Rebbie Jackson, like her siblings Janet, LaToya, and Randy, was out of the public eye when her brothers stormed the music world as the Jackson 5. Though she sang and was taught clarinet and piano by her mother, it wasn't until 1976, after the Jackson 5 had left Motown and signed with CBS, that Rebbie began a professional singing career, becoming a cabaret singer and background vocalist. She was credited on LPs by the Emotions, Betty Wright, and others during the '70s and '80s; she also appeared on the Jacksons' short-lived 1976 variety show.
Roughly ten years later, her brother Michael was given the chance to write and produce, and his first project was Rebbie's first single, "Centipede," which hit number four on the Billboard R&B chart in fall 1984. The Centipede LP, released that October, also featured input from Crusaders member Wayne Henderson, as well as her brothers Tito and Randy. Her next album, Reaction, was issued two years later and included tracks produced by David "Pic" Conley and David Townsend of the group Surface. The title track single hit number 16 on the R&B charts in summer 1986, while the follow-up, "You Send the Rain Away" (a duet with Cheap Trick lead singer Robin Zander), made it to number 50 R&B in late 1986. Another fine duet, "Tonight I'm Yours" with Isaac Hayes, received substantial airplay as an album track but curiously was never released as a single.
R U Tuff Enuff was the title of her third Columbia album, issued in February 1988, featuring one single ("Plaything") that reached the R&B Top Ten. After a hiatus from show business in which she moved to Virginia, Rebbie signed with Michael Jackson's MJJ label and released Yours Faithfully in March 1998. ~ Ed Hogan