The Poppy Family  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Poppy Family was a late 1960s-early 1970s Canadian pop musical group based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"In the late summer of 1969 the Canadian record buying public chose to endorse The Poppy Family by establishing `Which Way You Goin' Billy?' as the biggest Canadian hit ever. `Billy' successfully climbed to the No.1 spot on all radio stations across Canada. Having watched The Poppy Family from Vancouver, British Columbia, evolve as a recording group has been a satisfying and rewarding experience. The constant creative growth, both musically and lyrically, within the group is evident in the album `Which way you goin' Billy?'. The versatility of the group, from Terry Jacks' meaningfull writing, to his wife Susan's beautiful and emotion packed voice allow them to explore avenues of musical expression hitherto uncharted. All the while The Poppy Family retain their own sound so unique to themselves". (Fraser Jamieson, President London Records, Canada - Nov 17th 1969).

Managed and produced by Terry Jacks (vocals/guitar), with featured vocalist Susan Jacks (tambourine/bean pod) and musicians Craig McCaw (guitar/sitar) and Satwant Singh (tablas/drums), the group recorded two albums, from which came their best known song "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" (No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard charts) and their other charted hits "That's Where I Went Wrong" (1970), 'Where Evil Grows' (1971) and `Good Friends?' all written by Terry. In the U.S., "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" and "That's Where I Went Wrong" were both top ten Adult Contemporary chart hits as well.

At their career peak, Terry and Susan performed "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" on Bobby Darin's 1970 television variety special, The Darin Invasion. The special also featured a young Linda Ronstadt performing her first solo hit, "Long Long Time". They also appeared on numerous other variety shows including "Rollin' On The River" with Kenny Rogers, the "Bobby Vinton Show" and "The George Kirby Special".

The "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" single earned the group a combined total of four 1970 Gold Leaf (Juno) Awards for best performance, best production, most popular song and most sales for a single. The Juno Award is Canada's equivalent of the Grammy Award. The single version of "Which Way You Goin' Billy" was a certified Gold 45 (for sales of more than 1 million US copies) and went on to sell a total of more than 3½ million worldwide.

The Poppy Family disbanded in 1973 when Terry and Susan ended their five and a half year marriage, the same year their solo albums both produced by Terry were released - Terry's Seasons in the Sun and Susan's I Thought of You Again. Terry scored an international No. 1 hit with Jacques Brel's "Seasons in the Sun". which earned him four Juno awards - Male Vocalist of the year 1973 and 1974 and top selling single in 1973 and 1974. It still remains the best selling single ever released by a Canadian artist with sales of over 13 million worldwide. He was also charted in Canada and internationally with the singles `If you go away' (another Brel cover, previously a minor hit for Damita Jo), `Concrete Sea', `Christina', 'Rock'N Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)' (a bigger American hit by Mac Davis), and the Buddy Holly cover `I'm Gonna Love You Too'. Susan went on to release three more solo albums and had a series of Juno nominated hits in Canada including "Anna Marie", "All The Tea in China", and "Tall Dark Stranger" as well as other hits such as "I Thought of You Again" and "You Don't Know What Love Is". "You're a Part of Me" (later a Top 40 hit for Kim Carnes and Gene Cotton) was Susan's only chart hit in the U.S. and reached #90 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Poppy Family" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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