SEASONS IN THE SUN
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 soloist Susan Pesklevits (born 1948, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan). Jacks composed, arranged, and produced their material while Pesklevits sang lead vocals. The duo performed at small Vancouver clubs before adding another guitarist and drummer to restyle themselves as The Poppy Family.
While Jacks' and Pesklevits' personal relationship led to marriage, they eked out a living until the band burst onto the national charts in 1969 with their Terry Jacks–produced debut album, 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 Jacks earned two Junos for best producer of a single and of an album. The Poppy Family won a Juno for best group and immediately followed up with Poppy Seeds but it never achieved anything close to that initial success, causing some to view them as one-hit wonders). The Poppy Family did place two other singles in the U.S. Top 50, "That's Where I Went Wrong" (No. 29, 1970) and "Where Evil Grows" (No. 45, 1971), the latter of which was a duet between Jacks and Pesklevits (unusual since she was lead singer on most of the group's singles). Eventually The Poppy Family split up.
Jacks' marriage also dissolved, but he and Pesklevits remained friends, and he produced her first solo album in 1973. Working on his own, 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, rewriting the final verse and rearranging 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, where it was released on Bell Records, the song went to No. 1 on the charts. He released two more singles entitled "If You Go Away" (another English-language version of a Jaques Brel song entitled "Ne Me Quitte Pas") and "Rock & Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)", but unlike "Seasons In The Sun" they failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Jacks wrote and recorded a number of other songs and went on to become a successful record producer for other Canadian singers, earning a Juno nomination as "Producer of the Year". Jacks claimed on a VH1 special to have written "Seasons In The Sun" after a friend of his just died. The song was actually penned by Jacques Brel with the English translation by Rod McKuen.
He married a second time and has a daughter, Holly. That marriage also ended. In 1996, Jacks produced the CD, A Good Thing Lost 1968-1973, a collection of The Poppy Family songs. He lives in Pender Harbour, British Columbia, where he is still active in the music industry and the environmental movement.
List of musicians from Canada
Terry Jacks discography and biography