Chuck Jackson, an R&B singer who took “Any Day Now” to the Top 25 in 1962 and had some two dozen singles hit the Hot 100 during the decade, has died. He was 85.
Ady Croasdell of the UK’s Kent Records, which has worked on re-releasing Jackson’s music, confirmed on social media that the singer died February 16 in Georgia but did not provide other details.
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Dionne Warwick, who recorded for the same label as Jackson during the 1960s, paid tribute to her friend today. “Another heartache has come my way. Chuck Jackson has made his transition,” she said in a statement released by her label. “He was my label mate on Scepter Records and was like a big brother to me. I’ll truly miss his daily calls checking on me and his wonderful voice. Rest in heavenly peace my dear friend.”
Born on July 22, 1937, in Winston-Salem, NC, and raised in Pittsburgh, Jackson left college in 1957 to sing with a gospel group. Later that year, he joined the Del-Vikings (aka the Dell-Vikings), who were hot off a pair of Top 10 hits with “Come Go with Me” and “Whispering Bells.” He stayed with the group until 1959, before leaving for a solo career.
He signed with Clock Records in 1959, recording as Charles Jackson, but failed to click. He then inked with Florence Greenberg’s Scepter subsidiary Wand Records.
Jackson’s first solo chart record was “I Don’t Want to Cry,” which was arranged by teenage whiz Carole King. It dented the Billboard Top 40 in 1961, and a handful of follow-up singles also made the Hot 100. His breakout hit was “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird), co-written by Burt Bacharach, who died this month. The song peaked at No. 23, which would be Jackson’s highest-charting pop hit. “Any Day Now” would go on to be covered by the likes of Elvis Presley and Ronnie Milsap, whose version topped the Billboard country chart in 1982.
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Jackson continued to cross over to the pop chart through 1968 but failed to reach the Top 40 again. He had more success on the R&B chart, on which “Any Day Now” hit No. 2. Jackson made the top 10 on that tally twice in 1964 with “Something You Got” and “Beg Me.” The latter featured backing vocals by Cissy Houston, Warwick’s aunt and later the mother of Whitney Houston.
About a half-dozen of Jackson’s charted singles were duets with his Wand labelmate Maxine Brown.
In all, Jackson has 23 solo chart hits spanning 1961-68. He signed with Motown in 1968 and continued to record albums into the 1990s. In 1997, he released a CD single of “If I Let Myself Go,” a duet with Warwick.
Jackson, who was married twice and had two children, received the Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1992.
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