Toriano Adaryll Jackson was born on October 15, 1953. He was the third of ten children in an African-American working-class family who lived in a 3-room house in Gary, Indiana, an industrial city near Chicago. His father, Joe, was a steel mill worker while his mother, Katherine, was a devout Jehovah's Witness. At ten years of age, he was caught performing his father's guitar after he broke a string. After fixing the string, Joe demanded his son to play for him. Once he was finished, Jackson's father bought him his own guitar. Shortly thereafter, Joseph convinced Tito, Jackie and Jermaine to form a singing group, having been impressed with the vocals of Jackie and Jermaine. Tito did not sing much with his brothers, a pattern that continued even after signing with Motown.
After first performing in school functions and supermarkets, the brothers began participating in local talent shows when Jackson was 12. By then, his younger brother Michael, then seven, had become the official lead singer of the group. In 1966, they changed their name from The Jackson Brothers to The Jackson Five, and won several talent shows around the Gary area. After winning the Amateur Night competition for The Apollo Theater in August 1967, Joe Jackson only began to work part-time at the steel mills to help his sons secure a recording contract, signing with Steeltown Records in November of the year. In January of 1968, the Jackson Five's first single, "Big Boy", was released on Steeltown.In 1969, they signed with Motown Records and scored several hit songs, including the number-one singles, "I Want You Back", "ABC", "The Love You Save" and "I'll Be There". Though Tito sometimes added brief lead vocals on some songs, he and Marlon rarely sang background harmony work with the other brothers until much later in their careers. Despite his talent as a guitar player, Motown refused to allow Tito to perform guitar on any of the Jackson 5 recording sessions. All of their guitar parts were performed by session musicians. Tito's guitar work made its debut after he and the Jacksons left Motown for CBS Records in 1976. He also began writing songs with his brothers during this period though he didn't sing any lead parts and, like before, didn't participate in harmony work.Tito, along with Jackie, were the most consistent members of the Jacksons, with Jermaine, Marlon, Michael and Randy, leaving at different times. After the end of the Victory Tour
, Tito performed session work and also as a record producer. After releasing 2300 Jackson Street
, the Jacksons ceased recording work. After years managing his sons' family group, 3T, Jackson returned to the national spotlight after reuniting with his brothers on Michael's 30th anniversary concert special at Madison Square Garden.
Solo work and other projects
Jackson began a solo career in 2003 performing as a blues musician in various clubs with his band, which includes producer and guitarist Angelo Earl and a management team that includes Ed Tate. In 2007, in the United Kingdom, Jackson appeared as a judge on the BBC celebrity singing competition Just the Two of Us
for series two of the show. He replaced singer Lulu who was a judge on series one. His co-judges were vocal coach CeCe Sammy, musician Stewart Copeland and radio DJ Trevor Nelson. During the tenure of his brothers' reality series, 2009's The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty
, he served as one of the executive producers alongside his other brothers.During the summer of 2012, Jackson reunited with brothers Jackie, Marlon, and Jermaine by going on tour.
Tito married Delores "Dee Dee" Martes (April 1, 1955 – August 27, 1994) in June 1972 at the age of 18, and later divorced in 1993. In 1994, Martes was found dead floating in a swimming pool. The death was originally ruled accidental, however a Los Angeles business man, Donald Bohana, was subsequently charged with murdering her and later found guilty of second-degree murder in 2000. The couple had three sons, who compose the musical group 3T:
- Toriano Adaryll Jackson II. ("Taj") (born August 4, 1973)
- Taryll Adren Jackson (born August 8, 1975)
- Tito Joe Jackson ("TJ") (born July 16, 1978)
He also has five grandchildren. He has three through TJ (Royalty, Dee Dee, and JoJo) and two through Taryll (Bryce and Adren).
In popular culture
- Tito was portrayed by Gerrick Winston in the 2004 film Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story, the biopic of Michael Jackson which first aired on VH1 and was satirized by comedian Aries Spears in an episode of MadTV that featured La Toya Jackson as she played in a skit attacking TV host Jay Leno for his constant jokes on her family.
- In the 1992 biopic The Jacksons: An American Dream in which the Jackson family's rise to fame was chronicled, younger Tito was portrayed by Shakiem Jamar Evans while the older Tito was portrayed by Angel Vargas.
- In a famous scene from the film Rush Hour, Chris Tucker told Jackie Chan, "I'm Michael Jackson, you're Tito." The same quote is repeated in Rush Hour 2.
- In the Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer, the line "say hello to your brother Tito for me" was said by Sandler's character to his friend who was wearing a jacket similar to the red one worn and made famous by Tito's brother Michael in his video for Thriller.