George Jackson, 'Old Time Rock & Roll' Writer, Dead at 68

Singer and songwriter had battled cancer for the past year

April 15, 2013 11:40 AM ET
George Jackson, 'In Memphis 1972-77'
George Jackson, 'In Memphis 1972-77'
Courtesy of Goldwax Records label

Singer-songwriter George Jackson, co-writer of the Bob Seger hit "Old Time Rock & Roll," died yesterday at his home in Ridgeland, Mississippi. He was 68. Jackson had battled cancer for about a year, Billboard reports.

Jackson was born in Indianola, Mississippi, where he began writing songs as a teen. Ike Turner would later bring Jackson to the studio of New Orleans R&B leader Cosimo Matassa in 1963, where he recorded his first song. Jackson was active in the Sixties, recording dozens of singles and working in Memphis, but he made his first breakthroughs with FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He also worked with local rival Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, but eventually returned to Memphis. Muscle Shoals Sound would be bought out by Malaco Records, and Jackson went to work as a songwriter for the label.

Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger Play 'Old Time Rock & Roll' in NYC

Some of Jackson's songs became big hits in the 1970s. The Osmonds recorded his track "One Bad Apple" in 1970, and the song hit the Number One spot on the Billboard charts. He later co-wrote "Old Time Rock & Roll" with Thomas Jones III, which Bob Seger recorded in 1978.

Other artists who recorded Jackson songs included Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Clarence Carter, and he wrote Z.Z. Hill's memorable hit "Down Home Blues." Though his vocal performances were mostly spread out through the years on singles and loose recordings, compilations have gathered those tracks together, including a 2011 reissue of his FAME recordings, Don't Count Me Out.

Funeral arrangements are still being planned.

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