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Wanda Jackson Biography


Home > Music > W > Wanda Jackson > Biography


Birth Name: Wanda Lavonne Jackson
Born: 1937/10/20
Birth Place: Maud, Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Years Active: 1954 – present
Genres: Rockabilly, Country, Gospel


Wanda Lavonne Jackson (born October 20, 1937) is an American singer and guitarist who had success in the mid-1950s and 60s as one of the first popular female rockabilly singers and a pioneering rock and roll artist. She is known to many as the The First Lady (or Queen) of Rockabilly.

After graduating from high school, Jackson began to tour with her father as manager and chaperon. She often shared the bill with Elvis Presley, who encouraged Jackson to sing rockabilly.

In 1959, Jackson had a Top 40 pop hit with "Let's Have A Party", a song Presley had cut a year earlier. She was headlining concerts with her own band, which she dubbed The Party Timers. Her country music career also began to take off with the self-penned "Right Or Wrong", a No. 9 hit, and "In The Middle Of A Heartache", which peaked at No. 6. Both songs also enjoyed top 40 pop successes.

The unexpected success of her records led Capitol to release a number of albums composed of her 1950s material, including 1960's “Rockin' with Wanda” and “There's a Party Goin' On”, which included "Tongue Tied" and "Riot in the Cell Block #9". Her 1961 and 1962 albums, “Right or Wrong “and “Wonderful Wanda,” featured her two top ten country hits from 1961.

In 1963, Jackson recorded an album titled “Two Sides of Wanda,” which included both rock and roll and country music, including a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On". The album earned Jackson her first Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

In 1965, Jackson made the move to country music as rockabilly declined in popularity, and had a string of Top 40 hits during the next ten years. In 1966, she released two singles that peaked in the country top 20, "Tears Will Be The Chaser For Your Wine" and "The Box It Came In."

In 1967, she recorded two albums, and released a string of singles during the next few years that often asserted a fiery and violent persona, including 1969's "My Big Iron Skillet", a top 20 hit which threatened death or assault for cheating on a spouse. In 1970 and 1971, she had her final top 20 country hits with "A Woman Lives For Love" (her second Grammy nomination) and "Fancy Satin Pillows".

2009, it was announced that Jackson would start work on new recordings with Jack White of The White Stripes. The resulting album, The Party Ain't Over, was released on January 25, 2011. It included a cover of the Bob Dylan rockabilly song, "Thunder on the Mountain"

Jackson is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Music and Oklahoma Country Music halls of fame, as well as the International Gospel and the German Music halls of fame.

She was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 but was not elected. In September 2008, she was nominated for a second time and was inducted on April 4, 2009 as an Early Influence. On September 9, 2010, she was given the Americana Lifetime Achievement Award for performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Jack White presented the award to her.