Gary Susman
July 21, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Michael Jackson will collaborate on an album and tour with those who may be the only people in the industry who still don’t find him too off the wall: his brothers. That’s the word, at least, from Jermaine Jackson, who told the BBC on Friday that the Jackson Five were reuniting. The group plans an album and a tour (including dates in England and, presumably, the U.S.), Jermaine said, adding that Michael was ”absolutely on board.”

Aside from the title track of the 1989 album ”2300 Jackson Street” and performances at Michael’s two Madison Square Garden galas in 2001, the brothers haven’t all performed together since 1984’s ”Victory” album and tour. One reason may have been ego: The Jacksons, together and apart, have not enjoyed the stratospheric success that Michael did during the ’80s and early ’90s. But Jermaine said the siblings weren’t worried about Michael upstaging them on tour. ”Michael turned into this beautiful entertainer because of the foundation of the Jackson Five,” he said.

Jermaine offered no dates for the prospective album and tour, and skeptical fans will note that previous Jackson reunion disc rumors (in 2001, 1998, 1997, 1996?) have failed to come to fruition. Still, this is Jermaine talking, the brother who left the group in the 1970s (to be replaced by younger brother Randy), the one who balked at joining the 2001 concert reunion before signing on at the last minute. If even he is on board, then maybe the rest have got to be there as well.

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