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Jackie Wilson, Mr. Excitement

by Linnea Crowther

Question: How do you choose just one song with which to remember Jackie Wilson, who died 28 years ago today?

Answer: You don’t. It’s impossible. After all, the man known as “Mr. Excitement” had more than 50 hit singles and was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. With a career like that, it’s hard to even narrow it to a few songs in tribute, but we’re going to see if we can pick three.

Before going solo, Jackie Wilson sang with Billy Ward and His Dominoes. One of their early hits with Wilson on lead was “St. Therese of the Roses.”


It was just a year after that song hit that Wilson left the Dominoes for a solo career. His first single, 1957’s “Reet Petite,” hit only No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100—but when it was re-released in the UK in 1986, it shot to the very top of the chart.

Of course, no collection of Jackie Wilson tunes would be complete without his signature song, “Lonely Teardrops,” plus a taste of the dancing that gave him his nickname.

Jackie Wilson died nearly 30 years ago, after spending almost a decade in a coma. But his exciting music and moves live on.

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