Terry Jacks

From Academic Kids

Terry Jacks (born March 29, 1944 in Winnipeg) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and environmentalist.


Growing up as part of the hippie generation, a teenage Terry Jacks migrated to the west coast where, as a guitarist and singer, he joined a Vancouver, British Columbia band called The Chessmen. The group had a few minor local hits before disbanding, after which Jacks teamed up with a soloist, Susan Pesklevits (born 1948). Jacks composed, arranged, and produced their material while Pesklevits sang lead vocals. For a time the duo performed at small clubs in Vancouver before adding another guitarist and drummer and restyling themselves as the The Poppy Family.

Jacks and Pesklevits soon developed a personal relationship that led to marriage. They eked out a living until 1969 when their band burst onto the national charts with their Terry Jacks–produced debut album titled Which Way You Goin' Billy? that saw the 45rpm single go to No. 1 in Canada and reach No. 2 on the Billboard charts in the United States, selling upwards of three million copies. The single won a Juno Award while Terry Jacks earned two Junos for best producer of a single and of an album. The Poppy Family won for the Juno for best group and immediately followed up with Poppy Seeds but it never achieved anything close to that initial success and eventually The Poppy Family split up.

Jacks's marriage also dissolved, although he and his wife remained friends and he produced her first solo album in 1973. Working on his own, Terry Jacks helped on a Beach Boys album that initially included the recording of an English-language version of the 1961 Jacques Brel song, "Seasons in the Sun". When the group chose not to go with it on their album, Jacks decided to do it himself but first set about to rewrite the final verse and to rearrange parts of the chorus. Released in 1973 on his own record label, the song became the largest-selling single in Canadian history and earned Jacks three Juno Awards. In the United States, the song went to No. 1 on the charts.

Terry Jacks wrote and recorded a number of other songs, and he went on to become a successful record producer for other Canadian singers, earning a Juno nomination as Producer of the Year. He has also involved himself with the environmental movement, focusing on issues such as pollution and environmental health in Canada and the United States and lending his name to United Kingdom organizations such as The Woodland Trust.

In 1996, Jacks produced the CD A Good Thing Lost 1968-1973, a collection of The Poppy Family Jacks sv:Terry Jacks


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