Randy Jackson Biography

Home > Music > J > Jackson, Randy > Biography

Birth Name: Randall Darius Jackson
Born: 1956/06/23
Birth Place: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US
Years Active: 1983–present
Genres: Rock, Pop, R&B, Jazz, Fusion

Randy Jackson (born Randall Darius Jackson, June 23, 1956) is an American bassist, singer, record producer, entrepreneur and television personality from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is best known as a judge on “American Idol” and executive producer for MTV's “America's Best Dance Crew.”

Jackson’s career includes playing in bands with Carlos Santana and Jerry Garcia, contributing work on three albums for Jean-Luc Ponty, playing with rock band Taxxi, and in the late 1980s worked as a session musician for the rock group Journey. Jackson played on Journey's 1986 album “Raised on Radio.” He moved to Italy in the late 1980s and played on a record by Italian pop star Zucchero. The record, “Zucchero and the Randy Jackson Band,” was produced by Corrado Rustici who played guitar with Jackson on many albums in the early 1980s. In 1985, Keith Richards was asked to provide music for the film, “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” Richards then set to work assembling a band which included Aretha Franklin on piano and lead vocals, and Jackson on bass guitar.

In the late 1980s, Jackson was still doing sessions. He was notably on the first solo album by famed session guitarist Steve Lukather. Jackson was a featured bass guitarist on five songs on Maze's 1989 “Silky Soul” album. He also performed on several of Kenny G's albums.

Jackson was the bass guitarist on the 1991 self-titled Divinyls album, which featured the hit song “I Touch Myself,” as well as the featured bassist on several tracks of Tracy Chapman's 1992 release, “Matters of the Heart.” That same year, Jackson also played bass on Bruce Springsteen's hit “Human Touch.”

Jackson has recorded, produced, and toured with many established artists over the years, including Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, Blue Öyster Cult, Jon Bon Jovi, Céline Dion, Fergie and Madonna. Jackson's production and songwriting work in the San Francisco Bay Area with Narada Michael Walden and Walter Afanasieff led to Jackson being in demand as a producer.

In 2008, Jackson released his debut solo album, “Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1.” The album's release was preceded by the single, “Dance Like There's No Tomorrow,” sung by Paula Abdul. 2010 saw Jackson participate in "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" as part of the chorus.

Jackson is also the manager for the Charlotte-based band, Paper Tongues, who are signed to A&M/Octone Records. He has also worked as an A&R rep at Columbia Records for eight years and four years at MCA Records in the same role.

In 2002, Jackson became one of the judges on the Fox Network reality television series “American Idol,” along with Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. As a result of Cowell's resignation, and various line-up changes of the judges Jackson is left as the sole original judge on American Idol.