Who is Chuck Jackson?
Rhythm-and-blues balladeer Chuck Jackson has one of the most beautiful, versatile voices in modern music, with his light baritone delivered in a raspy, gruffy style. Although born in South Carolina in 1937, he was eventually raised in Pennsylvania. His career started with The Del Vikings, who were one of the first interracial musical acts at that time. Jackson eventually went solo in during the early 60s music era, where he cut his first record with Scepter Records, “I Don’t Want To Cry”. It became a hit on both R&B and pop charts. Jackson was one of the first singers to record a Burt Bacharach/Hal David composition through the classics, “I Wake Up Crying” and “Any Day Now”. The latter was his biggest smash single to date. He continues to work with other artists, among them Smokey Robinson and longtime friend Dionne Warwick. Aside from music, he also actively participates in civic and humanitarian causes in the country.
The early years
Best known for his early 1960’s breakthrough hits “Any Day Now” and “I Don’t Want to Cry,” American R&B singer Chuck Jackson was born Charles Jackson on July 22, 1937 in Latta, South Carolina. He was later raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Chuck Jackson’s recording career
Jackson first came to prominence when he became a member of the doo-wop musical group The Del Vikings in 1957. He pursued a solo career in 1959. After serving as an opening act for Jackie Wilson, Jackson was spotted by Luther Dixon, a singer, songwriter and a record producer who helped him get a record contract.
Jackson was signed to Wand Records (Scepter subsidiary) in 1961 and released “I Don’t Want to Cry” as his debut single. Co-written by him and Dixon, the song became gave him his first hit, charting both pop and R&B charts at #36 and #5 respectively. In that same year “I Don’t Want to Cry” was followed by several low-charting singles such as “(It Never Happens) In Real Life,” “Mr. Pride” and “I Wake Up Crying.”
In 1962, Jackson achieved his first real big hit with “Any Day Now,” written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard. The song landed at #2 on the R&B chart and #23 on the pop chart, becoming Jackson’s signature tune. He was also among the first artists who successfully turned a Bacharach-penned song into a commercial hit.
Due to his popularity during that time, Motown Records bought the remainder of his contract from Scepter. With his brief time on Motown, he had singles which did moderately well like “Honey Come Back” and “Are You Lonely for Me Baby.” He continued to release singles on different labels, but making no significant impression on the pop chart.
In 1998, Jackson had a collaboration with Dionne Warwick for the critically-acclaimed “If I Let Myself Go.” The song ranked at #19 on the Gavin Contemporary Charts. Another song by Jackson made to Gavin charts with “What Goes Around Comes Around,” peaking at #13. Both songs were produced by Charles Wallert.
In recent years, some of Jackson songs were remade by other artists who turned them into hits. In 1982, Ronnie Milsap’s version of “Any Day Now” ranked at #1 on the adult contemporary charts. “I Keep Forgettin'” was covered by Michael McDonald and David Bowie. Bowie included the song in his album Tonight. The version of the Australian pop-rock band Big Pig of “I Can’t Break Away” was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989). The most recent version of the song was performed by house music singer Inaya Day in 2007.
In 2015, Jackson is in line to be inducted into the Official Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in Cleveland.