Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Tito Jackson’s poetic lyrics, irrepressible vocals, and evocative musicianship are a faint reflection of the remarkable gifts that characterize Gary, Indiana’s native son. Born Toriano Adaryll Jackson, Tito has spent his entire life enchanting music lovers with soulful harmonies interwoven with curvaceous rhythms as a member of Motown’s greatest discovery, The Jacksons (Jackson 5), and presently as a multi-faceted solo artist. Tito’s unyielding passion for blues, R&B, pop, and other music forms is the secret to his boundless energy and rare achievements in the ever-changing entertainment spectrum.
In 1962, before the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons, Tito performed in a local group called The Jackson Brothers. After competing and winning local talent shows in and around Gary, the precocious brothers were victorious again on the most prestigious amateur stage of all — Manhattan’s Apollo Theater. In that same year Tito and his brothers made their first studio recording (local label), titled “Big Boy.” Not only did it turn out to be a local hit, but it set the stage for a partnership with Motown Records (1969) and subsequent appearances on the top-rated Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, Soul Train, and later, their own primetime television series in 1976, on CBS. In addition to this, Tito and his brothers’ soaring popularity with America’s youth was so captivating that they were captioned in a Saturday morning, ABC TV animation series.
Tito and his brothers signed with Epic Records and officially came under a new name, The Jackson’s, in 1976. In 1978 he co-wrote the songs “Everybody,” “Destiny,” and “Push Away” for his new record label. As the group The Jackson’s, including Tito, they self-produced the Destiny album. Later, for the Victory Album Tito produced, wrote, and sang on “We Can Change The World,” which was featured on their popular Victory Tour.
A father of three young men (Taj, Taryll, and TJ), known to the music world as 3T, Tito works closely with his sons. This is consistent with the fine direction that he received from his loving mother Katherine and his caring father Joe. In addition to working with sisters Janet, Rebbie, and La Toya, Tito has worked with countless fine musicians, singers, and producers, such as the preeminent production team of Gamble & Huff, LA Reid & Baby Face, and the versatile Howard Hewitt.
One of the performing highlights of the remarkable career of Tito Jackson is the unforgettable reunion performance on one of histories most watched television specials, Motown 25. The show signaled a pivotal point in his dazzling career and an auspicious focus on likely the greatest performer to ever grace a stage, Michael Jackson. In 1997 Tito and his brothers were ceremonially honored as inductees of the well-respected Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Tito’s initial success with the recording masterpieces “I Want You Back,” “Never Can Say Goodbye”, “I’ll Be There,” (best selling single in Motown’s history), and other mega-hits is the genesis of an indefatigable trek into modern musical immortality. Tito Jackson’s eclectic musical arrow is aimed in the direction of diverse genres, R& B, blues, and pop. And at this juncture, Tito plans a series of recording ventures that will include a solo debut album featuring a caravan of styles. Although some of his numerous influences include blues greats Albert Collins and B.B. King, in reality his musical tastes defy nomenclature. Some projects will include collaborations with his son’s group, 3T, while other CD’s may involve his creative siblings along with collaborations from an assemblage of noteworthy artists. However, make no mistake about it, most of his work will consist of impressive solo projects with songs that are arranged, produced, and performed by Tito himself. Presently (2005) he is in the process of completing his new project for a 2006 global release. By doing this, fans around the globe will experience the true essence of Tito Jackson as a premier solo artist and as one of music industries’ group icons. Tito and his band, sporting a frenetic pulse, will also rock the world again through a number of riveting live shows.
The measure of Tito Jackson’s influence can be best captured by expressions such as these: “One of the kindest, more pleasant people in show business,” said a major entertainment publicist. His brother Michael also had this to say about him, “Tito is very quiet and soft, but can be really strong when necessary. He’s always there when we need him and manages to project an inner calm which is vital within a family unit ”. Those statements have proven to be consistently true through the ups and downs of the exciting but rigorous show business lifestyle. As an international artist, the demure Tito has garnered great respect from his peers and fans alike. His emphasis on fairness and loyalty in the music business community is a hallmark of his aplomb and selfless style.
Tito’s love of music can be transcended only by his undying love of God, family, and friends. Tito’s mark on music history and the rich legacy that he established is one that has stood the test of time and is one that will flourish for as long as there is a song to sing!
- Phil Brown