Do What You Do – Jermaine Jackson | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#13), R&B (#14) and Adult Contemporary (#1); 1985

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

When the Jackson 5 left Motown in 1975 for greener pastures, brother Jermaine remained with the label that had given his family’s band its start. The non-birth family ties that played a part in his decision involved Jermaine’s wife: Hazel Joy Gordy, daughter of Motown owner, Berry Gordy Jr. His chart track record at Motown thus far certainly didn’t carry much weight. To date Jermaine had racked up only one hit; 1973’s Daddy’s Home. As the 1970’s wore on, Jermaine held on at Motown, while his siblings scored hit after hit for their new label. In 1980, Jermaine finally hit it big with Let’s Get Serious, co-written and produced by Stevie Wonder. Jermaine notched up one more significant hit at Motown – Let Me Tickle Your Fancy – before jumping to Arista in 1984. The move brought immediate rewards as first Dynamite, then Do What You Do became R&B and pop hits. Do What You Do also exposed Jermaine to the ballad crowd who made it #1 at Adult Contemporary radio.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Jermaine Jackson

Lyrics Written by:

  • Larry Ditommaso
  • Ralph Dino


  • “Do What You Do” was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance category at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards in 1985