Jackie Wilson Part Four
I just bought another album for this blog and I have to type you, that it’s great, and well worth it. Now let’s get into Jackie Wilson Part Four, so you can hear his album, an wait for the final one in this series.
According to Larry Geller, who visited Wilson backstage in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, the singer had a habit of taking a handful of salt tablets and drinking large amounts of water before each performance, to create profuse sweating. Wilson told Elvis Presley, “The chicks love it.” A side effect would have been hypertension.
On September 29, 1975, Jackie Wilson was one of the featured acts in Dick Clark’s Good Ol’ Rock and Roll Revue, hosted by the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He was in the middle of singing “Lonely Teardrops” when he suffered a massive heart attack. When he collapsed on stage, audience members applauded as they initially thought it was part of the act. Clark sensed something was wrong, then ordered the musicians to stop the music. Cornell Gunter of the Coasters, who was backstage, noticed Wilson was not breathing. Gunter was able to resuscitate him and Wilson was then rushed to a nearby hospital.
Medical personnel worked to stabilize Wilson’s vital signs, but the lack of oxygen to his brain caused him to slip into a coma. He briefly recovered in early 1976, and was even able to take a few wobbly steps but slipped back into a semi-comatose state. Wilson was deemed conscious but incapacitated in early June 1976, unable to speak but aware of his surroundings. Wilson was a resident of the Medford Leas Retirement Center in Medford, New Jersey, when he was admitted into Memorial Hospital of Burlington County in Mount Holly, New Jersey, due to having trouble taking nourishment, according to Wilson’s attorney John Mulkerin.
Jackie Wilson died on January 21, 1984, at age 49 from complications of pneumonia. He was initially buried in an unmarked grave at Westlawn Cemetery near Detroit. In 1987, a fundraiser by a Detroit radio station collected enough money to purchase a headstone.
Tributes and legacy
In 2005, Jackie Wilson was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.
On August 17, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio, Jackie Wilson was inducted into the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame.
In 1985, the Commodores recorded “Nightshift” in memory of Wilson and soul singer Marvin Gaye, who had both died in 1984. Reaching No. 1 R&B and No. 3 pop in the U.S., and topping the Dutch singles chart, it was the group’s biggest hit after the departure of Lionel Richie.
Van Morrison recorded a tribute song called “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” on his 1972 album Saint Dominic’s Preview. This was later covered by Dexys Midnight Runners. When the track was performed on the British TV show Top of the Pops, a picture of darts player Jocky Wilson was used instead. This has often been speculated to be a mistake but Dexys frontman Kevin Rowland stated that it was a deliberate joke by the band.
Michael Jackson honored Jackie Wilson at the 1984 Grammy Awards Jackson dedicated his Album of the Year Grammy for Thriller to Wilson, saying, “In the entertainment business, there are leaders and there are followers. And I just want to say that I think Jackie Wilson was a wonderful entertainer…Jackie, where you are I want to say I love you and thank you so much.”
Until Jackson’s comments, Wilson’s recording legacy had been dormant for almost a decade. Tarnopol owned Wilson’s recordings due to Brunswick’s separation from MCA, but the label had closed down, essentially deleting Wilson’s considerable recorded legacy. When Jackson praised Wilson at the Grammys, interest in the legendary singer stirred, and Tarnopol released the first Wilson album (a two-record compilation) in almost nine years through Epic Records, Jackson’s label at the time. Through Tarnopol’s son, Wilson’s music has become more available.