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February 27, 2020 2:35 pm  #1

"Which Way You Goin' Billy?" Was Originally Written For A Man

The Poppy Family was a creation of the Canadian content rules for radio and TV in the Great White North, but they did turn out some terrific hits both there and in the States, led by Terry & Susan Jacks. Their first effort, "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" launched their careers.

But as Susan Jacks reveals in a Goldmine interview, that wasn't the way the song was originally written. I love finding out this kind of obscure trivia about songs I liked as a kid, especially if it's years later.  

"You know, originally the song was called “Which Way You Goin’ Buddy?” Terry had written if for a guy to sing. Mike Campbell, who used to be on “Music Hop” with me, which was the Canadian national TV show that I was on since I was fifteen, ended up singing it....

"It was relatively early in our marriage and I didn’t want to hurt Terry’s feelings, but the song was about a guy asking another guy which way he was going and if he could go too, and I thought, what a wimp! I loved the melody. I thought it was awesome, and I suggested that he write it for a woman."

The Poppy Family interview with Susan Jacks

Last edited by aflem (February 27, 2020 2:42 pm)


February 27, 2020 3:05 pm  #2

Re: "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" Was Originally Written For A Man

Thanks very much for posting this, aflem. I've always had a high opinion of Susan Jacks, both as a singer and as a person. I'm connected with her on Facebook and she's great about responding to fans there (including myself). But re the issue of Canadian content, the Poppy Family had actually established themselves as hitmakers before the rules came into effect in 1971 ... particularly with Which Way You Goin' Billy (#1 Canada, #2 US) and That's Where I Went Wrong (#9 Canada, #29 US). However, they did have four hits in 1971-72 that made the top 30 here but didn't chart above #45 in the US, so in their last two years it is fair to say that they benefited from our Canadian content regulations. 


February 27, 2020 7:56 pm  #3

Re: "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" Was Originally Written For A Man

What a great song.  I'm sure we would all have loved the Buddy version, because we wouldn't have known any different, but knowing what I know now, I agree with Susan's choice.


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