Susan Jacks, a Canadian singer known for her 1969 hit with the Poppy Family, “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?”, one of Canada’s best-selling records to date, died on April 25 in Surrey, British Columbia. . She was 73.
Her brother Rick Pesklevits said in a Facebook post on behalf of the family that the cause was kidney disease. He said she died in a hospital and was on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, which would have been her second.
As a teenager, Mrs. Jacks was a regular on the Canadian show “Music Hop”, when in 1966 she needed an accompanist for a show at an Elks Club and turned to Terry Jacks, who had played guitar on the show. Soon they were married, formed the Poppy Family and cut “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?”, a song that Mr Jacks, who wrote it, said was inspired by the scene of young men going in Vietnam. fight.
“Which way are you going, Billy?” sang Mrs Jacks. “Can I go too? Which way are you going, Billy? Can I go with you?”
The song became #1 in Canada and #2 in the United States shortly after.
The Poppy Family and the Jackses’ marriage dissolved after a few years, and later there were dueling tales of ‘Billy’. The song was originally intended to be ‘Which Way You Goin’, Buddy?’, but Ms. Jacks said she suggested that Mr. Jacks use the first name of one of her brothers instead. However, Jacks said in interviews that he took “Billy” from a song by a group he admired, the Beau-Marks, called “Billy, Billy Went a Walking.”
What is indisputable is that Mrs. Jacks’ brother Billy played a unique role for her: He donated the organ for her first kidney transplant, in 2010, an operation that gave her a new lease of life.
“I had red cheeks for the first time in many years,” she told The Vancouver Sun a year after surgery, when she gave a fundraising concert in Coquitlam, British Columbia, for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Awareness about kidney disease and donations had become a reason for her.
“I knew nothing about kidney failure” until she suffered from it herself, she said. “I knew nothing about transplants. I was so uneducated about how important it is and how much it means to people.”
Susan Elizabeth Pesklevits was born on August 19, 1948 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Janette and Dick Pesklevits. She started singing as a child and performed with school bands. She said her mother saw an audition announcement for “Music Hop,” and by 1964 she was a regular there. She also toured with a stage version of the show.
“Sue, as she is affectionately known by members of the group, can swing to a hip tune as well as sing to sentimental ballads such as ‘Summertime,'” wrote British Columbia’s Nanaimo Daily News of a performance of the “Music Hop” road. troupe in 1966.
The Poppy Family had a few other minor hits before breaking up. ms. Jacks released a few solo albums, including “Ghosts” (1980). In 1983 she moved to Nashville with her second husband, Ted Dushinski, where she worked as a songwriter and ran a pirogi restaurant for a while. She moved back to Vancouver in 2004.
mr. Dushinski died of cancer in 2005, around the same time that Ms. Jacks learned that her kidneys were failing.
Mrs. Jacks leaves behind a son from her second marriage, Thad Dushinski, and six siblings, Rick, Gerry, Wayne, Bill, Cathy and Jim.