Anthiathia Choi

Written by Anthiathia Choi

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Jackie Wilson is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential soul singers of all time. Born on June 9, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan, Wilson’s career spanned over four decades, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry. With his powerful and dynamic voice, electrifying stage presence, and passionate performances, Wilson captivated audiences around the world.

Throughout his career, Wilson achieved numerous chart-topping hits and accolades, earning him the nickname “Mr. Excitement.” His unique vocal range, which seamlessly transitioned from smooth and velvety to explosive and powerful, set him apart from his contemporaries.

However, beyond the music, there were many interesting aspects and lesser-known facts about Jackie Wilson that defined his life. In this article, we will delve into 16 facts that shed light on the remarkable journey of this legendary artist.

Key Takeaways:

  • Jackie Wilson, “Mr. Excitement,” was a legendary singer known for his electrifying performances and hit singles. His influence on music and iconic dance moves continue to inspire artists today.
  • Despite facing personal challenges, Jackie Wilson’s soulful voice and impeccable style made him a music icon. His legacy lives on, solidifying his place as a true musical legend.
Table of Contents

Jackie Wilson was born on June 9, 1934.

Jackie Wilson, the legendary American singer, was born on June 9, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan. His birth name was Jack Leroy Wilson Jr.

He was known as “Mr. Excitement.”

Jackie Wilson earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement” for his dynamic stage presence and energetic performances. He captivated audiences with his electrifying dance moves and soulful voice.

His career took off with The Dominoes.

Jackie Wilson started his musical journey as a member of the R&B vocal group The Dominoes. He joined the group in 1953 and recorded several hits, including “St. Therese of The Roses” and “Sixty-Minute Man.”

“Lonely Teardrops” became his first solo hit.

In 1958, Jackie Wilson released his first solo single, “Lonely Teardrops,” which became a massive success. The song reached the number one spot on the R&B charts and solidified Wilson’s solo career.

He recorded over 50 hit singles.

Throughout his career, Jackie Wilson recorded over 50 hit singles, including “Reet Petite,” “Higher and Higher,” and “Baby Workout.” His soulful voice and charismatic performances made him one of the most successful artists of his time.

Jackie Wilson had several Grammy nominations.

Jackie Wilson received several Grammy nominations throughout his career, including nominations for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

He influenced many artists.

Jackie Wilson’s unique vocal style and energetic stage presence influenced numerous artists, including Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and James Brown. His impact on the music industry continues to inspire generations of musicians.

Wilson’s signature move was the “backslide.”

One of Jackie Wilson’s signature dance moves was the “backslide,” which later became a fundamental part of Michael Jackson’s iconic moonwalk.

He had a successful partnership with Brunswick Records.

Jackie Wilson signed with Brunswick Records in 1957 and had a fruitful collaboration that produced several chart-topping hits. His partnership with the label played a significant role in his career success.

Wilson suffered a heart attack on stage.

In 1975, while performing at the Latin Casino in New Jersey, Jackie Wilson suffered a heart attack that left him in a coma for several months. Though he eventually regained consciousness, the incident had a lasting impact on his health and career.

He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1987, Jackie Wilson was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his significant contributions to the genre and his influence on future artists.

Jackie Wilson had a successful solo career.

After leaving The Dominoes, Jackie Wilson embarked on a successful solo career, releasing numerous chart-topping hits and earning a dedicated fan base.

He had a strong vocal range.

Jackie Wilson possessed an impressive vocal range, allowing him to effortlessly hit high notes and deliver powerful performances that resonated with his audience.

Wilson was known for his impeccable style.

Jackie Wilson was not only a talented singer but also a fashion icon. He was known for his impeccable style, often seen wearing tailored suits and flashy stage outfits.

He had a tumultuous personal life.

Despite his success in the music industry, Jackie Wilson faced numerous personal challenges, including financial difficulties and legal troubles. However, his resilience and passion for music remained unwavering.

Wilson’s legacy lives on.

Even after his passing in 1984, Jackie Wilson’s music continues to be celebrated and enjoyed by fans worldwide. His contributions to the world of music are forever etched in history, solidifying his place as a true musical legend.


Jackie Wilson was without a doubt one of the most influential and talented performers of his time. His powerful voice, electrifying stage presence, and impeccable dance moves captivated audiences around the world. His impact on the music industry, particularly in shaping the genre of rhythm and blues, cannot be overstated.

From his early days as a member of the legendary group The Dominoes to his successful solo career, Jackie Wilson left an indelible mark on the music world. Despite facing personal setbacks and challenges, he remained dedicated to his craft and continued to thrill audiences with his soulful performances.

Wilson’s ability to effortlessly switch between ballads and high-energy rock and roll set him apart from his peers. His smooth vocal style and undeniable charisma made him a true icon of his time and inspired countless future artists.

Although his life was tragically cut short at the age of 49, Jackie Wilson’s legacy lives on through his timeless music and the enduring impact he made on the industry. He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.


1. When was Jackie Wilson born?
Jackie Wilson was born on June 9, 1934.

2. What was Jackie Wilson’s real name?
Jackie Wilson’s real name was Jack Leroy Wilson Jr.

3. What were some of Jackie Wilson’s biggest hits?
Some of Jackie Wilson’s biggest hits include “Lonely Teardrops,” “Higher and Higher,” and “Reet Petite.”

4. Did Jackie Wilson write his own songs?
Although Jackie Wilson was not known for writing his own songs, he collaborated with talented songwriters who crafted hits specifically for his unique vocal style.

5. What awards did Jackie Wilson receive?
Jackie Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986.

6. Was Jackie Wilson known for his live performances?
Yes, Jackie Wilson was renowned for his energetic and captivating live performances. His stage presence and dance moves were legendary.

7. What impact did Jackie Wilson have on the music industry?
Jackie Wilson played a pivotal role in shaping the genre of rhythm and blues. His vocal range and showmanship influenced generations of artists who followed.

8. How did Jackie Wilson’s career end?
Jackie Wilson suffered a massive heart attack while performing on stage in New Jersey in 1975. He remained in a semi-comatose state until his death in 1984.

9. Are there any documentaries or movies about Jackie Wilson?
Yes, there have been several documentaries and movies made about Jackie Wilson’s life and career. One notable film is “Mr. Excitement! The Jackie Wilson Story,” released in 2011.

10. What is Jackie Wilson’s lasting legacy?
Jackie Wilson’s lasting legacy is his enduring music and the impact he made on the music industry. His influence can still be felt today in the performances of artists across various genres.

Jackie Wilson's incredible talent and legacy continue to inspire music lovers worldwide. Fans of soul music should check out the Porretta Soul Festival, which celebrates Wilson's enduring influence. If you're into the roots of R&B, don't miss our article on the Rhythm and Blues Festival. Motown enthusiasts will also find our piece on the legendary record label fascinating.

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