In this age of hype, words like “legendary” are thrown around like confetti on Chinese New Year. However, when it comes to describing the career and influence of Wanda Jackson, the label of “legendary” is unquestionably appropriate. She is one of the few remaining survivors of the first wave of rock and roll. Jackson, along with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and some punk named Elvis Presley, all came from country music backgrounds and brought those “rockabilly” textures into rock music and helped define the emerging new genre.
During the 1950s, Jackson regularly toured with Elvis and the two briefly dated. During this time, she released a string of classic singles such as: “I Gotta Know,” “Fujiyama Mama,” and “Let’s Have A Party.” Although her popularity in the U.S. dwindled later in the sixties, she continued to score hits and remain popular abroad. During the late sixties and throughout the seventies, Jackson shifted towards recording gospel and traditional country music. She returned to rock and rockabilly music during the 1980s.
The twenty-first century finds Wanda Jackson finally getting her due. In addition to being inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and International Gospel Hall of Fame, Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. She collaborated with producer Jack White on 2011’s critically acclaimed The Party Ain’t Over and followed it with 2012’sUnfinished Business. Now in her seventies, her most recent live release Live In Chicago, shows that her fiery country voice can still rock and roll with the best of them. Do not miss your opportunity to catch this genuine legend in action when she returns this Saturday, June 14 to the Beachland Ballroom.
Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Doors open at 7:30pm with the show beginning at 8:30pm. Alan Leatherwood opens with David Loy and the Ramrods. For those of you unfamiliar with her work, check out this Spotifyplaylist that highlights ten Wanda Jackson Essentials.