Randy Jackson is a Grammy Award-winning American rock bassist, singer, record producer and Emmy Award-nominated television and radio personality, now best known as a judge on American Idol.
Jackson played bass in violin virtuoso Jean-Luc Ponty's backing band and toured with rock band Journey in 1983 and 1985.
His numerous credits range from playing with Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Billy Cobham, Blue Öyster Cult, Herbie The Car, Richard Marx, Billy Joel, Journey, Bon Jovi and Bob Dylan to playing at the Grand Ole Opry with The Charlie Daniels Band.
His production/songwriting work in the San Francisco Bay area with Narada Michael Walden and Walter Afanasieff led Jackson to be in demand as a producer himself.
While in the Bay Area, Jackson played in bands with Carlos Santana and Jerry Garcia.
He moved to Italy in the late 1980s and produced a record for Italian pop star Zucchero. The record Zucchero and the Randy Jackson Band produced one of Zucchero's biggest hits, Donne.
Jackson was bass guitarist for Tracy Chapman featuring on several Tracks on her 1992 release Matters of the Heart. He performed on the single Bang Bang Bang, Open Arms, and Dreaming on a World.
Jackson has also recorded, produced, or toured with many well-known artists and bands, ranging from Mariah Carey (whom he knew when she was still a teenager; he was in her band at Live 8 in London in 2005) to *NSYNC, Céline Dion, Wild Orchid, Bruce Springsteen, Stryper, and Madonna (he played bass on her # 1 hit Like a Prayer).
He has also worked as an executive, spending eight years as vice president of artists and repertoire (A&R) at Columbia Records and four years heading A&R at MCA Records.
Jackson also hosts a radio top 40 countdown known as Randy Jackson's Hit List syndicated on hundreds of stations nationwide by Westwood One. Every week Randy counts down his top 30 Urban AC and Mainstream AC hits, giving a peek into AI with American Idol Underground, and shares what's currently in his iPod.
Jackson has been a judge with American Idol since its inception in 2002. On the show, he is known for taking a middle road of criticism between the supportiveness of Paula Abdul and the frankness of Simon Cowell.
He has popularized the word "pitchy" as the way to describe off-key singing. He is also renowned for his heavy use of slang terms, most notably the words "dude", "dawg", "dope", "yo", and "aight".
He is also well known for signing the word "Love" when introduced by Ryan Seacrest.
Jackson sometimes also refers to the group of male semifinalists as the dawg (dog) pound (though during season five, the female contestants were also included).
Randy Jackson has been married twice. His first marriage, to Elizabeth Jackson, ended in divorce in 1990. They have one child together. Since 1995, he has been married to Erika Riker, with whom he has two children.