Joseph Walter Jackson (July 26, 1928 – June 27, 2018) was an American talent manager and patriarch of the Jackson family of entertainers. He was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2014. He was the eldest of five children, and was of African and Native American Ancestry.
During the early 1950s, Jackson briefly performed with his own blues band, The Falcons, playing guitar. Despite their efforts, The Falcons did not get a recording deal and subsequently broke up. Joe Jackson began working with his sons' musical group in the early 1960s, first working with his three eldest sons Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine. Marlon and Michael joined the band later. Joseph began enforcing long and intense rehearsals for his sons. At first, the group went under The Jackson Brothers later changed to The Jackson 5.
In the late 1980s, Joseph's fatherly image was tarnished as the media reported stories told by his children that he was abusive towards them. When he managed his family, he allegedly ordered each of them to call him "Joseph", which contributed to several siblings having been estranged from him. Michael claimed that from a young age he abused by his father physically and emotionally but also admitting that his father's strict discipline played a large part in his success. Joseph admitted to whipping his children with switches and belts as punishment, but said he did not do so at random, and claimed never to have used any hard object as he felt was implied by the word "beating." Despite the abuse allegations, Michael loved his father and ultimately forgave him, stating that it was Joseph's deep-South upbringing during the Great Depression and the Jim Crow years and working-class adulthood hardened him emotionally and made him push his children to succeed as entertainers. Many of the other siblings deny he was very abusive.
He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame (2011) and Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
On July 27, 2015, Jackson was rushed to a hospital after a stroke and heart arrhythmia while celebrating his 87th birthday in Brazil. He was not stable enough to fly out of the country for further treatment until two weeks. On June 22, 2018, TMZ reported that Jackson was hospitalized in Las Vegas in the final stages of terminal pancreatic cancer. He later died at a hospice in Las Vegas on five days later and only two days after the ninth anniversary of his son Michael's death and less than a month before his 90th birthday.