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Game over, man! The story of Rebbie Jackson's 'Centipede'



Which do you remember more fondly from the '80s, the video game Centipede or the song Centipede by Rebbie Jackson?

After successfully debuting in arcades in 1981, the Atari 8-bit version of Centipede won the  Arkie Award (Electronic Games Magazine) for Best Computer Action game of 1984. Also In 1984, the world was introduced to Rebbie Jackson's Centipede.

Of all of the outlandish stories about the Jackson family, very few will contain the eldest Jackson sibling, Rebbie, as she was more concentrated on a more normal family life than her music career. In 1968, Rebbie (against her father's Joe objections) married her sweetheart Nathaniel and they remained married for 45 years until his death in 2013. While the other Jacksons were pursuing music and acting in the '70s, Rebbie was busy raising their three children. Once she felt her kids were old enough and secure, she rejoined the family business in the '80s and with the help of younger brother Michael, she released her debut album and scored her one and only Top 40 hit with Centipede.  

The video for Centipede is cheesy fun with Rebbie visiting an art gallery and finding the girl in the portrait looks a lot like her setting off a string of confusing scenes that involve a tiger, cobra and dated special effects. Centipede was written and produced by younger brother Michael and only reached No. 24 on the pop charts, but still reached gold status and was a Top 10 hit on the R&B charts. 

 Jackson released a total of four albums through 1998. For those who loved coin-operated video games, here are the Arkie winners for Best Arcade Game (the equivalent of the Oscar for Best Picture): 1979: Space Invaders; 1980: Asteroids; 1981: Pac Man; 1982: Tron; 1983: Pole Position and the final winner before Electronic Games ended its first publication run - 1984: Star Wars.

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 9, 2015 9:01am]


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