Born: Susan Pesklevits on August 19, 1948 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Susan Jacks started singing in a school choir and her first professional appearance was at age 14 for a legion dance in Haney, BC for a whopping $1.
During her regular performances on CBC-TV's Music Hop, Jacks would meet her future husband, Terry Jacks whose band, The Chessman, was appearing on the same program. Susan and Terry started performing together when, quite a while after that meeting, Susan was asked to sing in Hope, B.C. and needed a guitar player to accompany her. She was unable to locate one who was free for that night but she remembered meeting Terry and had heard that his group had broken up. She called Jacks and he agreed to accompany her, after which they began playing several small clubs as a duo.
They would eventually add a guitar player, Craig McCaw, and began trying out group names (Powerline and Winkin' Blinkin' and Nob). With the addition of a tabla player, Satwant Singh, they settled on the name The Poppy Family. Initially, their repertoire was mostly cover tunes and, as Terry Jacks began writing more, they would add these original composition to the stage show.
Two singles slid by unnoticed ("Beyond The Clouds" and "What Can The Matter Be"), but it gave the act the opportunity to travel outside the Vancouver city limits. In 1969 the band would hit gold with "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" which had been recorded on a shoe-string budget. The single would become a No.1 in Canada and No.2 on Billboard in the USA. Eventually worldwide sales would total over 2 1/2 million copies. The song won four Junos in 1969 for 'Best Produced Single' (Terry Jacks), 'Best Produced MOR Album', 'Best Group Performance' and 'Outstanding Sales'.
Terry Jack's dislike for playing live led him to let McCaw and Singh go from the Poppy Family fold in 1970.
Two more hits followed in "That's Where I Went Wrong" and "Where Evil Grows" which saw Jacks under great pressure to put a touring version of the Poppy Family together. While working with Valdy on a studio project in Vancouver, Jacks came across the guitar work of Norman MacPherson who he brought on board to replace not only McCaw as a live guitarist, but to help in the studio on the 'Poppy Seeds' album. MacPherson left the live roster on good terms in the Fall of 1971. Terry Jacks would then call Bob Nelson to replace MacPherson on guitarist. At first, it was Terry Jacks, Susan Jacks, Bob Nelson & Satwant Singh. They played quite a few gigs across Canada and in the United States. But Nelson eventually left the group and the Poppies returned to studio life.
Later, in 1973 Nelson teamed up again with Terry & Susan Jacks. Nelson was asked to recruit Ron Johnson (who played piano on "Where Evil Grows"), bassist Doug Edwards, and The Fifth Dimension drummer Jim Chivers. They rehearsed quite a bit, but only played a few gigs together in that incarnation - notably, Disney World on the 4th of July.
The intensity of the band's stardom and the stress of producing and having to perform live led Terry Jacks to make some new managerial decisions for the act. He decided that groups were becoming passe and it was time for the duo to drop the "Poppy Family" name. His plan had been to revitalize their image -- as solo recording acts -- thereby yielding twice the impact than a single group.
To that end, Susan recorded a self-titled solo album (aka 'I Thought Of You Again') in 1973 which was produced by Terry Jacks on Goldfish Records for Poppy Family Productions Ltd. Singles released from this album were the Juno-nominated track "I Thought Of You Again" (written by Terry Jacks) as well as "I Want You To Love Me". Alas, the career decisions and other aspects of the duo's life together drove them farther apart as a couple and in 1973 Susan decided to leave their marriage and the act.
Susan began touring solo and dubbed one congregation of backing musicians Cheese. She had very good success with such singles as "All the Tea in China", "Anna Marie" and "Tall Dark Stranger", all of which produced a Juno nomination for Jacks.
She would have a litany of record label and managerial problems highlighted by her feud with Casino Records president Ray Pettinger who had withheld her 1975 recorded album 'Dreams'. Pettinger had been Terry Jacks' business partner with Goldfish Records and when Pettinger bought out Terry Jack's share of the company he used Susan's money to do so and changed the label name to Casino. Susan Jacks would sue Pettinger over the cash dispute (and the album was a casualty of that lawsuit). Although Susan eventually won the case, her career was put on hold for many years.
In 1980 she recorded 'Ghosts' for CBS Records and was reunited with her first husband Terry Jacks as producer. Not long after she hooked up with Bruce Allen Management who brought in Prism's Tom Lavin to produce the 'Forever' album in 1982.
She moved to Nashville in 1983 after signing a recording contract with a Nashville record label with second husband, CFL player Ted Dushinski, and her son. With the 1984 release of 'Tall Dark Stranger' she won 'Best New Female Country Artist' in Oklahoma.
Jacks was also nominated for a Juno that year. When the Nashville label folded a couple of years later, she began to hone her writing skills and wrote for a publishing company for 5 years. Since then, she's managed a publishing company and was Vice President of Operations for a computer consulting company. Susan Jacks was part owner in, and Executive Vice President of, a successful telecommunications company in Nashville. She has most recently relocated to Vancouver.
with notes from Andre Skrastin, Susan Jacks, Sabrina Whyte, Bob Nelson, Norman MacPherson, and Jan Hindriks.
as SUSAN JACKS
You Don't Know What Love Is/Another Year, Another Day (Goldfish/Casino/London) L-182
I Thought Of You Again/Ocean (Goldfish/Casino) GF-102
I Want You To Love Me/I Thought of You Again (Goldfish/Casino) GF-104
Build A Tower/I Thought of You Again (Goldfish/Casino) GF-109
You're A Part Of Me/I'd Rather Know You (Goldfish/Casino) GF-113
Love Has No Pride (Goldfish/Casino) C7-102
Anna Marie/Into The Night (Goldfish/Casino) C7-105
Dream/[same] (Goldfish/Casino) C7-108
I'd Rather Know You/You're A Part Of Me (Mercury - US) 73649
Nothing Good Comes Easy/Never Let Him Go (Mercury - US) 73752
Memories Are Made Of You/Honeyluv (Polydor)
Daytime Hustler/Mr. Vincent's Dancing Class (Polydor) 2065-369
All The Tea In China/Ocean (Columbia/CBS) C4-4241
Twice As Strong/Beyond The Clouds (Columbia/CBS) C4-4253
Fool Such As I/It's For Real (Columbia/CBS) C4-4263
Evergreen/Two Roses (Columbia/CBS) C4-4267
Forever/Out Of My Mind (Columbia/CBS) C4-4304
Drown In The Flood/It's For Real (Columbia/CBS) C4-4316
It Takes Two/Somebody New (Columbia/CBS) C4-4318
Tall Dark Stranger/Run To Her (Compleat) CP-123X
Another Woman's Man/I Miss You (Compleat) CP-134X
Tell Me About It
with ETERNAL TRIANGLE
It's True/Watch Me Go (New Syndrome) NS-10
My New Love/It's True (New Syndrome) NS-101
with THE POPPY FAMILY
Beyond The Clouds/Free From The City (London) M-17364
What Can The Matter Be/Evil Overshadows Joe (London) M-17369
Which Way You Goin', Billy?/Endless Sleep (London) M-17373
That's Where I Went Wrong/Shadows On My Wall (London) M-17375
Endless Sleep [promo re-issue] (London) L-129
Where Evil Grows/I Was Wondering (London) L-148
No Good To Cry/I'll See You There(London) L-164
Good Friends/Tryin' (London) L-172
as SUSAN JACKS
Susan Jacks (aka 'I Thought Of You Again') (Goldfish) GFLP-1002
Dreams (Casino) CA-1005
The World Of Susan Jacks And The Poppy Family (Goldfish) GOLP-161
Ghosts (CBS) JC-36417
Forever (Columbia) NPCC-80067
Tall Dark Stranger
with THE POPPY FAMILY
Which Way You Goin' Billy? (London) PS-568
Poppy Seeds (London) PS-599
Terry Jacks & The Poppy Family featuring Susan Jacks (K-Tel) TC-230
The Poppy Family's Greatest Hits
A Good Thing Lost: 1968-1973 (What Are Records?) WTA-60017
as SUSAN JACKS
"Good Friends" on 'Maple Music - Volume 1' (Maple Music) MMJ-1
"I Thought Of You Again" on 'Canadian Mint' (K-Tel) TC-215
"I Want You To Love Me" on 'Dynamite' (K-Tel) TC-219
"Anna Marie" on 'Block Buster' (K-Tel) TC-229
"All The Tea In China" on 'Hit Line' (K-Tel) TC-266
with THE POPPY FAMILY
"Good Friends" on 'Maple Music Vol.1' (MMJ)
"Where Evil Grows" on 'Canadian Mint' (K-Tel) TC-215
"Which Way You Goin', Billy?" on 'Made In Canada - Volume One: The Early Years' (BMG) KKL-7156
"Which Way You Goin', Billy?" on 'Oh What A Feeling - Disc 3' (MCA) JUNO-25
"Where Evil Grows" on 'Losing Money & Losing Friends'
Official Susan Jacks Website
COMING IN OCTOBER 2011: The book version of the Encyclopedia. Submit corrections, additions and feedback
Click on the image and pre-order now!