People & Places
A Brief History
Billy joined the Cameo Parkway label team in 1963 as a staff songwriter and producer. Along with arranger Roy Straigis, Jackson produced The Tymes' recordings for Parkway released during their 1963-1964 period with the label. Together they achieved great success – “So Much in Love,” written by Jackson, Straigis and Tymes lead singer George Williams, became a number one hit during the summer of 1963. Jackson co-wrote many of the songs recorded by The Tymes often collaborating with Roy Straigis as well as arranger Jimmy Wisner. Billy continued working with the group through the years and produced many of their recordings for Columbia and RCA including their early 1970s hits “You Little Trustmaker” and “Ms. Grace.”
Some of Jackson’s other highlights as producer and songwriter during his tenure with Cameo Parkway include “Groovy Baby” (written with Straigis) by Billy Abbott and the Jewels (1963), “Willyam, Willyam” (written with Wisner) by Dee Dee Sharp (1964) and The Swans’ 1964 novelty song “The Boy With the Beatle Hair” (in collaboration with Kenny Gamble, Joe Renzetti and Jerry Ross). “Don’t Throw Your Love Away” (another Billy Jackson-Jimmy Wisner team effort) which first appeared as a Cameo single B-side by The Orlons in 1963 was recorded by British pop group The Searchers in 1964. The Searchers single reached #1 in the UK and #16 in the U.S.
Another highlight of Jackson’s career came as producer of R&B vocalist Ronnie Dyson’s hits “(If You Let Me Make Love to You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You?” and “I Don’t Wanna Cry” for Columbia in 1970.
Extremely talented, Billy was my friend. We marched together with Dr. King three times and got to meet him and John Lewis. Billy, Dave White and I wrote several songs together through the label, Winchester Records, distributed by Cameo Parkway. We made two records, one with The Times, "This Time It's Love" and one with The Spokesmen called "Flash Back."