Sunday, February 10, 2019

Jackie Wilson and milk

It’s nice to hear a few seconds of Jackie Wilson on TV, even if it’s in a milk commercial. He’s singing “To Be Loved.” But I wonder, in 2019, how many viewers know whose voice they’re hearing.

Jackie Wilson is one of my favorite singers. “Reet Petite,” “Lonely Teardrops,” “Higher and Higher,” “Am I the Man”? Of course. (And yes, you’re the man.) But my favorite Wilson recording is “Comin’ On Back to You.” If you click on even one of these links, you’ll know why Jackie Wilson was called Mr. Excitement.

[Our complicated culture: Al Jolson — yes, that Al Jolson, the blackface performer — was one of Wilson’s great inspirations. In the liner notes for a 1961 tribute album, Wilson called him “the greatest entertainer of this or any other era.” Here’s Wilson singing “My Yiddishe Momme.”]

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