She is a
singer-songwriter, comedienne and playwright born Mildred Jackson in Thomson, Georgia, into a family where her father was a
sharecropper. She lost her
mother when she was still only a child so she and her father went to Newark, New Jersey to live. She later moved in with her aunt in Brooklyn when she was a teenager.
In her early
years she became a part-time magazine model and when she was nineteen or twenty
in 1964 she entered a talent show in Harlem and won which has been reported as the
time that her career as a singer started. In 1965 her daughter Keisha was born, who is now a successful R&B artist
in her own right, and her son Jerroll was born
later in the 1970s.
In 1970 she
started recording with MGM Records but within a year she had moved to
Spring Records. The following
year she had her first chart hit when she reached No. 22 on the R&B
Chart with “A Child of God (It’s Hard to Believe)”.
In 1972 she
released her debut self-titled album and the single “Ask Me What You
Want” went into the R&B Top 10 and the Billboard Hot 100 at No.
27. Next up was the she went to
No. 7 with “My Man, A Sweet Man” in the R&B chart with “My
Man, A Sweet Man” which also reached No. 42 on the Billboard Top 100
and this song brought her attention in Britain where she went onto the UK
Singles chart at No. 50 and also became a hugely popular song with Northern
In 1973 she
achieved No. 3 on the R&B Chart and No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100
with “Hurt So Good”.
This would be the biggest chart hit of her career and appeared on her
album of the same name and the soundtrack for the movie Cleopatra Jones.
She released the
Album Got to Try It One Time in 1974 and also started to record at the
Muscle Shoals Studio in Alabama and just worked with the producer Brad Shapiro. Her Caught Up, which went to No. 4 on the R&B album chart and No.
21 on the Billboard album chart, was also released in 1974 and she was
given two Grammy Award nominations for her version of “(If Loving You
Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right” which has been a hit for
Luther Ingram in 1972. The
following year she released Still
mid-1970s she formed the group Facts of Life where she acted as their
producer. They had a hit song
with their release “Sometimes” and released two albums but split
up in 1978 after no further success.
She released a
further seven albums during the 1970s which were Free and In Love, Feeling Bitchy, Lovingly Yours, Get It Out’cha System, A Moment’s Pleasure, Royal Rappin’s and Live and Uncensored (which was her first UK album chart entry). She also had many singles which
entered the R&B and or US Billboard charts with just a few being “If
You’re Not Back in Love by Monday” which had been a hit for
Merle Haggard, “Sweet Music Man”, “Never Change Lovers in
the Middle of the Night” and “Do You Wanna
Make Love” which featured Isaac Hayes.
When the 1980s
came around she released a further six albums between 1980 and 1983 but in
1984 Spring Records shut down which entailed her signing up with Jive
Records in 1986. This led to
four more albums and the hit singles “Love is a Dangerous Game”
and “Hot! Wild! Unrestricted! Crazy Love”. In 1985 she also performed with
Elton John on the UK Top 40 hit “Act of War”.
The 1990s came
and she took her talents further when, based on her album Young Man, Older Woman, she wrote,
produced and performed in the play of the same name in 1991. She continued with her acting when
she appeared in an episode of the US sitcom Martin in 1994 and also released the album Rock N’ Soul that same year. In 1995 she released her It’s Over which was followed by
The Sequel, It Ain’t
Over in 1997. In the late
1990s she also began broadcasting her The Mille Jackson Show on KKDA 730 AM
which is based in Dallas,
Texas, which ran for 13 years until 2012.
In the new
millennium she was as busy as ever and a sample of her hit “(If
Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To be Right” was used by the
French DJ and producer Etienne de Crecy for his “Am
I Wrong” which reached No. 44 on the UK Singles chart in 2001. That same year she released her Not For Church Folk with the singles
“Leave Me Alone” and “Butt-A-Cize”
and the Weird Wreckuds label.
In 2012 Unsong – The Story of Mildred “Millie”
Jackson was a documentary about her that was broadcast on TV One. That same year she gave performances
and Washington D.C.
On February 6, 2012, the documentary, "Unsung -
The Story of Mildred "Millie" Jackson" aired on the TV One
She has often attracted criticism with her sometimes
controversial album covers, raunchy performances and fearless approach to
sex, but she has also been thought to have influenced other successful
female artists such as Roseanne and Bette Midler. Either way her successful career has
spanned over six decades to date with three gold records into the bargain.