What? You don’t know who Jackie Wilson was? Dude was soul music personified! You know that Van Morrison song, “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” right? Well, here’s the reason why Van would even bother writing about the man.
The video above is Wilson doing his 1959 hit “Lonely Teardrops.” Bruno Mars would not be Bruno Mars without this guy! You also need to check him out doing the Irish song “Danny Boy.” (No wonder Van Morrison had enough of a soft spot for Wilson to write a song about him). But here’s the thing: When Jackie Wilson does it, he totally makes it his own.
Wilson died 30 years ago today, at the age of 49. Eight years previously, he had suffered a massive heart attack while onstage (at the age of 41?!) He was singing “Lonely Teardrops” at a Dick Clark show at the Latin Casino in New Jersey and fell off the stage. He was in a coma until his death on Jan. 21, 1984.
Thankfully, Wilson got to hear the most popular tribute song to him, since Van Morrison released “Jackie Wilson Said” as a single in 1972.