Soul Singer, Songwriter George Jackson Dies of Cancer

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  • Songwriter George Jackson, co-author of “Old Time Rock and Roll” and hundreds of other soul, rock and R&B tunes, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 68.

    Jackson died Sunday morning at his home in Ridgeland, a suburb of Jackson, said Thomas Couch Sr., board chairman of Malaco Records. He had been sick with cancer for about a year.

    “It was not unexpected, but it’s always too soon,” Couch said.

    Born in Indianola, Miss., Jackson was writing songs by the time he was in his teens. It was Ike Turner who brought Jackson to New Orleans R&B pioneer Cosimo Matassa’s studio in 1963, where he recorded his first song.

    Jackson recorded dozens of singles in the 1960s and worked in Memphis, Tenn., but made his mark as a writer, beginning with FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala. He later was a songwriter for crosstown rival Muscle Shoals Sound Studios before returning to Memphis. When Malaco bought Muscle Shoals Sound, it hired Jackson to write songs, said Wolf Stephenson, Malaco’s vice president and chief engineer.

    “George had hooks coming out of his ears,” Stephenson said. “They weren’t all hits, but I never heard him write a bad song. He never really got the recognition that’s normally due a writer of his stature.”

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