Tuesday, June 29, 2010

When the J5 Sang for Joe

A month and a half after the J5's 1970 concert at the Forum, the group returned to the stage, this time at Cobo Arena in Detroit as part of a star-studded tribute to boxer Joe Louis. By 1970, the Brown Bomber was broke and ailing, and the organizing committee hoped to raise $100,000 to help him defray hospital costs.
Comedians Bill Cosby and Redd Foxx, and music artists Billy Ekstine, Mahalia Jackson, B. B. King, the Four Tops, and the Jackson 5 entertained the crowd of 12,000 on August 12. Louis himself was too ill to attend, although a vacant chair was left in front in his honor. Berry Gordy, himself a former boxer, served as the Honorary Chair for the event, and was probably responsible for getting the Jackson 5 for the gig.

A program for the event featured a line drawing of a young Joe Louis on the cover.

Inside, every performer had a full-page bio with a photo. Here is the page for the Jackson 5.

Over the years, I've collected a few photos from this appearance. The first is a Motown publicity photo with the caption sheet still attached, verifying that this was indeed their concert at Cobo Arena. (Another photo that appeared in Jet magazine corroborates this.)

1 comment:

  1. Nice, I never knew Berry Gordy was a boxer.