Higher and Higher: The Ultimate Jackie Wilson Hits

Jackie Wilson
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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Today, January 21, we honor the life and legacy of Mr. Excellent - who sadly passed away on this day in 1984 - with a compilation of his definitive hits. What's your favorite Jackie Wilson track?

1. "Reet Petite"

Written by Berry Gordy Jr, "Reet Petite" was Wilson's debut as a solo singer and showman as he departed Billy Ward and the Dominoes. Released in 1957, the uptempo track, filled with Wilson's playful, vivacious vocals, gave the Wilson his first solo hit. 

2. "Lonely Teardrops"

Performed on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, the hand-clapping, toe-tapping "Lonely Teardrops" was another Gordy single that proved pivotal to Wilson's career. Released in November '58, Wilson's earnest vocals over Latin rhythms scored him his Top Ten hit. Tragically, this would also become Wilson's final song performed live - as he collapsed while performing the hit in '75. 

3. "Baby Workout"

1963 was a big year for Wilson as his pop and R&B fused tune "Baby Workout" stormed its way to the No. 5 spot on the charts. 

4. "Night"

Wilson was as versatile a singer as he was a showman -- as proved by his recording and release of the song "Night" in 1960. The layered orchestration of the song would pair beautifully with Wilson's extensive vocal range. 

5. "I Get the Sweetest Feeling"

The breathtaking title track from Wilson's 1968 album, "I Get the Sweetest Feeling" put the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee's crooning talents to show. 

6. "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"

Another signature soul smash, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” hit #6 in October ‘67, bringing Wilson back into step with the 70's. 


BONUS TRACK: "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)"

Written by Van Morrison, "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile" was the opening track on Morrison's 1972 album Saint Dominic's Preview to pay tribute to Wilson's lasting influence and inspiration. 


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