The Jackson 5, whose “bubblegum soul” sound made them remarkably successful in the early 1970s, consisted of five musically gifted brothers out of Gary, Indiana. Their names were:
- Sigmund Esco “Jackie” Jackson, b. 1951
- Toriano Adaryll “Tito” Jackson, b. 1953
- Records suggest that Tito’s first name was actually “Tariano,” but the press typically spelled it “Toriano.”
- Jermaine LaJuane Jackson, b. 1954
- Marlon David Jackson, b. 1957
- Michael Joe Jackson, b. 1958
The brothers began performing together in the mid-1960s, but Jacksonmania didn’t hit until 1970, with the success of songs like “I Want You Back” (1969), “ABC” (1970), “The Love You Save” (1970), and “I’ll Be There” (1970) — all four of which hit #1 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart.
At the height of their fame, the boys even had a Saturday morning cartoon show called “The Jackson 5ive” (1971-1972).
So how did the Jacksons’ celebrity affect U.S. baby names in the early 1970s? Let’s go brother by brother…
Fun fact: Jackie dated Debraca Foxx during the early ’70s.
Tito Jackson not only popularized his nickname, Tito, but he boosted both Toriano and Adaryll into the data for the first time. In fact, Toriano was the top debut name of 1970, and it still ranks as one of the top boy-name debuts of all time. (It also likely influenced the car name Torino.) The name Adaryll didn’t surface until 1972.
Tito’s first son, Toriano Adaryll “Taj” Jackson, Jr. (b. 1973) — whose nickname was derived from his initials — gave the name Taj a boost. His second son, Taryll (b. 1975), was behind the debut of the name Taryll (also mentioned here).
Jermaine Jackson, the co-lead vocalist of the group (with Michael), brought so much attention to the name Jermaine that it not only entered the top 1,000, but nearly cracked the top 100 as well:
- 1974: 1,628 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 151st]
- 1973: 2,039 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 127th]
- 1972: 1,966 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 135th]
- 1971: 1,015 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 233rd]
- 1970: 171 baby boys named Jermaine [rank: 622nd]
- 1969: 5 baby boys named Jermaine
Jermaine was the fastest-rising boy name in the U.S. in both 1970 and 1971 — two years in a row, impressively.
On the heels of Jermaine’s rise, several variant spellings of the name either saw similarly increased usage or appeared for the first time in the boys’ data:
Jermaine’s middle name, LaJuane, also debuted (in 1971).
Jermaine had a total of nine children, one of whom was named (rather infamously) Jermajesty.
Michael Jackson — who was still a decade away from releasing his massively popular solo album Thriller — couldn’t ultimately reverse the decline of the name Michael. But the combined influence of Michael Jackson and other famous Michaels (like basketball star Michael Jordan, and TV star Michael Landon) did help the name’s usage level out somewhat during the 1970s and ’80s.
Which Jackson 5 name is your favorite? (And, if you were around during Jacksonmania: Which group member was your favorite?)
While you ponder these questions, check out the group’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in December of 1969:
- The Jackson 5 – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- The Jackson 5 – Wikipedia
- Jackson, Jermaine. You Are Not Alone: Michael Through a Brother’s Eyes. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012.
Images: © 1970 Jet, © 1971 Videocraft International Limited