'Earth Song' Still Inspires King Of Pop's Brother

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Jermaine Jackson performed alongside his brother, Michael, in the legendary Motown group the Jackson 5. In his book, You Are Not Alone: Michael, he looks at his struggle to come to terms with his brother's death. As part of Tell Me More's series, In Your Ear, Jackson talks about the songs that continue to inspire him.


Now it's time for the feature we call In Your Ear. It's where we ask some of our guests to tell us what they've been listening to lately. Today, we hear from a member of a musical dynasty. Jermaine Jackson once performed in the Jackson Five with his brothers, including the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. He joined the program earlier this year and shared the music that was on his mind.


JERMAINE JACKSON: Hi. I'm Jermaine Jackson and this is what's playing in my ear.


MICHAEL JACKSON: (Singing) What about killing fields? Is there a time? What about all the things that you said was yours and mine?

JACKSON: The "Earth Song" by my brother, Michael.


JACKSON: (Singing) Did you ever stop to notice all the blood we've shed before? Did you ever stop to notice the crying earth, the weeping shore?

JACKSON: This song is so special because it addresses all of the situations that are going on in the world and children being victims of war, nature, the animals, the anti-poaching, the rainforests being just cut down for profit and this and that, and he addresses all of these things in the song.


JACKSON: (Singing) What about the seas? What about us? The heavens are falling down. What about us? I can't even breathe. What about us? What about apathy? What about us?

JACKSON: And I think it's a great message. It's just very timely and we should be concerned about conserving the Earth and these wars. Nobody wins at war. The children suffer and the people suffer. And that's what this song is all about.


JACKSON: One of my favorites songs also is "How Deep is Your Love" by the Bee Gees.


BEE GEES: (Singing) When you rise in the morning sun, I feel you touch me in the pouring rain.

JACKSON: It's just a wonderful way to sort of express the feelings in a love song and your feelings towards someone else by saying, how deep is your love?


GEES: (Singing) And you come to me on a summer breeze, keep me warm in your love and then softly leave. And it's me you need to show. How deep is your love? How deep is your love? How deep is your love? I really need to learn.

JACKSON: And another song that I love so much is "Never Can Say Goodbye" by the Jackson Five.


JACKSON FIVE: (Singing) Never can say goodbye. No, no, no, no. I never can say goodbye. Even though the pain and heartache seem to follow me wherever I go, though I try and try to hide my feelings, they always seem to show.

JACKSON: Because it brought back so many memories of being on stage and those concerts and, when we did this song, the kids thought that we were ending the show and they would just charge the stage and the stage would collapse and the fire marshal would turn all the lights on and say, shut it down. It's finished. And this was during the 1970s when this - it was '71 when the song came out. That's one of my favorite Jackson Five songs.


FIVE: (Singing) I never can say goodbye. No, no, no, no, no, no. Oh, girl, I never can say goodbye, girl. Oh, baby, I never can say goodbye. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

KEYES: That was singer Jermaine Jackson telling us what's in his ear.


KEYES: Just ahead, we'll head into the Barbershop for a holiday shape-up and to ask the guys to weigh in on some of the week's biggest news stories. We'll hear what they think of President Obama's early Christmas gift, a boost in his approval ratings. And we'll see who'll be tuning in as the NBA gets back on the courts over the holidays. The first games since the lockout ended are scheduled for Christmas day. All that and more in the Barbershop coming up on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Allison Keyes.


KEYES: Nicki Minaj, J. Lo, Adele, Tune-Yards. The list of female performers producing chart-topping megahits has been endless this year. As part of NPR's series celebrating people, movements and ideas that had a good year in 2011, we look at the women in music that rock. That's next time on TELL ME MORE.

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