Deon Jackson

Band members                              Related acts

- Deon Jackson (RIP 2014) -- vocals



- none



Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Love Makes the World Go Round

Company: Carla/ATCO

Catalog: 33-188

Year: 1966

Grade (cover/record): VG+/ VG+

Comments: mono pressing; actual LP has "Carla Records Series ATCO" on front cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4178

Price: $50.00

Cost: $1.00


Alright, outside of soul fanatics, how many of you remember Deon Jackson?  Bet there aren't many of you ...


Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan Jackson became interested in music while in grade school (he became proficient on both clarinet and drums).  By the time he was a teenager he'd formed a vocal group with high school friends. The group began playing high school dances, parties and local talent contests, with Jackson writing much of their material. Jackson's big break came when producer Ollie McLaughlin heard him singing at a high school concert.  McLaughlin quickly signed Jackson to a management contract, getting Atlantic to sign him where he recorded a couple of tracks, including two obscure singles:

- 1963's 'Hush Little Baby' b/w 'You Said You Love Me' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2213)

- 1964's 'Come Back Home' b/w 'Nursery Rhymes' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2252)


While the 45 sold well in Detroit, Jackson was quickly dropped from Atlantic's recording roster.  Over the next two years Jackson continued to write material, while becoming a fixture of the Detroit club circuit.  In early 1965 McLaughlin decided to record one of Jackson's new compositions.  Unable to find a national label to release the track, McLaughlin decided to issue it under his own Carla label.  'Love Makes the World Go Round' b/w 'You Said You Loved Me' Carla catalog number 45-2526) became a gigantic Detroit hit, leading Atlantic's ATCO subsidiary to acquire national distribution rights; subsequently enjoying a top-20 pop and R&B hit with the song. 


As was standard mid-1960's marketing procedure, Carla/ATCO rushed the 20 year old Jackson into the studio to record a supporting album.  What made 1966's "Love Makes The World Go Round" interesting was the fact it was surprisingly strong and consistent.  In addition to repackaging his first two  Atlantic singles, unlike most supporting LPs, producer McLaughlin seems to have devoted considerable time and care into producing the effort.  The track lineup included several first rate numbers; notably four Jackson originals - quite a rare accomplishment for a new and still young artist.  In fact, probably the biggest weakness were a couple of  throwaway covers - Roger Miller's 'King of the Road' and a rote cover of Len Barry's 'I-2-3'.  So what did the collection actually sound like?  First off, Jackson had what could best be described as a light airy voice that occasionally recalled Smokey Robinson (check out the middle part of 'Love Is What You Make It' particularly where he shifted into a falsetto).  Most of the album featured soul material that had a distinctive pop orientation - tracks such as 'No Not Much', 'Love Is What You Make It', and 'S.O.S.' may have been a little lightweight (though the latter had more of a Motown flavor that most of the album), but well suited for top-40 radio play.  Interesting tidbit, the hit title track was apparently inspired by the civil rights riots that tore Detroit apart.  All told a nice set of largely forgotten mid-1960s soul ...

"Love Makes the World Go Round" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Love Makes the World Go Round   (Dean Jackson) - 2:27
   rating: **** stars

The best Smokey Robinson and the Miracles song they never recorded ...   I'm only half joking since about half the world seems to think 'Love Makes the World Go Round' was a Robinson tune.  I can't deny Jackson sounded quite a bit like Robinson on this one.   Nevertheless, this was Jackson's claim to fame, and what a claim it was.  Simply one of the best "feel good" soul songs out there and his biggest hit:

- 1965's 'Love Makes the World Go Round' b/w 'You Said You Loved Me' (Carla catalog number 45-2526) #11 pop; # 3 R&B

2.) 1-2-3   (John Madara - David White - Leonard Borisoff) - 2:01   rating: *** stars

It didn't stray far from the Len Barry hit, but I've always loved the punchy opening horns ...  Nah, you weren't going to forget the Barry hit version, but it was a nice enough version.

3.) Love Is What You Make It   (Van McCoy) - 2:12    rating: *** stars

An early Van McCoy composition, 'Love Is What You Make It' was a bit too MOR-ish for my ears. Plus Jackson sounded like he was trying a little too hard.   Another tune where he sounded like Robinson - check out where he glides into his falsetto.

4.) No Not Much   (Robert Allen - Al Stillman) - 2:24   rating: **** stars

Swingin' and highly commercial soul number with some killer drumming.    Should have been a single.

5.) You Said You Love Me   (Deon Jackson) - 2:37   rating: **** stars

With a slinky and engaging cha-cha rhythm, the Jackson original 'You Said You Love Me' was one of the album highlights.  It also served to show how good Jackson's voice was when he toughed it up.  The song had previously been tapped as the 'B' side to his 1963 debut 45 'Hush Little Baby'.

6.) S.O.S.   (A. Hamilton - R. Morris - C. Hatcher) - 2:02   rating: *** stars

I'd argue Edwin Starr cut the classic version of this one.  Jackson's arrangement wasn't all that different, but Starr simply had a tougher voice.  Jackson's version wasn't a bad also-ran.  Loved the S.O.S. pattern the keyboard plays.  Always wondered why the song wasn't listed by its original 'Stop Her On Sight' title ...


(side 2)
1.) Love Takes a Long Time Growing   (Helen Nelson - Roger Atkins) - 2:30
   rating: **** stars

The album's second single, 'Love Takes a Long Time Growing' was saved from oblivion by a killer refrain.  Another song that bore more than a passing resemblance to Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.






- 1966's 'Love Takes a Long Time Growing' b/w 'Hush Little Baby' (Carla/ATCO catalog number 45-2527) # 77 pop





2.) Nursery Rhymes   (Deon Jackson) - 2:14    rating: *** stars

Another Jackson original, 'Nursery Rhymes' had kind of a throwaway tune with a jazzy, bossa nova flavor.  It was one of those songs that didn't make much of initial impression on me, but with some funky horns and one of Jackson's most soulful vocals, grew on you.   The tune had previously seen the light of day as the 1964 flip side of his second single for Atlantic.

3.) King of the Road   (Roger Miller) - 2:36    rating: ** stars

Completely and complete forgettable ...

4.) I'm Telling You   (Shannon McMahan) - 2:21    rating: *** stars

To my ears 'I'm Telling You' sounded kind of old fashioned.  Liked the bouncy horns though ...

5.) Hush Little Baby   (Deon Jackson) - 2:41   rating: **** stars

As mentioned, 'Hush Little Baby' had previously served as Jackson's debut single.  Musically it was a sweet, Smokey-styled ballad that deserved to have enjoyed more success than it got.  Nice introduction to Jackson's cool voice - the way he shifted into a falsetto around the 1:30 mark was way cool.  

6.) Come Back Home   (Eddie Simpson) - 2:43   rating: **** stars

Jackson's second Atlantic 45, 'Come Back Home' was interesting to hear him employing a far deeper and tougher soul vocal delivery.   Hard to believe this was the same guy who had such an impressive  Smokey impression.  This blazing dance tune would have sounded right at home on The Animal House soundtrack.




Over the next six years Jackson released a couple of increasing obscure follow-on singles:

- 1966's ' That's What You Do To Me" b/w "I Can't Do without You" (Carla catalog number 45-2530)

- 1967's 'When Your Love Has Gone' b/w 'Hard To Get Thing Called Love' (Carla catalog number 45-2533)

- 1967's 'Ooh Baby' b/w 'All On a Sunny Day' (Carla catalog number 45-2537)  # 65 pop; # 28 R&B

- 1968's 'I Need a Love Like Yours' b/w 'I Can't Go On' (Carla catalog number 45-1900)

- 1969's 'You Gotta Love' b/w 'You'll Wake Up Wiser' (Carla catalog number 45-1903)

- 1972's 'I'll Always Love You' b/w 'Life Can Be That Way' (Shout catalog number S-254)


Having heard all of these 45 sides, there are plenty of highlights - 'Ooh Baby', 'I'll Always Love You', and 'Life Can Be That Way' -  more than enough to release a nice retrospective.   Anyone out there listening ?




Ah, the internet comes through again.  One of Jackson's friends chimed in with an interesting update on the artist:



Read your nice write up on Deon Jackson on GEMM this evening. Good job.

A few bits of info: Deon and I have been close friends since about 1976. He moved here (Chicago area) from Ann Arbor, MI in '72, and he'd been playing piano bar at a restaurant in my neighborhood for 4 years when I met him in '76 at a fine steak house /lounge in our NW suburbs. I became a loyal fan and have been ever since.  I had every one of his vinyl records at one time, but I gave them all to him and they were stolen. I kept the LP, which is nicely autographed... I'd love to hear that "rare" 1975 ABC release.  He never mentioned that one to me. I wonder if it's a reissue of an earlier tune.

He cut a few demo acetates in the late 70s, disco-style stuff that didn't fly. Since then, he's been doing studio stuff on and off, and was playing various lounges and gigs around the Chicago area, until about 15 years ago, I believe. I haven't kept in constant contact with him since the 90s, but have spoken with him a few times in the last month or so. I set up a live on-air interview between him and Dick Biondi here on our oldies station a few weeks ago.

He says he's been asked to participate in a PBS-style "oldies reunion show" in Britain next year, but I don't know if that's going to happen.


May, 2007


Wonder if he made it to that PBS reunion show ...  Sadly, only 68, Jackson suffered a fatal brain hemorrhage in April 2014.