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Jackie Wilson


Jack Leroy Wilson, Jr. was born on June 9, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan, the only son of Jack Sr. and Eliza Mae Wilson, as she lost two previous children. Eliza Mae was born on The Billups-Whitfield Place in Columbus, Mississippi. Her parents were Tom and Virginia Ransom. Jackie often visited his family in Columbus and was greatly influenced by the choir at Billups Chapel. Growing up in the rough Detroit area of Highland Park, Wilson joined a gang called the Shakers and often found himself in trouble. Wilson's father was frequently absent, as he was alcoholic and usually out of work. Wilson began singing at an early age, accompanying his mother, once a choir singer, to church. In his early teens Jackie joined a quartet, the Ever Ready Gospel Singers, which became a popular feature of churches in the area. Jackie was not very religious, he just loved to sing and the cash he and his group earned came in handy for the cheap wine which he drank since the age of nine. Jack Sr. and Eliza separated shortly after Jackie turned nine.

Wilson dropped out of high school at the age of 15, having already been sentenced to detention in the Lansing Corrections system for juveniles twice. During his second stint in detention, he learned boxing and started performing in the amateur circuit in the Detroit area at the age of 16. His record in the Golden Gloves was 2 and 8. After his mother forced him to quit, Wilson got married to Freda Hood and became a father at 17. It is rumored that he fathered at least 10 other children prior to getting married and was forced to marry Hood by her father. He gave up boxing for music, first working at Lee's Sensation club as a solo singer,[6] then forming a group called the Falcons (not to be confused with The Falcons Wilson Pickett was part of), that included cousin Levi Stubbs, who later went on to lead the Four Tops (two more of Wilson's cousins, Hubert Johnson and Levi's brother Joe, later became members of The Contours). The other members joined Hank Ballard as part of The Midnighters. including Alonzo Tucker & Billy Davis, who would work with Wilson several years later as a solo artist.

Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson Jr. (June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984) was a highly influential American singer,songwriter and performer, and a 1987 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee. Wilson was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul.He was also known as a master showman, and as one of the most dynamic singer/performers in R&B and Rock history. Gaining fame in his early years as a member of the R&B vocal group The Dominoes, he went solo in 1957 and recorded over 50 hit singles that spanned R&B, pop, soul, doo-wop and easy listening. During a 1975 benefit concert, he collapsed on-stage from a heart attack and subsequently fell into a coma that persisted for nearly nine years. By the time of his death in 1984, he had become one of the most influential soul artists of his generation.
In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Jackie Wilson #68 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

In 2014, artist Hozier released a song titled "Jackie and Wilson", a play on Wilson's name. The song includes the lyrics "We'll name our children Jackie and Wilson and raise them on rhythm and blues."

 

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