Young Janet Jackson in Throwback Jackson Family Photos

Long before she was one of the most successful and influential pop stars of all time, Janet Jackson was the baby of the Jackson family.

Over the years, the “Rhythm Nation” singer has talked openly about the difficulties of growing up both in the shadow of her brothers, the Jackson 5, and under the thumb of her controlling father, Joe Jackson. But from a young age, her undeniable star power shone through.

On Janet’s 58th birthday, take a look back at her earliest days growing up in the “First Family of Soul.”

Janet Jackson in 1971

Janet Jackson with brother Randy circa 1971.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Janet and Randy Jackson, the youngest Jackson siblings, photographed around the time their brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael released the Jackson 5’s fifth studio album, Maybe Tomorrow, in 1971.

Janet Jackson in 1972

Joe Jackson with daughter Janet Jackson in 1972.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Even as a small child, Janet was expected to follow her brothers into the entertainment business. Here she is with Jackson family patriarch Joe in 1972, a decade before she released her debut solo album. While their relationship was difficult, Janet paid tribute to her father following his death in 2018.

“Without his drive, his strength, we wouldn’t have this success,” she said. “We’re a Black family that came from Gary, Indiana, and we broke all kinds of records all over the globe. That’s truth.”

Janet Jackson in 1972

Janet Jackson with brother Michael in 1972.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

A very young Janet photographed with her brother Michael at the family’s Hollywood Hills home in 1972. The siblings would, of course, go on to become pop superstars in their own rights in the decades to come, eclipsing the fame of all their brothers and sisters.

Janet Jackson in 1973

Janet Jackson (center) with mother Katherine, Michael, LaToya and Randy Jackson in 1973.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

A 7-year-old Janet celebrated older brother Jermaine Jackson’s marriage to record exec Berry Gordy’s daughter Hazel with mom Katherine and siblings Michael, LaToya and Randy in December 1973.

Janet Jackson in 1974

Janet Jackson with brothers Michael and Randy in 1974.

Tim Boxer/Getty 

Janet posed for a portrait with brothers Michael and Randy Jackson in 1974.

Janet Jackson in 1975

A young Janet Jackson and Michael Jackson at the 1975 American Music Awards.

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

At just 8 years old, Janet charmed the crowd at the 1975 American Music Awards, when brother Michael brought her out to present the award for “Favorite Soul Group” to Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Janet Jackson in 1977

The Jackson siblings in 1977.

CBS via Getty

By 1977, Janet had already begun appearing on TV with her siblings, first on Cher’s CBS variety show in 1975, and then on the Jackson family’s own eponymous series.

Janet Jackson in 1977

Janet Jackson with big sister LaToya in 1977.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Janet and big sister LaToya posed for a portrait in 1977. That same year, the youngest Jackson began starring in the CBS sitcom Good Times.

Janet Jackson in 1978

Janet Jackson and LaToya Jackson in 1978.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

The two youngest Jackson sisters were all smiles in another 1978 portrait. Janet and LaToya would go on to be photographed together frequently in the ’80s.

Janet Jackson in 1978

Janet Jackson (center) with brothers Marlon, Michael, Tito, Randy and Jackie Jackson in 1978.

Gregg Cobarr/WireImage

Janet took a cruise with Marlon, Michael, Tito, Randy and Jackie Jackson around eldest Jackson brother Jackie’s home in 1978.

Janet Jackson in 1978

Michael and Janet Jackson in 1978.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Michael and Janet Jackson enjoyed a break from a photo shoot in 1978.

Janet Jackson in 1982

Janet Jackson, Randy and LaToya Jackson in 1982.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

By 1982, Janet had not only joined the cast of Diff’rent Strokes, she’d also released her self-titled first album. Here she is attending Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 35th birthday party that year with siblings Randy and LaToya.

Janet Jackson in 1983

Joe Jackson (center) with daughters LaToya and Janet Jackson in 1983.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In 1983, Janet Jackson’s debut album was nominated for several awards, and the singer won a Billboard Magazine Year-End Number One Award for “Top Black Albums Artists – Female.” That year, she attended the R&B Awards with sister LaToya and father Joe Jackson.

Janet Jackson in 1984

Janet Jackson (left) with mom Katherine and sister LaToya in 1984.

Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Janet, mom Katherine and sister LaToya flashed smiles for the cameras at a party thrown by Pepsi for brother Michael. The event took place in New York City just one month after the “Billie Jean” singer’s hair caught fire while filming a commercial for the soft drink brand. That same year, at just 18 years old, Janet married singer James DeBarge. The marriage was annulled in 1985.

Janet Jackson in 1986

Janet Jackson (left) with siblings LaToya, Marlon and Rebbie Jackson in 1986.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Ahead of the release of her third album, Control, Janet Jackson attended the 1986 American Music Awards with siblings LaToya, Marlon and Rebbie. A year later, she would be nominated for nine AMAs, winning two.

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