Saturday, October 4, 2014

Jackie Wilson: Mr. Excitement

Jackie Wilson was among the first soul singers who followed in Ray Charles footsteps after Charles created the music in the mid-Fifties. Wilson, also known as “Mr. Excitement,” for his ebullient performing style, was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1934. Wilson was a boxer and gymnast prior to the start of his music career. Wilson was known for his temperamental nature and willingness to use his boxing skills.

Wilson originally came to prominence in 1953, as a member of the vocal R&B group, Billy Ward and the Dominoes as a replacement for Clyde McPhatter who had left the group to form the Drifters. Wilson would serve as the Dominoes lead singer for the next three years. Upon leaving the Dominoes, Wilson soon found solo success with the hit single, “Reet Petite,” in 1957.

Throughout the remainder of the Fifties and Sixties, Wilson recorded numerous R&B hits and the occasional pop hit. Wilson’s biggest pop hit came in 1958 with “Lonely Teardrops.” In 1967, Wilson would again score a huge hit with the song, “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.”

Wilson’s best studio albums include “Soul Time” (1965), “Whispers” (1966), and “Higher and Higher” (1967). His best compilations include “The Jackie Wilson Story” (1983) and “The Very Best of Jackie Wilson” (1987). Wilson died in 1984.