Her career in a summary
Mildred “Millie” Jackson is an American R&B and soul singer and songwriter. She is also a comedienne of the unrestrictedly raunchy kind, and some of her songs have humorous and explicit monologues. Born in Georgia, Jackson once worked as a model and then moved on to professional singing in 1964. In the early 70s music scene she released her self-titled first LP under Spring Records, which featured songs in the Motown style. The album yielded singles such as “A Child of God (It’s Hard to Believe)” that reached #22 on the R&B hit singles list, but hit in the lower rung of the overall charts. Despite that, they remain as cherished obscure oldies music favorites. Her highest-charting single to date was “Hurts So Good” in September 1973. She now runs her own record company Weird Wreckuds (whose WeirdWreckuds.com also serves as her own official website) and continues to perform. Jackson is the mother of another R&B singer, Keisha Jackson.
Early life and career
Mildred “Millie” Jackson was born in Thomson, Georgia on July 15, 1944. After her mother died when she was younger, she and her father moved to Newark, New Jersey. Subsequently Jackson went to live in her aunt’s home in Brooklyn, New York. When she was younger, Jackson was influenced by listening to Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and the O’Jays.
According to some sources, her singing career started on a dare with a female performer that occurred at a Harlem nightclub. In turn, she rose from the audience and onto the stage, and won the dare by singing a cover of Ben E. King’s “Don’t Play It No More.”
Eventually she was hired as a professional singer at a Hoboken club. Jackson was then signed to MGM Records, where she stayed briefly. She moved to a lesser-known label Spring Records, based in New York. Jackson’s first single was “A Child of God (It’s Hard to Believe),” released in 1971. Its deceptive title led people to believe that it was a gospel song. However, due to its rather scandalous content the single was deleted, but it still managed to make dents on both pop and R&B charts (#102 and #22 respectively).
In 1972, Jackson released a follow-up single “Ask Me What You Want,” which became her first Top 10 R&B hit at #4. It also went to #27 on the pop chart.
Jackson continued to score a few decent hits such as “My Man Is a Sweet Man” (#42 pop, #7 R&B), “I Miss You Baby” (#95 pop, #22 R&B) and “Breakaway” (#110 pop, #16 R&B) while she was still performing at nightclubs.
In 1973, she achieved another Top 40 pop hit single “Hurts So Good” (at #24), which also reached #3 on the R&B singles chart. It was also featured as a soundtrack of the blaxploitation movie Cleopatra Jones; the single was also included in the album of the same name.
In 1974, Jackson released an LP Caught Up which introduced her trademark raunchy, racy rap style, to her audience’s delight. The album contained her version of Luther Ingram’s “If Loving You Is Wrong I Don’t Want to Be Right,” which peaked at #42 on both pop and R&B singles chart.
Jackson even took a stab at covering country singer Merle Haggard’s song “If We’re Not Back in Love by Monday” in 1977. Her version was successful enough, peaking at #43 pop and #5 R&B.
After Jackson’s long productive years with Spring Records which boasted several Top 100 singles, she moved to Jive label in the mid-1980s. Two of her Jive singles, “Hot! Wild! Unrestricted! Crazy Love” (1986) and “Love Is a Dangerous Game” (1987), both entered the R&B top 10.
Aside from her successful singing and recording career, Jackson also hosts her own radio show, a position which she has held for many years. She also established and runs her own imprint Weird Wreckuds.