out? ›

    On October 7, 1969, their first single “I Want You Back” was released and immediately went to number one on Pop and R&B charts. On December 18, 1969, their first album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, was released as part of a calculated PR attempt to use her reputation to sell the young band.

    When did the Jackson 5 change their name to The Jacksons? ›

    The group was made up of the Jackson brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael, and Randy. Michael was the lead singer. They recorded on the famous Motown label for a long time. In 1975 they moved to another record label called CBS Records and changed their name to The Jacksons.

    What was Michael Jackson doing in 2005? ›

    Michael Joe Jackson) was a 2005 criminal trial held in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, California. The American pop singer Michael Jackson was charged with molesting Gavin Arvizo, who was 13 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, at his Neverland Ranch estate in Los Olivos, California.

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