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Jackie Wilson – Happy Birthday “Mr. Excitement“.

Today would be the Jackie Wilson’s birthday. From Poison Ivy Lovers we want to pay our little tribute to “Mr. Excitement”, one of the greatest artists of the last century.

Jack Leroy Wilson, Jr. was born on June 9, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in Highland Park (Detroit). He began singing as a child in a Gospel quartet. His childhood was quite complicated, his father was an alcoholic. He twice went to the juvenile correctional facility and at age 15 he dropped out of school to pursue boxing. He started boxing on the Detroit amateur circuit, however, he had to quit his boxing career after getting married and got a baby at age 17. His first band was “The Falcons”.

In 1951 Johnny Otis discovered him, and Jackie becomes part of a group called “The Thrillers”, which would later change its name to “The Royals”. With the pseudonym Sonny Wilson, he auditioned to replace Clyde McPhatter in the group “The Dominoes”. Wilson sang as soloist or second tenor of “The Dominoes” for four years. In 1956, the song “St. Therese of the Roses”, first featuring Jackie Wilson as a solo voice, peaked at number 1 on the US Pop charts.

In 1957 he left The Dominoes to start his solo career and signed with the Brunswick Records label. “Reet petite” was Wilson’s first single for the new company. The song was written by Berry Gordy, and by Jack Davis’ cousin Billy Davis, who composed under the pen name Tyran Carlo. This tandem was responsible for the singer’s early successes. In 1959 “Lonely teardrops” sold over a million copies. “You better know it”, “Talk that talk”, “Doggin ‘around”, “Night”, “A woman, a lover, a friend” and “The tear of the year” were Jackie’s greatest hits between 1959 and 1961. It was in those years that he was nicknamed “Mr.Excitement”, due to his way of moving on stage and his frenetic shows.

With everything said so far, Jackie Wilson’s life may seem like a walk to fame, but it was not even remotely like that, his life was one of the most tragic I know, only comparable to Roy Orbison’s, partly the cause of his Unfortunately it was Jackie Wilson himself. His musical career suffered many ups and downs during the 60’s, in terms of sales, but luckily he was a musician who was in great demand to perform live, and throughout his career he was considered one of the great artists of his time. His last major hits were “Whispers” (1966) and Higher and higher (1967).

In 1961 Jackie Wilson was shot multiple times by his lover in a fit of jealousy. He lost a kidney and one of the bullets stayed lodged near his spine the rest of his life. He divorced his wife until then, Freda Hood in 1965, he always regretted having done so. Jackie was always very promiscuous, he has 7 children from 2 marriages and several illegitimates, it is not known for sure how many, one of them is also the singer Bobby Brooks Wilson, who currently plays the songs of his father. Jackie was a person of difficult character who had several altercations with the law, most of them were solved by paying very expensive bonds, which did no good to his precarious economy during the 1960s. Three of his children died, two of them in tragic circumstances. After the 1970 murder of his son, Jackie Jr., Jackie Wilson developed serious addictions to alcohol and drugs, and was plunged into a deep depression. Jackie Wilson suffered a heart attack on stage while performing at Dick Clark’s ‘Oldies Concert’ in 1975 while singing his song ‘Lonely Teardrops’. He was in a coma, and after leaving the coma he remained in a vegetative state until his death in 1984, at the age of 49. His daughter Jacqueline Wilson was shot in the back while standing in front of a store in Highland Park, Michigan, in August 1988.

After her death, her song “Red Petite” was reissued and became number 1 in the 80’s.

Jackie Wilson was one of Elvis’ favourite singers, influencing James Brown and multiple artists from R’n’B, Soul or Rock & Roll. Berry Gordy declared that Wilson was “The best singer I have ever heard. The epitome of natural greatness” Van Morrison dedicated his song “Jackie Wilson Said” to him and Michael Jackson dedicated his Grammy Award for his album “Thriller”. he has not been with us for a long time, his records are constantly reissued and his fans remember him as if he were still with us.

Juanmy “The Hunter”

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