He is a singer-songwriter born Charles Jackson in Winston-Salem,
North Carolina, and raised for the most part by his grandmother.
He began to sing when he was about four years old and
had learned the piano by the time he was nine. He worked picking cotton when he was as young as eight
and sang at his local church where he became choir leader by the time he was
eleven. A local radio host
noticed his church singing and soon he was given a spot on his show, which
earned him a small but much needed extra income. This led to him deciding to perform more and he became a
member of the Ray Gospel Singers whom he toured the US with.
He was awarded a musical scholarship by the South
Carolina College but in the mid-1950s he left home to go and stay in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in 1957 became a member of the Del-Vikings.
He also briefly went by the name Charles Jackson and then Chuck Flamingo on
a Beltone release.
He was noticed when he sang with the Del-Vikings at
the Apollo Theater as an opener for Jackie Wilson and after being given advice
by him, and invited to open for him as a solo act the following week.
It was following one of those performances that the
Scepter/Wand record label snapped him up and in 1961 his first release, his
co-written “I Don’t Want to Cry”, immediately found him chart success. The following year his version of “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)”,
which was an early Burt Bacharach-Bob Hilliard song, became another chart
hit for him when it spent six weeks on the Billboard chart, reaching No. 23. Further hits came along that
include “I Keep Forgettin’” and “All Over the World”.
After being persuaded by Smokey Robinson, he moved
over to a Motown contract in 1967 and further success came his way with
songs such as “Honey Come Back” and “Are You Lonely For Me Baby”.
After changing from Motown to the All Platinum among
others, the hits became less, but he met up with the singer O.C. Smith and
they formed Carolina Records.
He later met up an went into collaboration with the composer
and producer Charles Wallert and his recording of their “How Long Have You
Been Loving Me” resulted in another song that remains popular today.
In the late 1990s Charles Wallert arranged the song “If
I Let Myself Go” into a duet and Chuck contacted his friend Dionne Warwick
o the two of them could record it together. It saw success on the Gavin Adult Contemporary Charts
when it reached No.19 in 1998.
He recorded another one of Charles Wallert’s songs, “What
Goes Around, Comes Around” and this became another Gavin Adult Contemporary
Chart entry, giving him a No. 13 hit.
During the course of his career he has released numerous
albums including 15 between 1962 and 1970 alone. They include titles such as I Don’t Want to Cry,
Encore!, Mr. Everything, Tribute to the King, Through All Times, After You and
Smooth, Smooth Jackson. He has also recorded an album of duets with
Cissy Houston called I’ll Take Care of You.
Recognised for his achievements in music, he was presented
the Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1992. He is now a board member.