Born in Thompson, GA, Jackson lived with her grandmother prior to moving to Newark, NJ, to live with her father in 1958. She grew up influenced by the sounds of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, and later, the O'Jays. Her first single to chart was 1971's deceptively titled "A Child of God (It's Hard to Believe)," which many thought was a gospel track. Due to its heated lyrical content, the single was canceled, but still managed to peak at number 22 on the R&B charts. In the spring of 1972, Jackson had her first R&B Top Ten single with "Ask Me What You Want." She kept busy performing in nightclubs and enjoyed her second consecutive Top Ten single with "My Man, A Sweet Man" in August of 1972; it peaked at number seven. (Ironically, the song was not one of Jackson's favorites.) A year later, Jackson, whose vocal texture is similar to one of her idols, Gladys Knight, had her third Top Ten single with the moderately paced "Hurts So Good," which peaked at number three on the R&B charts and made the pop Top 40. The single bore the title of her album and was also featured on the movie soundtrack for Cleopatra Jones. Jackson produced the album with Brad Shapiro. However, she was only given credit for the album concept. In Jackson's own words, "...that's when they (label owners) met the real Millie Jackson." Thereafter, she was given credit for her efforts.