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Jackie Wilson

Recording Artist

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson Jr. (June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984) was an American soul singer-songwriter and performer. A tenor with a four octave vocal range, he was nicknamed "Mr. Excitement", and was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was considered a master showman, and one of the most dynamic and influential singers and performers in R&B and rock 'n' roll history. Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group Billy Ward and His Dominoes, he went solo in 1957 and recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening. This included 16 R&B Top 10 hits, including six R&B number ones. On the Billboard Hot 100, he scored 14 Top 20 Pop hits, six of which made it into the Pop Top 10. On September 29, 1975, while headlining a Dick Clark Oldies Concert, he collapsed on stage from what was later determined to be a massive heart attack, and subsequently slipped into a coma, slowly awakening over a period of 8 months. He remained semi-comatose for the nine years until his death in 1984, at the age of 49. Wilson was an inspiration to Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown and Michael Jackson to name a few. He was one of the most influential artists of his generation.

A two-time Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee, Wilson was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jackie Wilson #69 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Last Updated: January 22, 2017


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