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Jackson performing at the Howard Theatre, 2012.
|Birth name||Mildred Virginia Jackson|
|Born||July 15, 1944|
Thomson, Georgia, U.S.
Mildred Virginia Jackson (born July 15, 1944) is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter and former model. Beginning her career in the early 1960s, three of Jackson's albums have been certified gold by the RIAA for over 500,000 copies. Jackson's songs often include long, humorous, and explicit spoken sections in her songs. She recorded songs in a disco or dance music style and occasionally in a country style.
Occasionally, Jackson refers to herself as other have toted as the "mother of hip-hop," or of rapping itself. According to the cataloguing site WhoSampled.com, her songs have appeared in 189 samples, 51 covers, and six remixes revealing the appeal of her proto-typical rapping style of delivery.
Since she always enjoyed writing poems, in the early '70s Jackson began crafting such proto-rap R&B singles as the outspoken "A Child of God (It's Hard To Believe)."
Born in Thomson, Georgia, Jackson is the daughter of a sharecropper. Her mother died when she was a child and subsequently, she and her father moved to Newark, New Jersey. By the time Jackson was in her mid-teens, she had moved to Brooklyn to live with an aunt. She occasionally worked as a model for magazines like JIVE and Sepia.
Dared by a $5 bet back in 1964, Millie sang at a club in New York City that led her to be discovered. She appeared in a "string of one nighters" as a result. Though she was a poet, her onstage banter would become the selling point in her stage act. Banter that initially stemmed from being unsure of what to do in front of the crowd.
"I just talked to the audience because I was nervous," Jackson said. "Then my label (Spring) wanted to record it like I was doing it live. It was longer than a three-minute single, but not quite a whole album side so I said, 'We need to keep this story going.'"
Her unconventional style began as a bit of stage fright between songs, revealing how stars are not merely born but often made from transactional moments between an artist and the audience along with smart decisions by label management.
Jackson's singing career reportedly began on a dare to enter a 1964 talent contest at Harlem nightclub Smalls Paradise, which she won. Although she first recorded for MGM Records in 1970, she soon left and began a long association with New York-based Spring Records. Working with the label's in-house producer, Raeford Gerald, her first single to chart was 1971's deceptively titled "A Child of God (It's Hard to Believe)," which reached number 22 on the R&B charts. In 1972, Jackson had her first R&B Top Ten single with the follow-up, "Ask Me What You Want", which also reached the pop Top 30, then "My Man, A Sweet Man" reached No. 7 R&B and 50 on the UK Singles Chart; all three hits were co-written by Jackson. "My Man, A Sweet Man" retains its popularity today for northern soul enthusiasts and is played on the radio in the UK and quoted as an example from this musical genre as is her 1976 recording, "A House for Sale". The following year brought her biggest single success and her third Top Ten hit, "It Hurts So Good," which made No. 3 on the R&B charts and No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. The single was featured on the album of the same name and in the blaxploitation film Cleopatra Jones, also appearing on that film's soundtrack along with the song "Love Doctor".
In 1974, she released the album Caught Up, which introduced her innovative style of raunchy rap. The featured release was her version of Luther Ingram's million-seller, "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right", for which she received two Grammy nominations. By now, she had switched producers to work only with Brad Shapiro, who had been involved with "It Hurts So Good" and "Love Doctor". Working at Muscle Shoals Studio in Alabama with the renowned Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, she continued to record most of her material for Spring there, including the follow-up album, Still Caught Up. Over the next ten years, Jackson had a string of successful albums and numerous R&B chart entries, the biggest being her 1977 version of Merle Haggard's country hit "If You're Not Back in Love By Monday". That hit single was followed by many more, including her version of the Boney M. song, the disco single, "Never Change Lovers in the Middle of The Night." This single peaked at No. 33 on the Black Singles chart in 1979.
Jackson recorded an album in 1979 with Isaac Hayes called "Royal Rappin's" and the same year saw her release a double album, "Live And Uncensored", recorded in concert at Los Angeles venue, The Roxy and "Live and Outrageous" at Atlanta's Mr. V's Figure8. Jackson also formed and produced the group Facts of Life. They had a major hit in 1976 with "Sometimes" (#3 R&B, No. 31 Pop). Jackson found herself without a label when Spring closed down in 1984, but in 1986, she signed with Jive Records in a deal that produced four albums and resulted in further R&B Top Ten hits with "Hot! Wild! Unrestricted! Crazy Love" and "Love Is a Dangerous Game". She appeared on an Elton John track in 1985, "Act Of War", which was a Top 40 hit in the UK, but failed to chart in the USA. In 1991, she wrote, produced and starred in the successful touring play Young Man, Older Woman, based on her album of the same title for Jive. On November 24, 1994, Jackson appeared in the Thanksgiving episode Feast or Famine of Martin as Florine. In 2000, her voice featured in "Am I Wrong" by Etienne de Crécy, sampled from her performance in "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right".
Jackson may be most famous in the internet age for her album covers, which frequently appear on "worst ever" lists. E.S.P. (Extra Sexual Persuasion) features Jackson peering into a crystal ball that accentuates her cleavage; Back to the S t! depicts Jackson sitting on a toilet where it is implied she is defecating.
Jackson now runs her own record label, Weird Wreckuds. After a lengthy hiatus from recording, she released her 2001 album, Not For Church Folk, which marked a return to her "tell-it-like-it-is" lyrical style with an Urban contemporary sound. The album features the singles "Butt-A-Cize" (a dance song) and "Leave Me Alone" (a ballad). The album also features a collaboration with rapper Da Brat on the song "In My Life." Jackson had her own radio show in Dallas, Texas for 13 years. Broadcasting via remote from her home in Atlanta, Jackson worked in afternoon drive-time from 3–6 pm on KKDA 730 AM, until January 6, 2012.
In 2006, five of Jackson's best-selling albums – Millie Jackson (1972), It Hurts So Good (1973), Caught Up (1974), Still Caught Up (1975), and Feelin' Bitchy (1977) – were digitally remastered and released on CD with bonus tracks. All of Jackson's Spring Records-era albums are available from Ace Records in the UK. An Imitation of Love was re-issued on CD in 2013 by the Funkytowngrooves label in a remastered, expanded edition. Other albums released on the Jive and Ichiban labels remain out of print, though some of those songs appear on compilation CDs. On February 6, 2012, the documentary, Unsung – The Story of Mildred 'Millie' Jackson aired on the TV One network. Jackson performed at Washington, D.C.'s historic Howard Theatre on August 3, 2012, and at in New York on August 4, 2012. On June 6, 2015 Jackson was inducted into the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Jackson has two children: Keisha Jackson, also a singer (born in 1965) and son Jerroll Levert Jackson (born in 1976 or 1977). Jackson was married for a period of eight months to Victor Davis. Jackson is not related to the Jackson family of singers and musicians from Gary, Indiana.
|1973||It Hurts So Good||175||13||—|
|1974||I Got To Try It One Time||—||—||—|
|1975||Still Caught Up||112||27||—|
|1976||Free And in Love||—||17||—|
|1978||Get It Out'cha System||55||14||—||
|1979||A Moment's Pleasure||144||47||—|
|1979||Royal Rappin's (with Isaac Hayes)||80||17||—|
|1979||Live & Uncensored||94||22||81|
|1980||For Men Only||100||23||—|
|1980||I Had To Say It||137||25||—|
|1981||Just a Lil' Bit Country||201||43||—|
|1982||Live And Outrageous (Rated XXX)||113||11||—|
|1983||E.S.P. (Extra Sexual Persuasion)||—||40||59|
|1986||An Imitation of Love||119||16||—|
|1988||The Tide Is Turning||—||—||—|
|1989||Back to the S t!||—||79||—|
|1991||Young Man, Older Woman||—||—||—|
|1993||Young Man, Older Woman: Cast Album||—||—||—|
|1994||Rock N' Soul||—||—||—|
|1997||The Sequel, It Ain't Over||—||—||—|
|2001||Not for Church Folk!||—||—||—|
- "A Little Bit of Something"
- "A Child of God (It's Hard to Believe)" (US: #102)
- "Ask Me What You Want" (US: #27)
- "My Man, A Sweet Man" (US: #42), (US R&B: #7) (UK: #50)
- "Breakaway" (US: #110)
- "It Hurts So Good" (US: #24), (US R&B: #3)
- "I Miss You Baby"
- "How Do You Feel the Morning After" (US: #77)
- "I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love To You"
- "I Got to Try It One Time"
- "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" (US: #42)
- "Leftovers" (US: #87)
- "Loving Arms"
- "The Rap"
- "A House for Sale"
- "Bad Risk"
- "Feel Like Making Love"
- "There You Are"
- "I Can't Say Goodbye"
- "If You're Not Back in Love By Monday" (US: #43)
- "A Love of Your Own"
- "All The Way Lover" (US: #102)
- "Sweet Music Man" (US R&B #33)
- "Keep The Home Fire Burnin'" (US R&B #83)
- "Never Change Lovers In The Middle of The Night" (US R&B: #33)
- "We Got To Hit It Off" (US R&B #56)
- "A Moment's Pleasure" (US R&B #70)
- "Kiss You All Over"
- "Do You Wanna Make Love" feat. Isaac Hayes (US R&B #30)
- "This Is It (Part I) (US R&B #88)
- "You Never Cross My Mind"
- "I Can't Stop Loving You" (US R&B #62)
- "Anybody That Don't Like Millie Jackson"
- "I Had to Say It"
- "It's Gonna Take Some Time This Time"
- "Special Occasion" (US R&B #51)
- "I Feel Like Walkin' In The Rain" (UK: #55)
- "Sister in the System"
- "Hot! Wild! Unrestricted! Crazy Love" (US R&B #9) (UK: #99)
- "Act of War" feat. Elton John (UK: #32)
- "It's A Thang" (US R&B #79)
- "Love Is A Dangerous Game" (US R&B #6) (UK: #81)
- "An Imitation of Love" (US R&B #58)
- "Something You Can Feel" (US R&B #45)
- "You Knocked the Love (Right Outta My Heart)"
- "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"
- "Young Man, Older Woman"
- "Living With A Stranger"
- "Taking My Life Back"
- "Love Quake"
- "Check in the Mail"
- "Chocolate Brown Eyes"
- "Breaking Up Somebody's Home"
- "The Lies That We Live"
- "Did You Think I Wouldn't Cry"
- "Leave Me Alone"
- "Black Bitch Crazy"
|1971||"A Child of God"||102||22|
|1972||"Ask Me What You Want"||27||4|
|"My Man, a Sweet Man"||42||7||50|
|"I Miss You Baby"||95||22|
|"It Hurts So Good"||24||3|
|1974||"I Got To Try It One Time"||21|
|"How Do You Feel the Morning After"||77||11|
|"(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right"||42||flip|
|"I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love To You"||58|
|"There You Are"||flip|
|"Feel Like Making Love"||71|
|1977||"I Can't Say Goodbye"||40|
|"A Love of Your Own"||87|
|"If You're Not Back in Love By Monday"||43||5|
|1978||"All the Way Lover"||102||12|
|"Sweet Music Man"||33|
|"Keep the Home Fires Burnin'"||83|
|1979||"Never Change Lovers in the Middle of the Night"||33|
|"A Moment's Pleasure"||70|
|"We Got To Hit It Off"||56|
|"Do You Wanna Make Love" (with Isaac Hayes)||30|
|1980||"Didn't I Blow Your Mind"||49|
|"You Never Cross My Mind" (with Isaac Hayes)||78|
|"This Is It (Part One)"||88|
|1981||"I Can't Stop Loving You"||62|
|1983||"I Feel Like Walking in the Rain"||58||55|
|1985||"Act of War" (with Elton John)||32|
|1986||"Hot Wild Unrestricted Crazy Love"||9||99|
|1987||"Love Is a Dangerous Game"||6||81|
|"An Imitation of Love"||58|
|"It's a Thang"||79|
|"Be Yourself" (with Whodini)||20|
|1988||"Something You Can Feel"||45|
- Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues – A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 277. ISBN 978-0313344237.
- Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate (January 10, 2013). "An A-Z of Baby Names". OUP Oxford – via Google Books.
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- Wyckoff, Geraldine. "Millie Jackson: The Mother of Hip-Hop". OffBeat Magazine. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
- "Millie Jackson – Samples, Covers and Remixes". WhoSampled. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
- Tribune, Aaron Cohen, Special to the. "Little out of bounds in Millie Jackson's world". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
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- "MILLIE JACKSON | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
- "Russ Winstanley and Wigan Casino memories". BBC Sheffield. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- Nowell, David (1999). Too Darn Soulful – The Story of Northern Soul. London: Robson Books. p. 151. ISBN 1-86105-270-7.
- "100 Worst Album Covers EVER". Rate Your Music.com.
- Holmes, Chris (April 30, 2012). "Music from the Worst Album Covers – Millie Jackson, Back to the S__t!". The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Company, Johnson Publishing (February 12, 1990). "Jet" – via Google Books.
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- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 276. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.