Saturday, February 28, 2009
Watching Jackie Wilson perform "Lonely Teardrops" on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, one understands why he was called "Mr. Excitement." Besides his wide-ranging voice, Wilson also had the moves capable of electrifying an audience (watch for that smooth split!). Making his start in the rhythm and blues era of the 1950s, Wilson became an important 1960s soul music artist, recording such hits as "That's Why (I Love You So)," "Baby Workout" and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher." While singing "Lonely Teardrops" at Dick Clark's Oldies Show at the Latin Casino in New Jersey, Wilson suffered a heart attack that would lead to his hospitalization and death at 49. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Van Morrison, whose versatility is reflective of his many musical influences, paid tribute to Wilson in his song "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)," which he performed at the Hollywood Bowl in November 2008: