Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson was born in
Detroit on June 9, 1934. He joined Billy Ward & the Dominoes in
1953, replacing Clyde McPhatter. Wilson's solo career began with 1957's
"Reet Petite," written by the then-unknown Berry Gordy, Jr.
and recorded on the Brunswick Records label with whom Wilson would
remain throughout his career. He had his first top 40 hit in 1958 with "To
Be Loved." At the end of that year he had his first big success
with "Lonely Teardrops" that went to #7 on the charts. The
song, also written by Gordy, became his signature tune. Wilson suffered
a massive heart attack while playing a Dick Clark show at the Latin
Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on September 29, 1975, falling
head-first to the stage; he was singing "Lonely Teardrops". A
comatose Wilson lived in a hospital until his death at age 49. His
medical costs were paid for by Elvis Presley, and The Spinners. Al
Green, the soul singer, was one of the few artists who regularly visited
a bed-ridden Jackie. Mr. Entertainment passed away on January 21, 1984.
Jackie Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
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