Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just... Jermaine

I may have mentioned once or twice that Jermaine was my favorite brother when I was a young teen, dreaming of growing up to marry one of the Jackson 5. I wasn't alone in my passion -- Jermaine took his position as the group sex symbol early on (although, in retrospect, I can't see why Jackie wasn't considered the sex symbol instead. Too old, you think? Perhaps, but he was still a year younger than David Cassidy, and probably about 20 years younger than Bobby Sherman).

Anyway, I not only loved feasting my eyes on Jermaine's adorable face, perfect afro, and gorgeous body, I also loved his singing voice. In fact, I first fell for him when I heard him singing his lead parts in "Stand" on The Ed Sullivan Show. "I Found That Girl" was my favorite Jackson 5 song and I would still place it in my top five. Songs with Jermaine leads were just a bit more mellow and mature -- more appropriate for someone at the ripe old age of 13.

When I first heard that Jermaine was working on a solo album, I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait for an entire LP with Jermaine singing lead vocals. I even had a title picked out for the album -- Just... Jermaine. (I never got word through to Motown on that one.)

I can clearly remember the day when I first saw the album. I was in the record section of a downtown department store called Younkers. And there was Jermaine, on display.

Oh, my God, he had never looked so perfect, so cute. It didn't even bother me too much that they had given the album such an uninspired name, like they thought it was going to be Jermaine's only solo album. I stared at the cover for a long time before turning it over to see what he sang, noting that there was another adorable picture of him on the back. He's holding a stick (he's holding a stick!) and looking very pensive. Soulful. Just... Jermaine.

I recognized some of the song titles -- "Ain't That Peculiar," a great Marvin Gaye song; "Homeward Bound," okay, why not, he did a good job on "Bridge Over Troubled Water," I'll give it a try; "If You Were My Woman," hmmm... Gladys Knight song? I'll have to see... The other songs I didn't know, but I would soon enough because I played that album over and over again for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

Nothing, however, prepared me for the surprise awaiting me when I got the album home and took the cellophane off.

Are you kidding me?! Are you kidding me?! Unbelievable! I had to run and call my best friend Janet to come over to look at my new Jermaine album, even though her favorite brother was Tito. We spent the afternoon, sprawled out on the floor with the album open, staring at Jermaine while we listened to all his new songs, over and over again. Then Janet's mom called and she had to go home. So it was back to just... Jermaine -- and me.


  1. Oh yes, I remember getting this album too and opening it up and.....WOW!!!! I have to admit that Jermaine was always 2nd favorite for me, but I always tried to work myself into loving him most since he was older than me and not younger, like Michael. He was my best friend's absolute favorite and we too gawked at this photo for hours. Jermaine was and is extremely talented.


  2. LOL, you were just ahead of your time, Roberta! My friends and I all had our favorites, all chosen from the three oldest because they were most marriageable. I remember one time a girl in the school cafeteria, who wasn't a rabid fan like we were, saying, "Why don't any of you like Michael? You know he's the most talented one, right?" We were scandalized!

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  4. You write beautifully. Now that you're getting a lot of attention online I think very soon you'll be doing liner notes for new J5 releases.

    Motown really did a good job packaging that album, and I just listened to If You Were My Woman and he sings the hell outta that. For me, sometimes later on, in my opinion, he would rely too heavily on using the mellow tones of his voice, but I always wanted him to belt out with all that strength, like: "the way they talk about you, they'll turn your name, turn your name to dirt!!!!!!".

    Good piece of work. But then, as if we hadn't had Jermaine's first album: "Jermaine", in '76 he titled his third: "My name is Jermaine (Ask me Again and I'll tell You the Same)"

    The word verification for my post was: impussed

  5. I also love his voice on the upbeat songs like "Ain't That Peculiar," "Take Me in Your Arms (and Rock Me)," and "Live It Up." I've never liked the talking intros on Jermaine's LPs though. I think the talking ruins "I Only Have Eyes for You." I always felt embarrassed for him in these parts.

    It's probably no surprise to you that I like all of Jermaine's later albums, too. I especially love "My Name Is Jermaine" and "Feel the Fire." I wish his albums would see cd release.

  6. This is a great album, I was excited to see it was released on CD years ago. "Live It Up" and "I Only Have Eyes For You" are my favorites!

  7. Love this posting. Love your passion J5C!

    My favorite Jermaine cuts are:

    So in Love
    Good for the Gander
    Sittin' on the Edge of My Mind

  8. Dang Corey! I forgot about Sittin' on the Edge of My Mind! Great track! When will that cd be released! Loved his version of "Ma" too!

  9. Rawwwwl! Jermaine quite a dreamboat! So are Jackie and Tito.