Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jackie Wilson (b. Jack Leroy Wilson; June 9, 1934 - January 21, 1984) was an American soul and R&B singer. Born in Detroit, Michigan, where he became active in the music business. He joined Billy Ward & the Dominoes in 1953, replacing Clyde McPhatter. The band didn't sustain any momentum after losing McPhatter, the superstar of the group, though Wilson did gain many more fans, including Elvis Presley.
Wilson's solo career begin with 1956's "Reet Petite", written by Berry Gordy Jr., then an unknown who would later go on to write many of Wilson's other hits, such as "Lonely Teardrops" and "I'll Be Satisfied". Wilson's brand of pop-soul and R&B helped him cross over to the mainstream, having several pop hits. His dynamic stage performances earned him the nickname "Mr. Excitement". His performance of "Lonely Teardrops" on the Ed Sullivan Show is considered one of its classics. In the 1960s, Wilson continued to record singles, many of them operatic and overblown, such as "Danny Boy" or "Night", others were up-tempo and exciting, such as "Baby Workout" in 1963. Wilson was shot and wounded by a female fan in 1961.
His career began to suffer in the mid-60s, though he managed a brief revival by collaborating with Carl Davis, a legendary Chicago producer. This resulted in two hits, "Whispers" and "Higher and Higher". The revival was short-lived, though, and Wilson rarely charted in the 1970s. Wilson suffered a heart attack while playing a Dick Clark show at the Latin Casino in New Jersey on September 29, 1975; he was singing "Lonely Teardrops". A comatose Wilson lived in a hospital until dying in 1984. His medical costs were paid for by Dick Clark.
Jackie Wilson is interred in the Westlawn Cemetery in Wayne, Michigan.
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