Hump Day Slow Jam of the Week: Jermaine Jackson, “Do What You Do”

The Singer: As co-leader of the Jackson 5, Jermaine Jackson was heard on “Want You Back” and “ABC.” Jermaine split from his brothers when he stayed with Motown Records while the rest of the 5 went to Epic Records (Jermaine was married to Berry Gordy’s daughter at the time). His solo work yielded a number of chart hits, including “Let’s Get Serious” and this little gem.

The Song: “Do What You Do” is notable not only for its laid-back beat and purely synthesized backing track but also for its circular, undulating nature. Strictly speaking, there isn’t a chorus or a bridge, just a series of repeating verses that gently modulate. The track spent three weeks at number one on the adult contemporary charts in 1984.

The Video: This clip isn’t so much a video as it is an incongruous mob movie condensed into five minutes. We see Jermaine holding court in an Italian villa, surrounded by swarthy men-at-arms and speaking some laughable Italian dialogue. The femme fatale enters, and after some low-lit lovemaking, it is revealed that she is a hitwoman after the mafia don’s Jheri-curled head. I won’t ruin the surprise, but this video features the best shower scene since Psycho. The images have almost nothing to do with the song, but take it easy on Jermaine – making epic music videos is in his blood, after all.

Hipster Cachet: While he’s in distant third place in the running for most talented Jackson sibling, Jermaine had a number of singles with some notable guest singers. His song “Let Me Tickle Your Fancy” featured backing vocals from Devo, and Jermaine dueted with actress Pia Zadora on “When the Rain Begins to Fall.” The clip with Devo is after the jump.

-- Christian Schaeffer


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