The 16th December, oh boy the big bearded weirdy in the red coat is not far away now is he? So it is now day four of my blogs twelve days to Christmas post with the theme this year being famous people from history in songs. Today it is a song about Souls and R & B legend, the late, great Jackie Wilson. Wilson was born in Detroit in June 1934 and died in 1984 aged just 49. He had collapsed with a massive heart attack on stage in 1975 and was in a coma for 8 months. He was semi comatose for the rest of his life. He was known as Mr Excitement and had 14 US top 20 hits. His only UK number one was the posthumous re-release of “Reet Petite” from 1957 in 1986.
The opening track on Van Morrison’s 1972 album ‘Saint Dominic’s Preview’ honoured Wilson and was called “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)”. Morrison often noted the influence of Wilson on his vocal styling. It has been covered by many other artists, notably Dexy’s Midnight Runners for their 1982 album ‘Too-Rye-Ay’. It was released as a single by the band and made it to number 5 in the UK singles chart in 1982. It remains the band’s last top 10 hit in the UK to date and it was the follow up to their worldwide smash hit “Come On Eileen”