70 weeks. That’s how long it took me to feature one of my favorite songs of all time in this column. How on earth did that happen? Short attention span and too much input I suppose. It’s time to make this particular oversight right.
This week I bring you one of the most beautiful soul ballads ever recorded. It’s Chuck Jackson’s immortal 1962 single “Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird)”. The song was written by Burt Bacharach who partnered with lyricist Bob Hilliard for this one. The record was released on Wand Records and reached #23 on the Billboard 100 chart. It remained in the top 40 for six weeks. It was the biggest hit of Chuck Jackson’s illustrious career.
Jackson was born in South Carolina and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1957 he joined that city’s Del-Vikings, one of rock and roll’s first interracial groups. He was with them until 1959 for a solo career. It was while he was performing as an opening act at the Apollo Theater that he was discovered by the headliner, Jackie Wilson.
Scepter Records signed Jackson, and he had his first big hit with “I Don’t Want To Cry” in 1961. The following year “Any Day Now” was released on Wand, a Scepter subsidiary, and Jackson’s future was assured. Later in the ’60s he bought his contract from Scepter and moved to Motown Records where he had more hits.
The hits dried up in the later part of the decade, but Jackson kept recording through the ’90s. His songs were hits for other people like Ronnie Milsap who hit #1 with a cover of “Any Day Now” in 1982, and Michael MacDonald who had a lot of success with “I Keep Forgettin’,” a Lieber-Stoller song that Jackson had a hit with in 1962.