Jackson, Wanda (1937—)

views updated

Jackson, Wanda (1937—)

American rockabilly singer of the late 1950s and 1960s . Born Wanda Lavonne Jackson in Maud, Oklahoma, on October 20, 1937; married Wendell Goodman.

Selected LPs:

Rockin' with Wanda (Capitol, 1960); Two Sides of Wanda (Capitol, 1964); Reckless Love Affair (Capitol, 1965); You'll Always Have My Love (Capitol, 1967); Many Moods of Wanda (Capitol, 1969); Portrait (Capitol, 1970); A Woman Lives for Love (Capitol, 1970); Praise the Lord (Capitol, 1973); Country Gospel (Word, 1974); When It's Time to Fall in Love (Myrrh, 1975–76); Now I Have Everything (Myrrh, 1975–76); Make Me Like a Child Again (Myrrh, 1975–76); I'll Still Love You (DJM, 1977); Closer to Jesus (Word, 1978); Greatest Hits (Gusto, 1979); Let's Have a Party (Charly UK, 1986).

The undisputed queen of the hybrid musical genre known as rockabilly, Wanda Jackson was known for a trademark style that, according to one observer, sometimes sounded like she had "gargled with nitroglycerine." Born in 1937, Jackson learned to play the piano and guitar as a youngster and hosted a radio show on Oklahoma's station KLPR when she was 13. After high school, she toured with Hank Thompson and his Brazos Valley Boys and with Elvis Presley, who, along with Gene Vincent of "Be-Bop-A-Lula" fame, influenced her later style. In 1954, she signed her first recording contract with Decca, and had her first hit with "You Can't Have My Love," a duet with bandleader Billy Gray that reached number eight on the country and western chart.

Jackson switched to Capitol in 1956 and made her mark with "Let's Have a Party," a hit in both the United States and Great Britain. Also notable were renditions of "Mean Mean Man" (one of several songs she wrote), "Right or Wrong," and "In the Middle of a Heartache." Jackson was also popular in Holland, Germany, and Japan and cut versions of some of her hit songs, like the explosive "Fujiyama Mama," in three languages. As the rockabilly craze faded, she returned to country music, and with her husband Wendell Goodman and her own band, The Party Timers, had a series of hits during the 1960s. During the 1970s, Jackson moved into gospel, although she continued to perform her old favorites on tour. "My lifestyle is a Christian lifestyle," she explained, "but I have no problems doin' those early rock things."

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

About this article

Jackson, Wanda (1937—)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article