Jackie Wilson
Name: Jackie Wilson
Occupation: Rock Singer
Gender: Male
Birth Day: June 9, 1934
Death Date: Jan 21, 1984 (age 49)
Age: Aged 49
Birth Place: Detroit, United States
Zodiac Sign: Gemini

Social Accounts

Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson was born on June 9, 1934 in Detroit, United States (49 years old). Jackie Wilson is a Rock Singer, zodiac sign: Gemini. Nationality: United States. Approx. Net Worth: $10 Thousand.


He had six #1 R&B hits, including "You Better Know It" and "Doggin' Around."

Net Worth 2020

$10 Thousand
Find out more about Jackie Wilson net worth here.

Does Jackie Wilson Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Jackie Wilson died on Jan 21, 1984 (age 49).


Height Weight Hair Colour Eye Colour Blood Type Tattoo(s)

Before Fame

He dropped out of high school at age fifteen and briefly competed as an amateur boxer.


Biography Timeline


Jack Leroy Wilson Jr. was born on June 9, 1934, in Highland Park Michigan, as the third and only surviving child of singer-songwriter Jack Leroy Wilson, Sr. (1903–1983) and Eliza Mae Wilson (1900–1975). Eliza Mae was born on the Billups-Whitfield Place in Lowndes County, Mississippi. Eliza Mae's parents were Tom and Virginia Ransom. Wilson often visited his family in Columbus and was greatly influenced by the choir at Billups Chapel. Growing up in the suburban Detroit enclave of Highland Park, Wilson joined a gang called the Shakers and often got himself in trouble. Wilson's alcoholic father was frequently absent and usually unemployed. In 1943, his parents separated shortly after Jackie's ninth birthday.


At the age of 17, Wilson married his girlfriend Freda Hood in 1951 while she was pregnant. Together they had four children (Jacqueline Denise, Sandra Kay, Jack Leroy Jr, and Anthony Duane). Hood divorced Wilson in 1965, after 14 years of marriage, as she was frustrated with his notorious womanizing.


After Wilson recorded his first version of "Danny Boy" and a few other tracks on Dizzy Gillespie's record label Dee Gee Records under the name Sonny Wilson (his nickname), Wilson eventually was hired by Billy Ward in 1953 to join a group Ward formed in 1950 called the Dominoes, after Wilson's successful audition to replace the immensely popular Clyde McPhatter, who left the Dominoes and formed the Drifters. Wilson almost blew his chance that day, showing up calling himself "The shit" Wilson and bragging about being a better singer than McPhatter.


Wilson was the group's lead singer for three years, but the Dominoes lost some of their stride with the departure of McPhatter. They made appearances riding on the strength of the group's earlier hits, until 1956 when the Dominoes recorded Wilson with an unlikely interpretation of the pop hit "St. Therese of the Roses", giving the Dominoes another brief moment in the spotlight. (Their only other post-McPhatter/Wilson successes were "Stardust", released July 15, 1957, and "Deep Purple", released October 7, 1957.) In 1957 Jackie Wilson began a solo career, left the Dominoes, collaborated with his cousin Levi, and secured performances at Detroit's Flame Show Bar. Later, Al Green secured a deal with Decca Records, and Wilson was signed to its subsidiary label Brunswick.


In 1958, Davis and Gordy left Wilson and Brunswick after royalty disputes escalated between them and Nat Tarnopol. Davis soon became a successful staff songwriter and producer for Chess Records, while Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and used money he earned from royalties writing for Wilson to start his own recording studio, Hitsville USA, the foundation of Motown Records in his native Detroit. Meanwhile, convinced that Wilson could venture out of R&B and rock and roll, Tarnopol had the singer record operatic ballads and easy listening material, pairing him with Decca Records' veteran arranger Dick Jacobs.


In 1960, Wilson was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer when fans tried to climb on stage in New Orleans. He assaulted a policeman who had shoved one of the fans.


Also in 1961, Wilson recorded a tribute album to Al Jolson, Nowstalgia ... You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet, which included the only album liner notes he ever wrote: "... to the greatest entertainer of this or any other era ... I guess I have just about every recording he's ever made, and I rarely missed listening to him on the radio ... During the three years I've been making records, I've had the ambition to do an album of songs, which, to me, represent the great Jolson heritage ... This is simply my humble tribute to the one man I admire most in this business ... to keep the heritage of Jolson alive." The album was a commercial failure.

On February 15, 1961, in Manhattan, Wilson was reportedly shot by a fan named Juanita Jones. However, Jones was one of his girlfriends, and she shot him in a jealous rage after he returned to his Manhattan apartment with another woman, fashion model Harlean Harris, an ex-girlfriend of Sam Cooke. Wilson's management supposedly concocted the story about her being a zealous fan to protect Wilson's reputation. They claimed that Jones was an obsessed fan who had threatened to shoot herself, and that Wilson's intervention resulted in his being shot. Wilson was shot in the stomach; the bullet resulted in the loss of a kidney, and lodged too close to his spine to be operated on. In early 1975, during an interview with author Arnold Shaw, Wilson maintained it actually was a zealous fan he did not know that shot him. "We also had some trouble in 1961. That was when some crazy chick took a shot at me and nearly put me away for good..." No charges were brought against Jones.

In 1961, Wilson declared annual earnings of $263,000, while the average annual salary at that time was just $5,000, but he discovered that, despite being at the peak of success, he was broke. Around this time the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seized Wilson's Detroit family home. Tarnopol and his accountants were supposed to take care of such matters. Wilson made arrangements with the IRS to make restitution on the unpaid taxes; he also re-purchased the family home at auction. Nat Tarnopol had taken advantage of Wilson's naïveté, mismanaging his money since becoming his manager. Tarnopol also had power of attorney over Wilson's finances.


In 1964, Wilson jumped from a second floor window at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis to avoid being arrested after a show. His arrest stemmed from a default of a $2,200 contract judgement in which he failed to appear at The Riviera Club in 1959. He was caught by the police and jailed for a day before he posted a $3,000 bond.


In 1966, Jackie Wilson scored the first of two big comeback singles with the established Chicago soul producer Carl Davis with "Whispers (Gettin' Louder)" and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher", the latter a No. 6 pop hit in 1967 that became one of his final hits. "I Get the Sweetest Feeling", despite its modest initial chart success in the US (Billboard Pop #34), has since become one of his biggest international chart successes, ranking in Top 10 twice in the UK (in 1972 and 1987), and in the Top 20 of the Dutch Top 40. "I Get the Sweetest Feeling" spawned numerous cover versions by other artists such as Edwin Starr, Will Young, Erma Franklin (Aretha Franklin's sister) and Liz McClarnon.


In March 1967, Wilson and his drummer, Jimmy Smith, were arrested in South Carolina on "morals charges"; the two were entertaining two 24-year-old white women in their motel room.

In 1967, Wilson married his second wife, model Harlean Harris (1937–2019), at the urging of Nat Tarnopol to repair his image. They had been dating since at least 1960, and had a son, John Dominick known as Petey, born in 1963. Wilson and Harris legally separated in 1969. Wilson later lived with Lynn Guidry. They had two children, son Thor Lathan Kenneth (b. 1972) and daughter, Li-Nie Shawn (b. 1975). Wilson was in a relationship with Guidry, who was under the impression that she was his legal wife, until his heart attack in 1975. However, Wilson and Harris never officially divorced. Harris became his court-appointed guardian in 1978.


Wilson's 16-year-old son, Jackie Jr, was shot and killed on a neighbor's porch near their Detroit home in 1970. Wilson sank into a period of depression, and for the next couple of years remained mostly a recluse. He turned to drug abuse and continued drinking in an attempt to cope with the loss of his son. More tragedy hit when two of Wilson's daughters died when young. His daughter Sandra died in 1977 at the age of 24 of an apparent heart attack. Another daughter, Jacqueline, was killed in 1988 in a drug-related incident in Highland Park, Michigan.


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.


By 1975, Wilson and the Chi-Lites were the only significant artists left on Brunswick's roster. Wilson had continued to record singles that found success on the R&B chart, but found no significant pop chart success. His final hit, "You Got Me Walkin'", written by Eugene Record of the Chi-Lites, was released in 1972 with the Chi-Lites backing him on vocals and instruments.

On September 29, 1975, 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. On the words "My heart is crying" 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.

Tarnopol and 18 other Brunswick executives were indicted on federal charges of mail fraud and tax evasion stemming from bribery and payola scandals in 1975. Also in the indictment was the charge that Tarnopol owed at least $1 million in royalties to Wilson. In 1976 Tarnopol and the others were found guilty; an appeals court overturned their conviction 18 months later. Although the conviction was overturned, judges went into detail, outlining that Tarnopol and Brunswick Records did defraud their artists of royalties, and that they were satisfied that there was sufficient evidence for Wilson to file a lawsuit. However, a trial to sue Tarnopol for royalties never took place, as Wilson lay in a nursing home semi-comatose. Tarnopol never paid Wilson monies he had coming to him, and Wilson died owing a large sum to the IRS and Brunswick Records.


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's friend, fellow singer Bobby Womack, planned a benefit at the Hollywood Palladium to raise funds for Wilson on March 4. 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. Wilson's friend Joyce McRae tried to become his caregiver while he was in a nursing home, but he was placed in the guardianship of his estranged wife Harlean Harris and her lawyer John Mulkerin in 1978.


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, fans raised money in a fundraiser spearheaded by an Orlando disc jockey Jack (the Rapper) Gibson to purchase a mausoleum. On June 9, 1987, a ceremony was held and Wilson was interred in the mausoleum at Westlawn Cemetery in Wayne, Michigan. His mother Eliza Wilson, who died in 1975, was also placed in the mausoleum.


In 1985, the Commodores recorded "Nightshift" in memory of Wilson and soul singer Marvin Gaye, who had both died in 1984.


Wilson scored a posthumous hit in Europe when "Reet Petite" topped the charts in the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom in 1986. This success was likely due in part to a new animated video made for the song, featuring a clay model of Wilson, that became popular on the BBC Two TV network in the latter country. The following year, Wilson's posthumous charting success in the United Kingdom continued when he hit the UK Singles Chart again with "I Get the Sweetest Feeling" (number three), and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (number 15).


In 1987, Wilson was portrayed in the Ritchie Valens biographical film La Bamba by Howard Huntsberry.


In 1992, Wilson was portrayed in the ABC miniseries by Grady Harrell in The Jacksons: An American Dream.


In his 1994 autobiography To Be Loved (named for one of the hit tunes he wrote for Wilson) Motown founder Berry Gordy stated that Wilson was "The greatest singer I've ever heard. The epitome of natural greatness. Unfortunately for some, he set the standard I'd be looking for in singers forever".

In 1994, Monkee Peter Tork recorded a bluegrass-rock cover of "Higher and Higher" on his first solo album Stranger Things Have Happened.


In 1999, Wilson was portrayed by Leon Robinson in the NBC television film Mr. Rock 'n' Roll: The Alan Freed Story.

In 1999, Wilson was portrayed by Sananda Maitreya, then known professionally as Terence Trent D'Arby, in the television film Shake, Rattle & Roll.

Wilson was nominated for two Grammy Awards. In 1999, his songs "Higher and Higher" and "Lonely Teardrops" were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.


In 2000, Wilson was portrayed by Chester Gregory in the Black Ensemble Theater of Chicago's musical production about Wilson's life.


In the 2010 VH1 television special, Say It Loud: A Celebration of Black Music in America, Smokey Robinson and Bobby Womack both paid tribute to Wilson. Smokey explained that "Jackie Wilson was the most dynamic singer and performer that I think I've ever seen." Bobby added "He was the real Elvis Presley, as far as I'm concerned...and Elvis took a lot from him too."

In 2010, Wilson's songs "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" and "Lonely Teardrops" were ranked No. 248 and No. 315 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs 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."


In 2016, Cottage Grove Street in Detroit was renamed Jackie Wilson Lane in his honor.


In 2018, Hologram USA Networks Inc. launched the hologram stage show, Higher & Higher: The Jackie Wilson Story.


Following the 2020 Presidential Election, President Elect Joe Biden ended his Victory Speech with the song '(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.'

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Jackie Wilson is 88 years, 5 months and 17 days old. Jackie Wilson will celebrate 89th birthday on a Friday 9th of June 2023.

Find out about Jackie Wilson birthday activities in timeline view here.

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