Happy Birthday Jackie Wilson: 15 Facts About “Mr. Excitement”

Jackie Wilson and Elvis

R&B singer Jackie Wilson was born today (June 9th, 1934). In honor of his birthday and Black Music Month, RareSoul.com has gathered 10 interesting facts about Jackie Wilson.

1. Between 1957 and 1968, Jackie Wilson had 55 Top 100 and 24 Top 40 hits.

2. Jackie Wilson owed his record label Brunswick $150,000 in advances and royalties when he suffered from a stroke

3. In her book rage to survive Etta James described Jackie Wilson as a “skittish personality, fiery and unpredictable. “You didn’t threaten or cross Jackie. It wouldn’t take much to get his fists flying. He had a don’t f*ck with me vibe that most everyone respected,” Etta James said.

4. Jackie Wilson grew up in Detroit, Michigan and was a member of a gang called The Shakers. He briefly served time in a detention center for juveniles, where he learned to box. He eventually fought in the Golden Gloves.

5. Jackie Wilson’s nickname was “Sonny.” He put out two versions of the song “Danny Boy” under the moniker.

6. In 1953, Jackie Wilson replaced Clyde McPhatter in Billy Ward’s legendary group The Dominoes. Clyde McPhatter had left to join The Drifters. McPhatter and Wilson were friends and McPhatter coached Wilson before he joined the group.

7. Jackie Wilson left The Dominoes in 1957 for a solo career. He eventually signed to Brunswick Records.

8. Berry Gordy Jr. and songwriting partner Roquel “Billy” Davis wrote nine hits for Jackie Wilson. In later years, some of those proceeds were used to fund Motown Records.

9. Jackie Wilson experienced a resurgence on the charts in 1966 when he hit big with Chicago producer Carl Davis and the track “Whispers (Getting Louder).

10. Motown’s legendary house band The Funk Brothers frequently collaborated with Jackie Wilson to pay respect to the Detroit Singer.

Jackie Wilson
Jackie Wilson

11. The Funk Brothers backed Jackie Wilson on his #1 song “(You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.”

12. Jackie Wilson was shot and wounded in 1961 by one of his girlfriends named Juanita Jones. He was shot twice and one of the bullet wounds resulted in the loss of a kidney.

13. Jackie Wilson had four children with this first wife. Three of the children died tragic deaths. His 16-year-old son Jackie Jr. was shot and killed in 1970. Two other daughters also died at a young age. A daughter named Sandra died in 1977 at the age of 24 of a heart attack, while another was killed in 1988.

14. Jackie Wilson met remarried and had three other children with another woman.

15. Although Jackie Wilson grew up in the church he converted to Judaism.

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