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We’re A Happy Family… The Jackson 5 and the Osmonds

Tolstoy once noted that “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” and the proof of that is a comparison between the Osmonds and the Jackson 5.

Both were families with young musical talent, both came out of the mid-60s, both had strong religious faith, both had cartoon shows based upon them, and both had similarly aged teen idol boys fronthing them. One family was happy and the other family thoroughly miserable and, one were ho-hum easy listening and the other revolutionized R&B.


With all the will in the world you can not make the Osmonds the equal of the Jacksons. Maybe (maybe), maybe “One Bad Apple” was as good as “ABC” -or at least not an embarrassment but that’s your lot. But still, for awhile in the 70s, the Osmonds and the Jackson 5 were neck and neck for most popular band in the world.


But the Osmonds had things the Jackson 5 never did. First was a deeply embedded religious faith. Born in Utah, the Osmonds were Mormons and members of the congregation at the Church Of Jesus Christ Of The Latter Day Saints. Was it me who said God doesn’t exist. Nope, I said I didn’t know if God existed. And I also said that religion absolutely had its uses and one of them is it could give you a bedrock of morals that restrain you from the excesses that can make the familes around you so deeply unhappy.


The Osmonds may have been up to their necks in the entertainment business but they were not up to their neck in the lust for success that permeated Joe Jackson’s wrectched stench as he battered and bruised his family into complete submission. The Jackson’s were Jehovah’s Witness, as apocalyptic a faith as you can imagine, so it is possible the sense of impending doom (even if you think you’ll be one of those saved) might lead to a lashing out at the world.


The Osmond parents were a very happilly married couple till the mother’s death in 1999. Joe Jackson was a womanizing philanderer whom his wife eventually tired of and gave the boot.


The Osmonds put family first, the Jacksons put business first. The Osmonds ties as a family were so strong they easily withstood Donny, and later Donny and Marie, becoming the stars of the family. The Jacksons flew broke apart the first chance Michael had to go solo, followed soon by Janet.


But, but, but… the Jackson 5 were the real deal. Not just recorded for Motown but were good enough to follow the pioneering sounds of young Americans. If there albums could have a bit too much filler, which Motown act didn’t? But that they could dance, sing, make some hire wire masterful records is undisbutable. Their misery seems embedded in their joy of creation. And whether it is a fair comment or otherwise, the happy Osmond family spent a career as the personification of bland. Even when things went wrong, divorces and drugs, they hung together and got through it.


Because the unusally unhappy Jacksons were unhappy in their own special way: they were unhappy in pursuit of their art form.

14 Comments

  1. Jeffrey on September 6, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    I grew up in Motown the Osmonds worry goddamn embarrassment to music everyone made fun of them. If you got caught in school with any kind of Osmond memorabilia it was over for you you would never live that down. No I can’t say that my personal experience what is what shape the entire world but I have talked to so many people that experience the same thing they were kind of a embarrassing side note. They were heavily promoted when the Jackson 5 had their dad pushing them around I don’t give any credibility to the Osmonds for anything they were the white Moral Majority is answer to the Jackson 5 and it failed. I just got off a message board we’re people we’re embarrassed to admit that they like this song or that song of the Ottomans they were very embarrassed and expressed that so it appears that at least randomly around the country my experience as a child was not so uncommon

    • Ron on September 14, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      Jackson’s where from the ghetto and they are a bunch of druggies. Michael is dead because of drugs. The Osmonds are all alive and well and enjoying life. Michael Jackson is dead drugged up pedo who diddled little boys. But because you liked his music then you support his kiddy diddling evil. Michael Jackson deserved what he eventually got.
      Nobody cares about what a moron like you still thinks about what happened to your image in high school.

      • Ethan Ang on March 15, 2021 at 12:23 am

        Shut up, you idiot, Michael is not a pedo.

        • Na on April 30, 2021 at 6:41 am

          Yes he was a pedo he paid off the families of his victims to keep their mouth shut

      • Jerry Hunter on November 21, 2021 at 9:50 am

        Yet Marie was married 7 times because daddy and her brother constantly felt her up and passes her around. There were a joke of a group and belonged to a group who believed black folks were curse.
        You wanna talk about pedophile then first call out Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis.

    • Rickpric on April 24, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      Ignorant .
      Osmonds played at least 30 instruments.
      There vocal arrangements were jazz, barbershop, blues.
      Harmonies rivaled QUEEN BEACH BOYS MOTOWN ETC.
      By their 2nd album they were moving hard Rock, getting away from pop.
      Unfortunately the record labels pushed Donny just like motown pushed Michael.
      Despite the Osmonds being a band where they wrote their own music?
      They ( the producers)
      Pushed the donny ,Marie, t.v. etc.
      Thus killing a viable hard rock band.
      ALL FOR THE MONEY.

      I love them both,but both got screwed from the business.
      Mike cut out and blew everyone away,
      And gave advice to donny that reignited his career.
      Michael helped,talk to and were very close to donny and Jimmy.
      As per Michael ” your the only one in this world I can relate to”

      R.I.P.
      Mike.
      A genius

  2. Namcy schnotzler on March 5, 2021 at 6:42 am

    When i was a little girl i was gonna marry donny osmond. I loved him sooo much, however when i was a teenager i lived michael jackson.. era thriller. So preteen osmonds post teen jacksons

  3. Namcy schnitzler on March 5, 2021 at 6:43 am

    Moderation?

  4. Dorothy Figueroa on March 27, 2021 at 1:01 am

    I’m a Donny fan still am. But all you morons fight and argue about who was best. Donny and Michael were friends and loved each other music. Helped each other. Joe Jackson hated Donny. Joe hating him! Donny must have been doing something right.

    • Curtis O'Striker on December 31, 2021 at 7:09 pm

      The Osmonds came out before the Jacksons. They were doing barbershop quartet style music ( they had very good harmony) in their community. They parlayed this into invites to The Andy Williams show during the mid to late 60s. The Jacksons would come onto the scene in the early 70s and it was Joe Jackson upon seeing the Osmonds, who was inspired to push his VERY talented sons into the music industry. This is where the parallels begin and then take totally different paths. The Osmonds on seeing the success of the Jackson 5, copped their entire style or attempted to, in an effort to break into the pop scene that was exploding in the early to mid to late 70s. The problem was one group was legitimaly respected as they evolved in their careers and put out memorable music that still resonates today while the other was in reality nothing more than a blatant rip off of the former. And in all honesty the Osmonds gave fresh definition to the term ” vaniila” with their bland vapid sound. While no one can doubt their talent and musicianship, the issue here is they never fulfilled whatever potential they had. The Jacksons did that and MORE. The proof is in who turned out to have the more successful career overall. The Jacksons were dynamic live performers who could harmonize pretty well themselves and virtually all of them could sing and sing well. They can boast a catalog that stands the test of time and has resonated all over the globe and has 2 in their family who would give new meaning to the term mega stars. The Osmonds on the other hand like most fluffy superficial boy bands from the 70s just didn’t have what it took to go to the next level. They would become relegated to Vegas acts and while that brings financial security, it doesn’t equal artistic respect and leaving an artistic legacy. By the end of the 70s they were out of fashion as most of these things tend to go. The Jacksons on the other hand thrived in the 80s and Michael would go on to own the 80s and 90s before the corrupted media and other entities sought to sabotage his career and his life. Janet Jackson was just as popular as her brother at one point and regarded as a genuine superstar talent. The Osmond Brothers were old news relatively quick. Were they talented? Yes. but they were not able to take it to another level and that is essentially what separates the pretenders from the real McCoy who CAN take it to another level. Peolr like to shift the blame on the Osmond father but I believe that’s a cop out excuse. Either you have it or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Cheers mate.

  5. Dorothy Figueroa on March 27, 2021 at 1:03 am

    Joe Jackson was jealous of the Osmond.

    • Jerry Hunter on November 21, 2021 at 9:52 am

      Why??? They were a joke of a group.

  6. Curt O'striker on December 31, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Ahhh nothing like a good old predictable racist troll to vent the nonsense going on on their cowardly heads. The Osmonds were talented but in reality they paled in comparison to The Jackson Brothers. The Osmonds totally copped the Jackson 5 style during the 70s in order to get a foothold in the pop genre. They were performing before the Jacksons in the mid 60s doing mostly barbershop quarter numbers( good harmony but extremely bland. They tried to emulate the Jacksons success during the 70s but they quickly became and rightfully so the joke of the industry amongst serious artists because it was quite clear they were copy cats and to be frank not very good ones. The Jacksons were far more dynamic live( superior dancers and just better all around entertainers and had evolved as they went further into their career and broke away from Motown, into a legitimate respected Soul group. And that wasn’t easy when you had the Commodores, Earth ,Wind and Fire and other groups out there who were making their mark. And of course we now know who turned out to be the more successful group worldwide 🌐 and which of the two spawned the two biggest talents that would take the world 🌎 by storm. I’m referring of course to Michael and Janet. Their influence on artists to this day is not even debated. While the Osmonds were at best a “decent” rip off in the 70s of the Jackson 5, they were legitimate musicians. That can’t be disputed. The problem is they did not contribute anything of long lasting worth to the music scene that would justify them being in the Rock Hall Of Fame. Their career went flat in the dawn of the 80s and that is theost telling indicator of who had the talent to go the distance and leave behind a real legacy and who didn’t. People like to blame the Osmond Patriach for this but the reality is if they wanted to be taken seriously as too tier talent then they would have done it. Its as simple as that.

  7. Curtis O'Striker on December 31, 2021 at 7:12 pm

    The Osmonds came out before the Jacksons. They were doing barbershop quartet style music ( they had very good harmony) in their community. They parlayed this into invites to The Andy Williams show during the mid to late 60s. The Jacksons would come onto the scene in the early 70s and it was Joe Jackson upon seeing the Osmonds, who was inspired to push his VERY talented sons into the music industry. This is where the parallels begin and then take totally different paths. The Osmonds on seeing the success of the Jackson 5, copped their entire style or attempted to, in an effort to break into the pop scene that was exploding in the early to mid to late 70s. The problem was one group was legitimaly respected as they evolved in their careers and put out memorable music that still resonates today while the other was in reality nothing more than a blatant rip off of the former. And in all honesty the Osmonds gave fresh definition to the term ” vaniila” with their bland vapid sound. While no one can doubt their talent and musicianship, the issue here is they never fulfilled whatever potential they had. The Jacksons did that and MORE. The proof is in who turned out to have the more successful career overall. The Jacksons were dynamic live performers who could harmonize pretty well themselves and virtually all of them could sing and sing well. They can boast a catalog that stands the test of time and has resonated all over the globe and has 2 in their family who would give new meaning to the term mega stars. The Osmonds on the other hand like most fluffy superficial boy bands from the 70s just didn’t have what it took to go to the next level. They would become relegated to Vegas acts and while that brings financial security, it doesn’t equal artistic respect and leaving an artistic legacy. By the end of the 70s they were out of fashion as most of these things tend to go. The Jacksons on the other hand thrived in the 80s and Michael would go on to own the 80s and 90s before the corrupted media and other entities sought to sabotage his career and his life. Janet Jackson was just as popular as her brother at one point and regarded as a genuine superstar talent. The Osmond Brothers were old news relatively quick. Were they talented? Yes. but they were not able to take it to another level and that is essentially what separates the pretenders from the real McCoy who CAN take it to another level. Peolr like to shift the blame on the Osmond father but I believe that’s a cop out excuse. Either you have it or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. Cheers mate.

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