Susan Jacks, who sang 'Which Way You Goin' Billy?,' dies at 73

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Sunday, May 19, 2024

Susan Jacks, who sang 'Which Way You Goin' Billy?,' dies at 73
Released in 1969, the song, by her group the Poppy Family, was one of the biggest hits to come out of Canada to that point.

by Neil Genzlinger

NEW YORK, NY.- Susan Jacks, a Canadian vocalist known for her 1969 hit with the Poppy Family, “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” one of the top-selling records Canada had produced to that point, died 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 at a hospital and had been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, which would have been her second.

As a teenager, 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 married, formed the Poppy Family and cut “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” Terry Jacks, who wrote the song, said it was inspired by the spectacle of young men going off to fight in Vietnam.

“Which way you goin’, Billy?” Susan Jacks sang. “Can I go too? Which way you goin’, Billy? Can I go with you?”

The song hit No. 1 in Canada and, soon after, No. 2 in the United States.

The Poppy Family and the Jackses’ marriage dissolved after a few years, and later there were dueling stories about “Billy.” The song was originally envisioned as “Which Way You Goin’, Buddy?” but Jacks said she suggested that her husband instead use the first name of one of her brothers. Terry Jacks, though, 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 Susan 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 on life.

“I had rosy cheeks for the first time in many years,” she told The Vancouver Sun a year after the surgery, when she was giving a fundraising concert in Coquitlam, British Columbia, for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Raising awareness about kidney disease and generating donations had become a cause for her.

“I knew nothing about kidney failure,” she said, until she was affected herself. “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 Aug. 19, 1948, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to Janette and Dick Pesklevits. She began singing as a child, performing with school bands. She said her mother saw an audition notice for “Music Hop,” and by 1964 she was a regular on it. She toured with a stage version of the show as well.

“Sue, as she is fondly called by members of the group, can swing with a hip tune as well as croon with sentimental ballads such as ‘Summertime,’” The Nanaimo Daily News of British Columbia wrote of a performance by the “Music Hop” road troupe in 1966.

The Poppy Family had a few other minor hits before breaking up. Susan Jacks released a few solo albums, including “Ghosts” (1980). In 1983 she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, with her second husband, Ted Dushinski, working as a songwriter and running a pierogi restaurant for a time. She moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2004.

Dushinski died of cancer in 2005, about the same time that Jacks learned that her kidneys were failing.

Jacks is survived by a son from her second marriage, Thad Dushinski, and six siblings, Rick, Gerry, Wayne, Bill, Cathy and Jim.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Today's News

May 11, 2022

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers to offer 'Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art' sale

Eli Wilner & Company restores the period frame on W.F.K. Travers' portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Five museums shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2022

A violin from Hollywood's golden age aims at an auction record

Smithsonian American Art Museum acquires more than 200 artworks for its craft collection

When a Warhol for $225 has more heft than one for $195 million

Madonna and Beeple collaborate on NFT project

At 85, the jazz bassist Ron Carter still seeks 'a better order of notes'

Exhibition of new and recent works by Brazilian artist Lucas Arruda on view at David Zwirner

Leader of Pussy Riot band escapes Russia, with help from friends

Record breaking Procter discovery leads Modern Made sale

Erica Wall named Director of the Lunder Institute for American Art at the Colby College Museum of Art

Brodie Neill presents new sustainable furniture at Sotheby's London

Sotheby's auction to support families impacted by the crisis in Ukraine

Enchanting exhibit featuring talented young artists' creations sparkles in the Garment District

There were Tony snubs and surprises, as always

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art announces Jessica Clark as third Yalingwa Curator

Almine Rech now represents Mehdi Ghadyanloo

Neue Auctions announces results of Fine Interiors, Art & Antiques auction

Omega watch once given to Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins takes off at Heritage Auctions

Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation appoint Holly Harrison as Director

Marius Bercea's first solo exhibition in New York opens at François Ghebaly

Susan Jacks, who sang 'Which Way You Goin' Billy?,' dies at 73

LAMINAproject will present compelling new work by Amie Esslinger, Michal Gavish, and Jody Rasch at VOLTA New York

How to Build a Brick Wall: A Simple Guide

Checklist to go through when listing your home on the MLS

How to Enhance Your Experience in Cigar Smoking

Importance of Good Lighting in a Modern Bedroom

Everything You Need To Know About Packaging Designer

The Construction Industry is Safer and Better Than Ever Before, But Why

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit
Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful