From my Facebook friend, Ric Allen and the Michigan Music History page:
It was a day that powerful voice of Detroit’s “Mr. Excitement” was silenced forever .. as Michigan Music History remembers Jackie Wilson .. who sadly passed away 36 years ago today.
The iconic, soulful and energetic stage entertainer was born in Detroit on June 9th, 1934, and raised in the rough neighborhoods of Highland Park. Joining an area gang, Jackie was often in trouble… got locked up twice in juvenile homes .. where he eventually learned to box. Entering the amateur circuits around Detroit, where he met fellow boxer and future Motown chief, Berry Gordy, Jackie would become a Golden Gloves boxer, but after his mother told him ‘that’s enough boxing’, and with a record of 2-8, he turned to music.
Forming the original Falcons, he would be discovered by Johnny Otis, who assigned him to a group called the Thrillers, who later became the Royals, the same group that backed another Detroit legend, Hank Ballard, but Jackie left before they made their big hits. Joining Billy Ward & the Dominoes in 1953, replacing Clyde McPhatter, Jackie would stay with the group for 3 years, cutting “St. Terese of the Roses”, until he decided going solo would be a better option … and it paid off big time.
Signing with Brunswick Records, Jackie would have his first hit “Reet Petite” in 1957, co-written by Berry Gordy, who would become good friends with Wilson over the years, and co-writing a few of his early hits. “Lonely Teardrops” would launch Mr. Excitement to a whole new level. Charting 54 hits from 1957-1974, his stage presence earned him the nickname “Mr. Excitement”! Jackie would sing anything from high-powered soul classics, to opera, to ballads – there wasn’t anything Jackie couldn’t sing.
While singing “Lonely Teardrops” at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Jackie suffered a heart attack onstage and fell into a coma, of which he never recovered. Moved to a retirement community in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, where he needed constant care, the voice, the dancer and the consummate entertainer died on January 21st, 1984, at the age of only 49. Finally getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last September – we remember the iconic Jackie Wilson.
What a voice! What a talent! His music was some of the best! Here are some of my favorites:
Higher and Higher
Talk That Talk
That’s Why I Love You So
What an amazing voice! What an amazing talent! GREAT songs! He is missed!