It was 45 years ago this week in 1975 that the Jackson Five announced they were leaving Motown for Epic Records. The group, who had first signed with Motown in 1968, cited as reasons for leaving that they only received a 2.7 percent royalty rate for each record sold, and that they were not allowed to record and produce their own songs.
Motown countered back with a breach-of-contract suit, and eventually won the rights to the name “The Jackson Five.” The group changed their name officially to the Jacksons in 1976. When the group made their self-titled Epic debut that year, brother Jermaine Jackson, who had married Motown founder Berry Gordy's daughter Hazel in 1973, stayed on the Motown label as a solo artist. Randy, the youngest Jackson brother, who had been performing as part of the group's stage act since 1972, officially replaced Jermaine.
Jermaine Jackson, who was the one brother who stayed on the Motown label when his brothers moved on to Epic, has always credited Motown for originally being a black owned and operated company: “I think in the past a lot of the pioneers had been victims of that, because there were shady contracts. These record labels, they did these record contracts to their advantage. The artists sold the records but they really got robbed back then.”