An American singer who was a leading light of Toronto's 1960s soul and R&B scene, Jackie Shane is remembered for her dynamic stage presence, which drew comparisons to Little Richard and James Brown and for her 1962 single "Any Other Way," which was a modest chart hit across Canada.
An early pioneer of Toronto's transgender and LGBTQ community, Shane's early days saw her presenting on-stage as a man dressed in drag. Years later, she would come out publicly to identify as a transgender woman, but the unforgiving social atmosphere of the era made this somewhat ambiguous approach her safest bet. Born in Nashville in 1940, Shane moved to Canada in 1960, and was discovered at a club in Montreal by another American expat musician, Frank Motley. Joining Motley's band as the lead singer, she relocated to Toronto and soon became enmeshed in the music scene, returning home to the States for occasional performances. Her first solo single, a cover of the Motown hit "Money (That's What I Want)," was released in 1962, followed shortly after by "Any Other Way," which became a regional hit, reaching number two on Toronto's CHUM Chart. The song would later be reissued nationally in 1967 and reached number 67 on Canada's RPM Chart. Throughout her early years in Toronto, Shane performed regularly at the Sapphire Tavern and, capitalizing on the sudden national success of "Any Other Way," a live recording from that venue, Jackie Shane Live (originally recorded in 1963), was released in 1967.
By the early '70s, Shane had largely faded from Toronto's scene and, after relocating to Los Angeles, seemingly dropped out of music altogether. By the early-80's she was living back in Nashville. In 2010, interest in her work was revived when CBC Radio aired a documentary episode of their Inside the Music series called I Got Mine: The Story of Jackie Shane. At the time, the creators of the documentary were unable to determine whether Shane was even still living. Speculation was soon put to rest when she was located still residing in Nashville. Further attention came in 2011 with footage of Shane appearing in Bruce McDonald's television documentary Yonge Street: Toronto Rock & Roll Stories. In 2017, a collection of essays chronicling Toronto's LGBT history was published under the title Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer. The book included an essay devoted to Shane. That same year, Shane worked with the Numero Group on the two-disc anthology Any Other Way, marking the first artist-approved release of her music. ~ Timothy Monger, Rovi