Jackie Wilson
"Jackie Wilson opened his mouth and out poured that sound like honey on moonbeams,"
-- Dick Jacobs (producer for Brunswick label)
Jackie Wilson placed four songs in the top forty in 1959, one of them being arguably his best, "Lonely Teardrops" (#7). His professional career had actually begun as a Golden Glove boxer in Detroit. But after limited success he turned to singing in the early 1950's. He auditioned to replace Clyde McPhatter as lead singer for The Dominoes and had a big R & B hit with the group in "St. Therese of the Roses" in 1956. Jackie then went solo and hooked up with a young song writer, Berry Gordy. They recorded "Reet Petite" and Wilson's pop chart success began (even though it only managed to reach #62). Berry Gordy would go on to found Motown records -- unfortunately he didn't take Wilson with him. Wilson stayed with Brunswick records his entire career. Dramatic, soaring vocals and athletic, aggressive dance steps were the major components of a Jackie Wilson live performance. He was reportedly more effective as a live performer than any of his recordings show -- he became known as "Mr. Excitement." He followed his 1959 success with a more middle of the road ballad, "Night" in 1960, which became his highest rated recording at #4. Wilson's chart success continued into the late 1960's with 1967's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (#6) being an especially good one. As his chart success waned, Wilson was able to continue his stage success with rock and roll reviews. Wilson's life was full of violence and tragedy. As a youth he was part of the Shaker Gang in Detroit. In 1961 he was shot by a jealous girlfriend. In 1975 he was doing a revival show in New Jersey for Dick Clark when he suffered a heart attack, fell and cracked his head. He was singing "Lonely Teardrops" and his last words were said to be, "my heart is crying, crying ..." He was in a coma until he died in January of 1984. The Commodores recorded "Night Shift" in 1985 -- a tribute to Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye. Jackie Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
Reet Petite 1957 10 7

Lonely Teardrops 1958 12 8 7 16
That's Why (I Love You So) 1959 4 13 13 9
I'll Be Satisfied 1959 7 6 20 6
You Better Know It 1959 10 12 37 1
Night 1960 4 11 4 12
Doggin' Around 1960 4 25 15 9
A Woman A Lover A Friend 1960 8 1 15 8
All My Love 1960 8 1 12 9
Alone At Last 1960 10 24 8 12
My Empty Arms 1961 1 16 9 6
I'm Comin' On Back To You 1961 3 26 19 5
Please Tell Me Why 1961 3 27 20 5
Baby Workout 1963 3 23 5 9