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Deon Jackson

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Soul singer and songwriter Deon Jackson was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on January 26, 1946. He studied clarinet and drums as a child, and while in high school he formed his own vocal group, concurrently performing in area talent shows as a solo act and composing his own original material. While performing one of those songs at a high-school concert, Jackson was discovered by producer Ollie McLaughlin, who'd previously launched the career of soul diva Barbara Lewis; McLaughlin soon produced Jackson's debut single, 1962's self-penned "You Said You Love Me." The record was a Detroit-area hit, as was its follow-up, "Come Back Home," but neither earned any national recognition. Jackson spent the next two years relentlessly touring the Southeast Michigan school dance and nightclub circuit, resurfacing on record in 1965 with the smooth soul classic "Love Makes the World Go Round" — issued on McLaughlin's nascent Carla label; the single was popularized locally by CKLW personality Robin Seymour and became a nationwide smash, falling just shy of the pop Top Ten. An LP of the same name was issued on Atco in 1966, and that spring Jackson returned with a minor hit, 1966's "Love Takes a Long Time Growing." Two more Carla singles, "I Can't Do Without You" and "Hard-to-Get Thing Called Love," closed out the year, and in late 1967 Jackson resurfaced with the gorgeous floater "Ooh Baby," a longtime favorite among Northern soul aficionados. After two final Carla efforts — the 1968 singles "I Can't Go On" and "You Gotta Love" — Jackson landed at Shout for the following year's "I'll Always Love You." Rumors of post-1960s sessions remained unconfirmed, and in the years to follow, Jackson largely made his living touring the Chicago cocktail lounge circuit, later becoming a teacher and counselor in the school district of Wheaton, Illinois. Deon Jackson died on April 19, 2014 at the age of 68. Although as a singer/songwriter he never fulfilled the enormous creative and commercial promise of his mid-'60s material, his peak output remains much adored by aficionados of classic soul.

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26 gennaio 1946, Ann Arbor, MI

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