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Susan Jacks Biography

Susan Jacks, whose birth name was Susan Pesklevits, went through several different career stages. Early on, she performed on her own, appearing on Music Hop, a CBC-TV production where she met Terry Jacks, the man she would later wed. Jacks later telephoned her future spouse when she needed a guitarist to back her at a gig where she was scheduled to sing. Terry Jacks' group, the Chessmen, had already disbanded and so he agreed to fill in. From there the pair formed a duo and started to perform at small nightspots. Another career shift brought Jacks and her husband into a group setting, where they would join with Satwant Singh, a tabla player, and Craig McCaw, a guitarist, to form the Poppy Family. The group earned international recognition with "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" In 1969, the single earned four Juno Awards. Terry Jacks, who had an aversion to live performances, downsized the Poppy Family the following year by dismissing Singh and McCaw. Still using the name of the Poppy Family, Susan Jacks and her husband scored on the charts with "Where Evil Grows" and "That's Where I Went Wrong." The band brought another guitarist onboard for live gigs that they were pressured to make and also for studio recordings. By 1973, Susan Jacks and Terry Jacks each went solo. Susan Jacks released an eponymous album that same year. Her husband acted as producer for the recording, which spawned "I Want You to Love Me" and "I Thought of You Again." The latter song was written by her husband and received a nomination for a Juno Award. That same year, she ended the marriage. The singer put together a backing band that she dubbed Cheese and went on tour. The singles "Tall Dark Stranger," "Anna Marie," and "All the Tea in China" helped earn her another Juno nomination. In 1975, Susan Jacks worked on her next album, Dreams, but it was kept from market by Ray Pettinger, her husband's former business associate at Goldfish Records. Pettinger christened the label Casino Records after he purchased Terry Jacks' interest in the business. Susan Jacks filed a lawsuit against Pettinger for using her funds to finance the buyout. She won her lawsuit, but at the cost of her Dreams album and several years of downtime for her career. By 1980, however, she was back and recording for CBS, which put out her Ghosts album. Once again, Terry Jacks acted as her producer. She put out Forever two years later, with producer Tom Lavin. By 1983, Jacks had a new husband, Ted Dushinski of the Canadian Football League, and a new record deal in Nashville, where she relocated that year. The album Tall Dark Stranger came out the following year and she also snagged another Juno nomination. Trouble sprouted within a few years, however, when her new label went belly up. Jacks concentrated on songwriting rather than singing for about five years. She spent time in a managerial position at a music publishing business and later rose to the position of vice president at a consulting company. Still in Nashville, Jacks owns part of a telecommunications business. ~ Linda Seida, Rovi


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