To urban contemporary listeners, Freddie Jackson was one of the biggest stars of the latter half of the '80s, dominating the R&B charts seemingly at will. Jackson's forte was sophisticated, romantic soul ballads aimed at adult audiences, but he was also capable of tackling urban contemporary dance fare and even the occasional jazz tune. Yet unlike many of his peers -- Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Peabo Bryson, etc. -- Jackson never managed to cross over to the pop charts, where none of his R&B smashes even breached the Top Ten. As new trends like hip-hop altered the urban contemporary landscape, Jackson gradually faded from view during the '90s.
Jackson was born October 2, 1956, in Harlem, and like so many soul stars, he was trained as a gospel singer from an early age, singing at the White Rock Baptist Church. There he met Paul Laurence, who would later become his producer and songwriting partner. After completing school, Jackson joined Laurence's group LJE (Laurence-Jones Ensemble) and played the New York club scene. During the early '80s, Jackson moved to the West Coast and sang lead with the R&B band Mystic Merlin, but soon returned to New York to work with Laurence at the Hush Productions company. He sang on demo recordings of Laurence's compositions, and also served as a backup singer for Melba Moore after she caught his nightclub act.
In 1985, Jackson landed a record deal with Capitol and issued his debut album, Rock Me Tonight. The Laurence-penned title track stormed the R&B charts, spending a whopping six weeks at number one, and made Jackson an instant sensation on urban contemporary radio. "You Are My Lady" gave him a second straight R&B chart-topper, and also proved to be his highest-charting single on the pop side, peaking at number 13. With "He'll Never Love You (Like I Do)" and "Love Is Just a Touch Away" also hitting the R&B Top Ten, Rock Me Tonight topped the R&B album charts and went platinum. Jackson wasted no time issuing a follow-up set; Just Like the First Time appeared in 1986 on the heels of a number one R&B duet with Melba Moore, "A Little Bit More" (from her album A Lot of Love). Another platinum seller, Just Like the First Time continued Jackson's incredible dominance of the R&B singles charts; "Tasty Love," "Have You Ever Loved Somebody," and "Jam Tonight" all hit number one, while "I Don't Want to Lose Your Love" went to number two.
The pace of Jackson's success slowed to less superhuman levels with the 1988 release of Don't Let Love Slip Away, which nonetheless featured another R&B chart-topper in "Hey Lover," plus further hits in "Nice and Slow" and "Crazy (For Me)." The title track of 1990's Do Me Again duplicated that feat, and "Main Course" just missed, topping out at number two. Even so, Jackson's early placings in the lower reaches of the pop Top 40 had long since disappeared, and some critics charged that his albums were growing too similar to one another. Perhaps it was a lack of distinctiveness in his material that hurt Jackson's chances for a pop breakthrough; whatever the case, 1992's Time for Love failed to duplicate the crossover success Luther Vandross was belatedly enjoying, despite a hit cover of the soul classic "Me and Mrs. Jones."
Seeking a new beginning, Jackson parted ways with Capitol in late 1993, and signed with RCA. His label debut, Here It Is, appeared the following year, with diminished commercial returns -- in part because his straightforwardly romantic ballad style was increasingly out of step with the sexually explicit new breed of R&B crooner. Following a Christmas album, Jackson split with RCA and recorded Private Party for the much smaller Street Life imprint in 1995. Several years of silence ensued, until Orpheus issued Life After 30 in late 1999; the equally low-key release Live in Concert followed in 2000. Jackson continues to release records from time to time in a similarly low-key fashion, including an album's worth of soulful covers with 2005's Personal Reflections. Twice as Nice followed in 2006 from Orpheus Records.
1. He'll Never Love You (Like I Do) 2. Love Is Just a Touch Away 3. I Wanna Say I Love You 4. You Are My Lady 5. Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake) 6. Sing a Song of Love 7. Calling 8. Good Morning Heartache
01. Tasty Love 02. Have You Ever Loved Somebody 03. Look Around 04. Jam Tonight 05. Just Like the First Time 06. I Can't Let You Go 07. I Don't Want to Lose Your Love 08. Janay 09. Still Waiting 10. You Are My Love 11. A Little Bit More
01. Nice 'N' Slow 02. Hey Lover 03. Don't Let Love Slip Away 04. Crazy (For Me) 05. One Heart Too Many 06. If You Don't Know Me by Now 07. You and I Got a Thang 08. Special Lady 09. Yes, I Need You 10. It's Gonna Take a Long, Long Time
01. Don't It Feel Good 02. Love Me Down 03. Main Course 04. It Takes Two 05. I'll Be Waiting for You 06. Don't Say You Love Me 07. Do Me Again 08. Live for the Moment 09. Second Time for Love 10. I Can't Take It 11. All over You
1. I Could Use a Little Love (Right Now) 2. Time for Love Tonight 3. Chivalry 4. Trouble 5. Can I Touch You 6. All I'll Ever Ask 7. Will You Be There 8. Come With Me Tonight 9. Can We Try 10. Me and Mrs. Jones 11. Live My Life Without You
01. Private Party 02. Rub Up Against You 03. Love You All Over 04. (I Want To) Thank You 05. Your Lovin' (Is A Good Thang) 06. I Tried My Best 07. No One Else 08. Lay Your Love On Me 09. Teach Me 10. Once In A While
1. Do You Wanna 2. All She Really Wanted (One Night Stand) 3. Tell Me What You Like 4. Only Man in Heaven 5. Tiptoe (My Bedroom) 6. Something You Got (I Always Come Back) 7. Somebody Said 8. I Wanna Be Your Man 9. So Long Ago 10. What Is It Good For? 11. Do You Wanna
01. Rock Me Tonight 02. Me and Mrs. Jones 03. You Are My Lady 04. Tasty Love 05. Second Time for Love 06. Little Bit More 07. Don't It Feel Good 08. Sing a Song of Love 09. Calling 10. Look Around 11. Good Morning Heartache 12. I Could Use a Little Love (Right Now) 13. Just Like the First Time 14. Crazy (For Me) 15. Nice N Slow 16. Have You Ever Loved Somebody 17. If You Don't Know Me by Now 18. Do Me Again (Let Freddie Do You Edit)
1. Natural Thang 2. You Only Get (One Love) 3. How 'Bout Us? 4. It's on Tonight 5. Let Me Know 6. Say Yeah 7. Sealed With a Kiss 8. Over & Over 9. It's Your Move 10. Don't Give Up (On Our Love) 11. I Do 12. Stay 13. Natural Thang 14. One Love
01. I Go Crazy 02. Don't Know Why 03. Love Ballad 04. Back Together Again (Duet with Melisa Morgan) 05. I Wanna Get Next To You 06. Save The Best For Last 07. I'll Be Around 08. I Wanna Know Your Name 09. Do That To Me One More Time 10. One In A Million
01. Until the End of Time 02. Transitions 03. Hold on Me 04. How Can I 05. Can't Get My Flow 06. Stay and Talk to Me 07. More Than Friends 08. Superman 09. Tell Me About It 10. Heaven 11. What Cha'll Waiting For 12. Superstar/Wind Beneath My Wings
01. Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake) 02. Have You Ever Loved Somebody 03. I Do 04. Nice 'N' Slow 05. You Are My Lady 06. Jam Tonight 07. I Could Use A Little Love (Right Now) 08. Main Course 09. He'll Never Love You (Like I Do) 10. Love Me Down 11. Hey Lover 12. A Little Bit More 13. You And I Got A Thang 14. Do Me Again 15. Love Is Just A Touch Away 16. I Don't Want To Lose Your Love 17. All Over You 18. Tasty Love
01. Transitions 02. Tiptoe (My Bedroom) 03. Can't Get My Flow 04. Nice & Slow 05. Have You Ever Loved Somebody 06. Tasty Love 07. Until The End Of Time 08. Something You Got (I Always Come Back) 09. More Than Friends 10. Hold on Me 11. You Are My Lady 12. Rock Me Tonight