Susan Jacks

Susan (Elizabeth) Jacks (b Pesklevits). Popular singer, songwriter, b Saskatoon, Sask 19 Aug 1948. Susan Jacks moved with her family to Haney, BC at age nine. A child star, she sang on radio, at Royal Canadian Legion dances, and on the CBC series "Let's Go" and "Music Hop.

Jacks, Susan

Susan (Elizabeth) Jacks (b Pesklevits). Popular singer, songwriter, b Saskatoon, Sask 19 Aug 1948. Susan Jacks moved with her family to Haney, BC at age nine. A child star, she sang on radio, at Royal Canadian Legion dances, and on the CBC series "Let's Go" and "Music Hop." On the latter she met Terry Jacks; they married in 1967 and formed the bands Powerline and Winkin', Blinkin' and Nob, before settling on the name the Poppy Family. They had several hits, and at age 20 Jacks reached a pinnacle singing "Which Way You Goin', Billy." The song reached number 1 in Canada and on the Cashbox charts, number 2 on US Billboard charts, and won two 1970 Moffatt Broadcasting Canadian Talent awards. The Poppy Family appeared at Expo in Osaka, Japan; recorded in Canada, the US and the UK; and in 1973 toured the Maritimes and Ontario and entertained troops in Europe.

Music industry convention cast her in a saccharine "lost little girl" "pretty voice" image, but she experienced resistance when she began to explore other styles. Additionally, although Susan Jacks welcomed touring opportunities, Terry Jacks disliked performing live. The Poppy Family disbanded when the couple divorced in 1973.

Susan Jacks's solo career began with the hit singles "You Don't Know What Love Is" and "I Thought of You Again." In 1975, "You're a Part of Me" reached number 18 on the adult contemporary charts and "Anna Maria" was on RPM's pop and country charts. Her career included performances at the 1973 Pacific National Exhibition and Expo 86; she led a touring band and arranged its music. Taking on rock and country stylings, she issued the 1976 singles "Memories are Made of You" and "Love Has No Pride." "Evergreen," "Another Woman's Man," and "Tell Me About It" all were country hits.

Terry Jacks produced her Ghosts album (1980), with a sound not far removed from the Poppy Family's. Susan then engaged manager Bruce Allen to bring out a more energetic rock-oriented sound; the result was Forever (1982). In 1983, Susan Jacks signed with Nashville's Compleat label and moved to the US to record country-rock and later country adult contemporary music (eg, the hit single "Tall Dark Stranger"). She was a staff songwriter, demo singer and producer in Nashville, and managed a music publishing business. Among her hits as songwriter was 1988's "Tell Me About It." She was declared best new country vocalist in Oklahoma in 1984. She toured Canada occasionally, including Poppy Family material in her shows. Into the 2000s, Jacks lived in Nashville, where she was an executive with computer and telecommunications firms. She later moved back to Vancouver.

Recognition

Susan Jacks is noteworthy for being only the second Canadian woman singer to earn a gold record, for "Which Way You Goin', Billy." (The first was Lucille Starr.) With the Poppy Family, she garnered two Junos (RPM Gold Leaf awards) in 1970; four solo Juno nominations followed, including best female vocalist and country female vocalist, and a Grammy nomination for a children's song. She counts the Everly Brothers, Connie Francis, Tony Bennett, the Beatles, and Dusty Springfield as her influences. Susan Jacks is a SOCAN affiliate.


Further Reading

  • Martin, Peter. "Susan Jacks - A new image and a new album," RPM Weekly, 15 May 1982

    Brown, Jim. "Profile: Susan Jacks," Country Music News, Aug 1988