Sass Jordan

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Sass Jordan
Sass Jordan at Luminato 2010.jpg
Jordan performing live in 2010
Background information
Born (1960-12-23) 23 December 1960 (age 58)[1]
Birmingham, England
OriginMontreal, Quebec, Canada
Occupation(s)Singer, actress, television personality
InstrumentsVocals, bass
Years active1982–present
LabelsAquarius Records, MapleMusic Recordings, Impact Records[2]

Sarah Jordan (born 23 December 1960), known professionally as Sass Jordan, is a British-born Canadian rock singer from Montreal, Quebec.[4]

Early life[edit]

Sass Jordan on her musical influences
My biggest influences were males. I never really liked female rock singers. I really like bluesy type stuff. My favorite female vocalists are people like Bonnie Raitt and of course all of the black singers like Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin, but that's a whole other genre and if I could have sung like that, you would never have caught me dead doing this. The male singers who were my biggest influences were people like Steven Tyler, Robert Palmer and Paul Rodgers. These guys have such command of rhythm and it is rhythm that makes a great singer, just like it is rhythm makes a great guitar player or a great bass player or a great drummer. It is astounding how underrecognized that is. It is all about rhythm, freezing rhythm and timing. Obviously pitch and the ability to turn a phrase that matters too, but it is rhythm. You can find that artificially in this day and age with technology like beat detective and with the recording technique, so you can move the track over slightly, so it melds in the pocket, mathematically, but a true singer does it naturally. We didn't have that technology when I started out or when any of the guys that were my biggest influences Lou Graham, Robin Zander, Rod Stewart and Lowell George, the slide guitar player from Little Feat started out.[5]

The daughter of French-born literary professor Albert Jordan and his English-born wife Jean Lanceman (a former ballerina), Sass Jordan at three months of age moved with her family from her native Birmingham to France, then at age three moved with her family to Westmount on the Island of Montreal, her father being a professor at Concordia University.[6]

Jordan, who was first inspired to pursue a musical career by hearing The Band's 1969 track "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" on the radio, has cited as among her primary musical influences Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, Tears For Fears, Anthrax and American soul singer Al Green.[7]

In her early teens, Jordan would regularly sing and play guitar with a group of friends in Westmount Park[8] and, leaving her parental home at age 14 around the time of her parents' marital split, was by the age of 16 performing in bands which played clubs in downtown Montreal, eventually playing as vocalist/bassist for high-profile local band The Pinups.[9]

In 1986, Jordan made her recording debut on the Bündock album Mauve as co-lead vocalist on the track "Come On (Baby Tonight)", which also evidently marked the change of her professional name from Sass Turner to Sass Jordan. Working as a session vocalist for other Montreal-based acts, notably for The Box[4] on their 1987 album Closer Together, Jordan also had local acts record songs she'd written: Michael Breen recorded two songs he'd written with Jordan – including the Canadian hit single "Rain" – for his 1987 self-titled album.[10]

Career peak[edit]

Jordan's debut album, Tell Somebody, was released in 1988 on Atlantic Records, generating the Canadian chart hit singles "Tell Somebody", "Double Trouble", "Stranger Than Paradise", and "So Hard". During the 1988–89 chart run of "So Hard", Jordan was also represented on the Canadian chart with her remake of the 1965 R&B classic "Rescue Me", which had been recorded for the soundtrack of the film American Boyfriends.[4]

Although the US release of the Tell Somebody album on Atlantic Records was overlooked, Jordan would eventually record two albums in Los Angeles for MCA Records. The first, Racine (1992), would be Jordan's biggest-seller with global sales estimated at 450,000 units – 100,000 of them in Canada,[11] and yielded Jordan further Canadian hits with "Make You a Believer",[12] "I Want to Believe", "You Don't Have to Remind Me" and "Goin’ Back Again", which first two tracks also ranked in the Mainstream Rock chart in Billboard magazine.[4]

Also in 1992, Jordan recorded the duet "Trust in Me" with Joe Cocker for the motion picture The Bodyguard, whose star Kevin Costner happened to hear Jordan on his car radio: (Sass Jordan quote:) "next thing I know I’m in the studio singing my part” (Jordan added her vocal to a track on which Cocker had already sung his part: the two singers would not actually meet for a few years). The soundtrack album for The Bodyguard would sell in excess of 27 million units worldwide.[11]

Her 1994 album release Rats (1994) has been cited by Jordan as her favorite album and yielded her Billboard Hot 100 debut via the single "Sun's Gonna Rise". However, Rats failed to build on the momentum of Racine, with Jordan subsequently dropped from the MCA roster.[4] Jordan recorded again for Aquarius Records, acquiescing to the label's request for a more mainstream sound for the albums Present (1997) and Hot Gossip (2000), neither of which received significant attention – (Jordan quote:) "Those are probably my least favourite records......I think there’s some great songs, I just don’t like the production at all.” [13]

Latterday career[edit]

Sass Jordan quoted in the Hamilton Spectator 27 June 2007
If you love music and you've been around as long as I have, you pretty much do what you got to do. [I don't] make records to sell anymore. Nobody bloody buys them. I am in the indescribably enviable position of being able to make records here and there if I feel like it. It certainly isn't going to be a living. But I love music. I am a huge, gigantic fan.[14]

Jordan played the lead role of Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway hit Love, Janis in 2001,[4] guest starred on Sisters and Corner Gas, and performed in the Toronto and Winnipeg productions of The Vagina Monologues.[4]

In 2003, Jordan served as a judge on the inaugural season of Canadian Idol and remained until 2008 throughout the series' run.[4] Her Idol gig encouraged Jordan to return to recording in 2006, with the album release Get What You Give recorded at the Nashville studio of Colin Linden, who served as producer.[14] In 2008, her husband Derek Sharp produced the sessions for Jordan's 2009 album release From Dusk 'til Dawn.[11]

In 2011, Jordan recorded the studio project album S.U.N. Something Unto Nothing, which also featured Brian Tichy and Michael Devin of Whitesnake, and also Tommy Stewart.[15] In 2017 – 25 years after the released of her Racine album – Jordan recorded Racine Revisited featuring remakes of all the tracks on her original 1992 album: (Jordan quote:): "we push [the sound] back [to] the Misty Mountain Hop days of the 1970s and make it as if we were actually recording in the 1970s. We would all live together in the studio and record live off the floor [without] Autotune or click track or anything like that".[16] Jordan has announced plans to record a new album for 2018 release.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Jordan is married to musician Derek Sharp, the current lead singer of The Guess Who, with whom she has a daughter named Stella.[14]


Jordan was the recipient of the Juno award for Most Promising Female Vocalist of the Year in 1989, and was nominated for Best Female Vocalist in 1990, 1993, and 1995.[17]

In 2012, Jordan was appointed honorary colonel of 417 Combat Support Squadron,[18] an appointment she held until Glen Suitor's appointment in August 2016.[19][20]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
Tell Somebody
  • Release date: 31 March 1992
  • Label: MCA Records
  • Formats: CD
174 2
Rats 158 5
Hot Gossip
  • Release date: 12 December 2000
  • Label: Aquarius Records
  • Formats: CD
Get What You Give
From Dusk 'Til Dawn
  • Release date: 15 September 2009
  • Label: Kindling Music
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Title Chart Positions Album
1988 "Tell Somebody" 11 Tell Somebody
1989 "Double Trouble" 12
"Stranger Than Paradise" 36
"So Hard" 51
"Rescue Me" 44 American Boyfriends (soundtrack)
1992 "Make You a Believer" 12 11 Racine
"I Want to Believe" 16 20
"You Don't Have to Remind Me" 15 12
"Goin' Back Again" 14
1993 "Who Do You Think You Are" 37
1994 "High Road Easy" 9 6 Rats
"Sun's Gonna Rise" 7 86 36
"I'm Not" 47
1997 "Do What I Can" 20 6 Present
1998 "Desire" 12
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that country.


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 4 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Wayback Machine". 27 October 2009. Archived from the original on 27 October 2009.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Maclean, Steve. "Jordan, Sarah (Sass)". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  5. ^ ">Sass Jordan Racine Revisited Interview with Riveting Riffs Magazine and Joe Montague". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  6. ^ "INTERVIEW WITH SASS JORDAN". 2 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Sass Jordan Interview". Guitarhoo!. 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  8. ^ "Sass Jordan – The Queen of Canadian Rock – Montreal Times – Montreal's English Weekly Newspaper".
  9. ^ "Sass Jordan keeps the train rollin' [interview] – The Blues Alone?". 28 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Sassy singer finally a hit". Ottawa Citizen, 25 January 1989.
  11. ^ a b c "Renaissance rocker Sass Jordan comes to Peterborough". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  12. ^ "You oughta Juno: What happened to those artists voted most likely to succeed? Part 2 — 1986 – 1999". National Post, David Berry and Rebecca Tucker | 14 March 2015
  13. ^ "Sass Jordan Makes No Bones About Career". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "Sass Jordan Rewinds to Her Rock Roots". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Nothing Like the S-u-n Sass Jordan Discusses New Album". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Sass Jordan Takes Retro Approach to Racine Revisited; New Album Coming Next Year". ]. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  17. ^ Juno Artist Profiles – Sass Jordan, Retrieved from on 25 January 2016
  18. ^ Guly, Christopher (31 August 2012). "Sass Jordan made honorary colonel along with host of celebrities welcomed into the ranks of the Canadian Forces". National Post. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  19. ^ Ip, Célina (2 September 2015). "New batch of honorary colonels proud to represent squadrons". Cold Lake Sun. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Mr. Glen Suitor". Royal Canadian Air Force. Royal Canadian Air Force. Retrieved 17 December 2016.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Guess Who
Grey Cup Halftime Show
with Michel Pagliaro
Succeeded by
Shania Twain