Personalities | Jackie Wilson | Fifties | Rock

(Singer-songwriter 1934–84)

Detroit-born Jackie Wilson, an ex-amateur boxer, sang with gospel groups before replacing Clyde McPhatter in Billy Ward and The Dominoes in 1953. His first solo success came with 1957’s UK and US hit, Reet Petite’, co-written by Berry Gordy Jr., who went on to found Motown Records. His first US Top 40 hit was 1958’s ‘To Be Loved’, and his first US Top 10 single was 1958’s ‘Lonely Teardrops’, also co-written by Gordy. Wilson’s dynamic stage show vastly increased his popularity, and by 1972, he had accumulated over 50 US pop hits, the biggest being 1960’s ‘Night’, while arguably the best-known was 1967’s ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher’. By 1970, the hits had diminished, and in 1972, he suffered a massive heart attack while on stage in New Jersey, and remained hospitalized in a coma for the rest of his life. The same year, Van Morrison had a minor hit single with a tribute song titled ‘Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)’.

Styles & Forms | Fifties | Rock
Personalities | Amen Corner | Sixties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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