1962: Terry Jacks

 Mar, 03 - 2014   no comments   1960s Music

Terry Jacks

Terrence Ross “Terry” Jacks (born March 29, 1944, Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and environmentalist, best known for his chart-topping 1974 hit song “Seasons in the Sun”.

Early life

Terry Jacks was born and raised in Winnipeg. His family relocated to Vancouver in the early 1960s. Jacks took up guitar in his teens and at 18 formed a band called The Chessmen with guitarist Guy Sobell. The group had four top-ten hits in Vancouver between 1964 and 1966.

Following The Chessmen, Terry and Susan Pesklevits (Susan Jacks), whom he later married, formed The Poppy Family along with Craig McCaw and Satwant Singh. They had several hits in Canada and internationally, their biggest being “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?“, which went to #1 in Canada and #2 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. The song was written and produced by Terry Jacks which earned him a Gold Leaf (Juno) award in 1970 for his production.

Seasons in the Sun

Seasons in the Sun

The song “Seasons in the Sun”, released in late 1973 on his own record label, Goldfish Records, became the largest-selling international single by a Canadian artist at that time, eventually selling 14 million copies worldwide. It earned Jacks two Juno Awards and became one of the biggest selling Canadian Singles of all time.

The song was based on Rod McKuen‘s 1965 adaptation of “Le moribond“, originally by Belgian singer Jacques Brel from 1962. For his version, Jacks made some modifications to the lyrics. In the United States, in Great Britain and in Germany, it was released on Bell Records, and the song went to #1 on the charts. In Canada it was released on his own label, Goldfish Records, distributed by London Records Canada.

The B-side of “Seasons In The Sun” was a humorous song entitled Put the Bone In which was ostensibly about a woman asking her butcher to put in a bone with the rest of her meat order, but was intended to be a sexual double entendre. (The tune, recorded in Vancouver, contained several members of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team on backing vocals.)

Jacks later released “If You Go Away” (another McKuen adaptation of a Jacques Brel song entitled “Ne Me Quitte Pas”), which reached #8 in Great Britain and #24 in Germany, and a cover of Kevin Johnson’s “Rock ‘N’ Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)”, both of which had more success in Canada but also made the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the USA.

Jacks also wrote and recorded a number of other songs and went on to produce many artists including The Beach Boys with a version of Seasons in the Sun several years before his own, but that was never released. He also produced the singles “Crazy Talk” and “There’s Something I Like About That” for Chilliwack (band) from their album “Riding High”. Terry produced two songs for Nana Mouskouri: Scarborough Fair and Loving Arms in 1976. He produced the Vancouver top 10 hit “Country Boy Named Willy” for “SPRING” on London Records; And Valdy’s original version of Rock and Roll Song (b/w sometime Sunday Morning). The Record was scheduled for release on London Records but was re-recorded in L.A. when Valdy signed a recording contract. Terry also spent a lot of time with Buddy Knox in the 1970s and produced a single for him with two songs: Me and You (written by Jacks) and the George Jones classic “White Lightnin'”. The Single remains unreleased. Terry also went on to produce a number of other artists in the 1980s and 90s including Punk Icons DOA (band) who did a punk version of “Where Evil Grows”.


In 2011 Terry’s old friend Al Jardine of The Beach Boys Released a new version of Terry’s song Don’t Fight The Sea recorded along with fellow Beach Boys Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston and the late Carl Wilson, who sang part of the lead vocal. A Limited Edition white vinyl 45 was made and sold to benefit Japanese Tsunami victims.

Terry is enjoying Seasons in the Sun living on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada currently working on a new Gospel album with famed guitarist James Burton which should be out later this year.


Terry Jacks Guests on OTR

Jacks has worked in documentary film and video, producing several shorts on environmental themes including “The Faceless Ones” The Tragedy of Clearcutting, The Southern Chilcotin Mountains and The Warmth of Love (The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas) with cinematographer Ian Hinkle. The video production The Faceless Ones earned an Environmental Gold Award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival.

Personal life

In the late 1970s, Jacks gradually withdrew from the music world. He had a daughter, born in 1985. In the 1980s Jacks became involved in the environmental movement, focusing on pulp mill pollution issues in Canada. His environmental work has earned him several awards including one from the United Nations Association of Canada and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. He was awarded a lifetime achievement award in 1997 for his work, as well as the Eugene Rogers Environmental Award.

  • Terrence Ross Jacks
  • Rock
  • pop
  • soft rock
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • 1962–present
  • Seasons in the Sun (1974)
  • Y’ Don’t Fight The Sea (1975)
  • Pulse (1983)
  • Just Like That (1987)
  • Seasons in the Sun
  • If You Go Away
  • Where Evil Grows
  • Holly
  • Concrete Sea
  • Put the Bone In
  • I’m So Lonely Here Today
  • I’m Gonna Love You Too
  • Saginaw Michigan
  • Pumpkin Eater
  • Land Of The Northern Lights
  • I Wonder If She Might
  • The Whale Of Juan Perez Sound
  • It’s Been There From the Start
  • The Feelings That We Lost
  • Ghosts in Your Mind
  • Talkin’ To Myself
  • Everyday
  • The Final Line
  • Laura Dreams
  • Life With You
  • Changes
  • Just Like That
  • Television
  • Hey Country Girl
  • Sail Away
  • You Fool Me
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Christina
  • Minimum Motion
  • Y’Don’t Fight the Sea
  • Rainy Eyes

It’s Been There From The Start

Rock N Roll ( I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life )

Poppy Family – Which Way You Goin’ Billy (1969


  • Bell Records,
  • Columbia Graphophone Company,
  • A&M Records

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