Joe Jackson, patriarch of the Jackson family, dies at 89

(June 27, 2018) Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the first family of popular music, The Jacksons, has died in a Las Vegas hospital after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 89.

Jackson launched the careers of five of his sons as The Jackson Five in the late 1960s, and later the careers of several of his daughters, including Janet Jackson. His son, Michael Jackson, who died almost exactly nine years ago, became one of the most important and acclaimed artists of his generation.

Jackson and his wife, Katherine, married in 1949, in Gary, Indiana, and bore children, Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Michael, Randy and Janet, between the years 1950 and 1966. While Jackson worked in the steel industry, he was also a musician who formed a number of local acts, but never broke through as an artist.

(June 27, 2018) Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the first family of popular music, The Jacksons, has died in a Las Vegas hospital after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 89.

Jackson launched the careers of five of his sons as The Jackson Five in the late 1960s, and later the careers of several of his daughters, including Janet Jackson. His son, Michael Jackson, who died almost exactly nine years ago, became one of the most important and acclaimed artists of his generation.

Jackson and his wife, Katherine, married in 1949, in Gary, Indiana, and bore children, Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, La Toya, Marlon, Michael, Randy and Janet, between the years 1950 and 1966. While Jackson worked in the steel industry, he was also a musician who formed a number of local acts, but never broke through as an artist.

Jackson, however, focused much of his life on training his children to accomplish great things in the music industry. A difficult taskmaster, who was often criticized for pushing his children too hard and “not letting them be kids,” Jackson was certainly a man of his generation, and one who wanted for his children the level of success and comfort that he had not achieved.

Jackson was both opinionated and controversial, and, at various times had strained relationships with his children, particularly as they grew and sought to establish their own lives beyond his sometimes overbearing control. Various accusations by his children were levied over the years, including claims of  abuse. He also had a tumultuous relationship with Katherine, and the two separated several times, driven in part by Joseph’s documented philandering.

Over the years, however, there appears to have been more of a peace established between father and children, with the death of Michael perhaps putting perspective on the importance of their family relationship, and the wonders that they accomplished as a family.

Though he was certainly a flawed man whose greatness is both conditional and nuanced, the world has much for which to thank Joe Jackson, including the inspiration he gave to a group of children in Gary, Indiana, to become something special in the world of music. No one but Joe Jackson could have dreamed just how special they would be.

By Chris Rizik

 
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