LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Tito Jackson will play a series of concerts in Britain this year as a tribute to younger brother Michael, the “king of pop” who died suddenly in June.
Tito, a member of The Jackson 5 along with Michael and their brothers Jermaine, Jackie and Marlon, will join Gladys Knight on what is being billed as her farewell British tour called “Midnight Train to Love.”
According to a statement from the organizers, Tito will appear with his 14-piece band The Funk Brothers to perform hits written by Michael and The Jackson 5 as well as songs from his forthcoming album due for release later in the year.
“The UK was a very special place to my brother Michael and I’m so excited to be able to pay my respects to his fans there,” Tito said. “To be able to do this whilst supporting our dear friend Gladys is a complete blessing.”
He added that Knight, who is touring Britain with her Las Vegas show, introduced the Jackson brothers to Motown founder Berry Gordy, a partnership which helped the band become one of the biggest pop acts of the 1970s.
Knight’s tour kicks off in Manchester on October 6 and will visit seven cities including London, Liverpool and Cardiff.
Tito’s tribute gigs, at which he said he would be joined by other members of the Jackson family, will go some way to compensating British fans who had expected London to host a star-studded tribute concert for Jackson.
The star died of cardiac arrest on June 25 while preparing for a run of 50 concerts at London’s O2 Arena, his planned comeback after years of living as a virtual recluse.
A major tribute is instead being planned at Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Palace on September 26 under the stewardship of Jackson’s brother Jermaine.
Organizers said tickets for the Vienna event go on sale from 1500 GMT on Thursday via the website www.tribute2009.com, even though the lineup has yet to be announced.
A spokeswoman for the concert said Jermaine Jackson was due in Vienna in the next nine days to reveal who would be performing.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Steve Addison