For an artist who deserves to be up there with the best, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Nat King Cole and so many more professional artists of the time, one artist never got the recognition. It was a typical practice of record label owners to take as much money from popular artists that were making them money, in this case Jackie Wilson.
He made millions of dollars for Brunswick Records and although he made many personal purchases for himself he was very trusting and depended on his manager to take care of all monetary matters, of course that wasn’t happening and by the time he found out what was going on it was too late. His parents were from Mississippi and went to Detroit, singing at a young age he finally got recognition and initial fame as a member of the R and B vocal group Billy Ward and the Dominos. This is the time when Jackie Wilson would replace Clyde McPhatter as vocalist. After leaving the Dominos Jackie went solo in 1957 and scored over 50 chart singles, including 16 R and B top 10 hits in which 6 Rand B songs ranked at #1.
Jackie Wilson was one of the most influential musical artists of his generation. He is also ranked at #69 on the list of the 100 greatest artists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine. Dropping out of school at age 15, Jackie was sentenced to detention in the system for juveniles twice.During his second detention he took up boxing and began competing in the Detroit amateur circuit at age 16. After Jackie went solo he inspired many musicians later on, such greats as James Brown, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. And remember that no black artist ever copied Elvis Presley, Elvis copied many black artists, from Little Richard, Fats Domino, Clyde McPhatter, Chuck Berry and Sam Cooke. Elvis would study these performers and include their ideas into his own act. But still Jackie Wilson says different.
Elvis and Wilson became good friends. After all the fame and everything else that fell in place Jackie was declaring annual earnings of $263,000, while the average annual salary at that time was only $5,000. He soon discovered that despite being at the peak of his success, he was broke. His manager of Brunswick Records had taken advantage of him and his money, Jackie made millions of dollars for Brunswick Records and had no money to show for it. His manager was found guilty of mishandling Jackies money but never went to jail, Jackie couldn’t go to court because at that time he had suffered a heart attack while performing on stage and then ended in a nursing home in a coma until his death.
Learn more about Jackie Wilson as we feature him as artist of the month on KWMC 1490 AM and the “Little Red Rooster Show”. Special thanks to Wendy Johnson who supplies all interesting information and known and unknown facts of all artist of the month.And Mr. Javier Martinez for coming up with the idea of artist of the month and also being the producer of all artist of the month shows.