Proudly Canadian: The Poppy Family

The Poppy Family.jpg

Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Source: Wikipedia

The Poppy Family were a successful Canadian pop music group, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. They were popular worldwide in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Eighteen year old Susan Pesklevits met Terry Jacks in the mid-1960s while she was a regular performer on the national teen TV show Music Hop as well as many other national TV shows. She later called Jacks to accompany her on rhythm guitar for one of her live performances and eventually, with the addition of Craig McCaw on lead guitar, although she continued to make solo television appearances, Susan decided to dedicate all her live performances to the newly formed trio. Craig McCaw later introduced Satwant Singh on tablas and they became The Poppy Family. The name was chosen when Susan, Terry and Craig were searching for a new name and came across it in the dictionary. Susan and Terry were married in 1967 and Susan Pesklevits became Susan Jacks.

With Susan Jacks on lead vocals, harmony vocals and percussion, Terry Jacks on rhythm guitar and occasional vocals, Craig McCaw on guitar/sitar and Satwant Singh on tablas/drums, the group recorded their first album, from which came their international hit "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" (#1 in Canada, #1 in Cashbox and #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100). The album also produced "That's Where I Went Wrong" (#9 in Canada, #20 in the US). "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" and "That's Where I Went Wrong" were both Top 10 Adult Contemporary chart hits as well.

Their second and last album Poppy Seeds was recorded with studio musicians after Terry Jacks released Craig and Satwant from the group. Although the Poppy Family name continued to be used, Terry's participation as a musician and singer was limited. Poppy Seeds contained their hits "Where Evil Grows" (#6 in Canada, #45 US), "Good Friends?" (#10 in Canada, "Bubbling Under" #105, and Adult Contemporary chart, US), "Tryin'" (#12 Country chart in Canada), "I Was Wondering" (#3 AC in Canada, US Top #100), "No Good To Cry" (#8 in Canada, US Top #100), and "I'll See You There" (#1 AC chart in Canada). "Where Evil Grows" and "Good Friends?" both also hit the US AC chart. The Poppy Family's first two Canadian releases were "Beyond the Clouds" (1968), "What Can The Matter Be?" (1969).

At their career peak, Susan and Terry performed "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" on Bobby Darin's successful 1970 television variety special, The Darin Invasion, which was filmed in Canada. They also appeared on other variety shows including Rollin' On The River with Kenny Rogers and The George Kirby Special. Although Susan enjoyed performing live, Terry did not want to tour and their career ultimately suffered.

The "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" single earned the group two 1970 Gold Leaf (Juno) Awards as well as two Moffatt Awards in 1970. The Juno Award is Canada's equivalent of the Grammy Award. The single version of "Which Way You Goin' Billy" went on to sell a total of more than 3½ million worldwide, and was awarded a million-selling Gold disc from the RIAA.The Poppy Family name was dropped in 1972 and Terry had been releasing singles under his own name since 1970, together they recorded their solo albums, Susan Jacks' I Thought of You Again and Terry Jacks' Seasons in the Sun’. Susan left the marriage in early 1973 before the albums were released.

Which Way You Going Billy? The Poppy Family