Katherine Jackson remembers her ‘sweet little boy’
Michael Jackson would have been 55 today
CNN News Wire | 8/29/2013, 2:12 p.m.
“It would make a rhythm noise, like ‘squeaky, squeaky, katum, katum,’ something like that, and he would be down there dancing, sucking his bottle to the squeaking of the washer,” she said. “And I knew he was going to be — he just loved music, and he loved to dance.”
The family’s old television set helped bring the brothers together as a singing group, she said.
“Sometimes it would break down,” his mother said. And sometimes they would not have money to get it repaired. “And that’s when the children first started singing. We would sing together, sing old country songs, folk songs.”
Michael was five when he joined his brothers in talent contests at local high schools. “They had got so that they won all the contests — every time there was a contest,” she said.
When their group needed a name for an advertisement, their mother came up with “The Jackson Brothers 5.” But the woman who was writing the ad suggested she “cut that a little short and name it ‘The Jackson 5,’” she said. “And I thought it sounded better.”
Michael’s first solo performance was when he sang “Climb Every Mountain” in a kindergarten program when he was five, she said. “I was so nervous when he walked out on the stage, because he was always shy. He started singing the song, and he sang it with such clarity and didn’t miss — not flat or anything.”
His paternal grandfather, who was in the audience “cried like a baby, looked around, and I was crying, too,” she said. “He got a standing ovation for his performance and he wasn’t nervous. I was shocked. I think he must feel more at home on stage.”
Older brother Jermaine was the Jackson 5’s lead singer from the start, but their mother told her husband it should be Michael. “I told him Jermaine needed help, and I told him Michael could help him,” she said. “He didn’t believe me, so I forced him to listen. And that’s how Michael got the job.”
The boys rehearsed in their living room. “We would push all the furniture back on the walls, and they would dance and set up the drums and things and rehearse right there,” she said.
Instead of moving to a larger house as the family grew, they used any extra money to buy musical instruments. Katherine Jackson made their performance costumes.
Michael was nine when Motown signed the Jackson 5 to a recording contract and moved the boys to California, she said,
While much is made about Michael Jackson missing out on a normal childhood because of the constant touring and recording, his mother’s stories suggest he always found a way to have fun.
Jackson recorded the title song for the 1972 film “Ben” — a story about a young boy and his rat friend."He liked that song because he liked rats,” his mother said. “I can remember a story that we went to Beverly Hills to have dinner and we were eating. Michael kept pulling his coat up and putting crumbs into his pocket. I said ‘What are you doing?’ and he held it up and he had a rat in his pocket. He was feeding it. I was really upset with him.”
Katherine Jackson was not in court Thursday to hear the day’s testimony because she was in Gary for her son’s birthday celebration.
Alan Duke | CNN