Tito Jackson’s blues are back with Under Your Spell, the song that “never dies.”
Tito Jackson’s latest solo album is more of a return to his first passion, the blues, which is the heart and soul of black America.
The former Jackson Five member tells me, “It’s the song that never dies.” “It’s a global truth. It will always be there. I wanted to bring a younger audience to the blues, so I sought out artists who could appeal to a more pop-oriented audience.”
Among the legends he enlisted were Stevie Wonder, George Benson, and Joe Bonamassa.
Tito was once a young music icon, despite his down-to-earth demeanor. The Jackson Five became a worldwide sensation. The young brothers shot to the top of the charts in 1969 and stayed there for the next fifteen years.
He tells me, “It was fantastic.” “We were extremely inexperienced! When we sold out Madison Square Garden, I was only fifteen years old. Every night, there was screams. The majority of the time, we were unable to complete a set… We weren’t paying attention since we were too preoccupied.
“It wasn’t until people started approaching me and saying things like, ‘I’ll be there,’ that it really hit me. That was the song I played at my wedding…’ ‘That song was essential in the conception of my son…’ That’s when I realized what it meant to be popular.”
Their dance routines were as well-drilled as the Household Cavalry, and their music was an addictive mix of R&B, soul, and pop.
Tito — true name Toriano — was the third of nine children born to Joe Jackson, a crane driver, and Katherine, his second wife. Their finances were poor, and their house was barely big enough to accommodate a Borrower.
“There were two bedrooms and one bathroom for all of us,” Tito, 67, recalls. “Our parents shared a room, the lads shared a room, and the girls shared a sofa.”
The modest house in Gary, Indiana, was bursting at the seams with music. “Pop used to be in a blues band, and he and my uncle used to get together every weekend and play guitars. BB King, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters… were all favorites of my father’s. My mother was a huge fan of country music. Mom and I used to sing together. Jermaine, my older brother Jackie, and I would sing in three-part harmony. We were attempting to sing in the style of the Temptations.”
Joe, an ex-boxer, was not impressed. “We’d be making a racket trying to sing, just the three of us, and he’d just finished a night shift at the steel plant and he’d snap,” Brinkwire Summary News said.