Luxury of Life – 5 Star (1985)

5star
Luxury of Life album cover

I grew up watching Micheal and the Jacksons go from child wonders to adult superstars. Along the way Janet (and to an extent La Toya and Rebbie) would become superstars in their own right. With Micheal, Jermaine and Janet taking turns at hit albums, some of us who grew up with the innocents of the Jackson 5 were taken aback when we heard 5 Star for the first time.

Five Star was produced by a team who saw in them a reincarnation of the original Jackson 5. The fact that they all looked like they could really be Jacksons made it all the more remarkable. The sound, the look even the dance moves were all from the Micheal-Janet book of dance. And did I mention that they were from England!

The five member family group lead by Denise Pearson featured two brothers and three sisters, all either vocalists or songwriters (one is credited as a costume designer). With 5 fresh new faces, they made that other family group DeBarge look old. Their energy and enthusiasm fit the upbeat nature of their songs – very much like an extension of the Jackson 5 formula into the ’80s.

Because they were singers (and dancers apparently), I could only assume that the backing band were more or less session musicians hired by their record label RCA.

The first hit “All Fall Down” could have easily been a Janet Jackson track from Control. In addition to looking like their idols, they managed to copy and refine some of Ms. Jackson’s synchronized dance moves. While Paula Abdul might not have been impressed, 5 Star did manage to score two hit singles in the US from Luxury of Life.

The second track “Let Me Be the One” followed the British R&B sound established by Loose Ends. While not as successful as “All Fall Down”, the song had cemented their place on American radio playlists. The also made quite an impact on BET and VH-1 especially.

Luxury of Life was a smart homage to a Jackson heritage by a British R&B group who managed to overcome the gloom of their native Essex just long enough to capture the public’s attention. That was until the next real Jackson album made them forget about those British teens who reminded us of the Jackson 5. For awhile the Pearson family really could have been Jacksons.


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