Saturday, 30 June 2018

Lena Horne born 30 June 1917

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an African American singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theatre. She broke through racial barriers as the first black performer to sign a long-term contract with a major Hollywood studio.  

Born Lena Mary Calhoun Horne, her grandparents were active in the NAACP and she was a cover girl for the organization's monthly bulletin at the age of two. Not long after her parents divorced, she was left in the care of her grandparents while her mother, a stage actress, pursued her career. By age seven, her mother had reclaimed her and at age 16 Lena (who attended Girls High School in Brooklyn and took dance lessons while there) dropped out of school to join the chorus at the Cotton Club in Harlem.  

She achieved stardom on the nightclub circuit as a singer of blues and ballads, enhanced by her radiant beauty, vibrant voice and charismatic qualities. Broadway opportunities were found, and she made her stage debut in the short-lived 1934 play "Dance With Your Gods", followed by "Lew Leslie's Blackbirds of 1939" (1939). Horne married Louis Jordan Jones in January 1937 in Pittsburgh. On December 21, 1937, their daughter, Gail (later known as Gail Lumet Buckley, a writer) was born. They had a son, Edwin Jones (February 7, 1940 – September 12, 1970) who died of kidney disease.

In 1938, Lena was given one of the leads (Ethel) in The Duke is Tops at the suggestion of an agent who had seen her at the Cotton Club. She moved to Hollywood after her divorce from Lewis and was soon discovered by MGM. Lena stipulated in her contract that she would not get stereotypical black roles. In fact, MGM wanted her to look even darker on screen, so Max Factor invented "Little Egyptian" makeup for Lena to serve that purpose.  

She displayed her vocal talents in the motion pictures "Cabin in the Sky" (1943), "Stormy Weather" (1943), "Thousands Cheer" (1943), "Two Girls and a Sailor" (1944), "Ziegfeld Follies" (1945), "Till the Clouds Roll By" (1946) and "Words and Music" (1948).  In 1947, she married musician Lennie Hayton. Their marriage would be kept a secret for three years due to the likelihood of a backlash from it being interracial.   

From the late 1950s through to the 1960s, Horne was a staple of TV variety shows, appearing multiple times on Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dean Martin Show, and The Bell Telephone Hour. Other programs she appeared on included The Judy Garland Show, The Hollywood Palace, and The Andy Williams Show. Besides two television specials for the BBC (later syndicated in the U.S.), Horne starred in her own U.S. television special in 1969, Monsanto Night Presents Lena Horne. During this decade, the artist Pete Hawley painted her portrait for RCA Victor, capturing the mood of her performance style. 

She scored a top 20 hit with "Love Me or Leave Me", which peaked at 19 on the pop charts in 1955, and recorded the highly-successful album "Lena Horne at the Waldorf Astoria" (1957), becoming one of the top female artists in the history of RCA Records.  

In 1969 after a lengthy hiatus from the big screen, she returned with her first dramatic role opposite Richard Widmark in "Death of a Gunfighter". During a short time-span from 1970 to 1971, she suffered personal tragedies with the deaths of her father, husband and son, causing her for a period to go into a state of depression.  

In 1978, she appeared in the film "The Wiz", and won a special Tony Award for her performances in "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music" in 1981. 

Throughout her career, she was a passionate advocate for civil rights. She was honoured for Lifetime Achievement at the Kennedy Centre in 1984, was recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1989, and a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Artist in 1999. She received two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for music, the other for film. 

Horne died from heart failure on May 9, 2010. Her funeral took place at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on Park Avenue in New York. Thousands gathered and attendees included Leontyne Price, Dionne Warwick, Liza Minnelli, Jessye Norman, Chita Rivera, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Leslie Uggams, Lauren Bacall, Robert Osborne, Audra McDonald, and Vanessa Williams. After the service, her remains were cremated.
(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia, and C.S. @findagrave)

Friday, 29 June 2018

Leroy Anderson born 29 June 1908

Leroy Anderson (June 29, 1908 – May 18, 1975) was an American composer of short, light concert pieces, many of which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler. John Williams described him as "one of the great American masters of light orchestral music."

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Swedish parents, Leroy Anderson was given his first piano lessons by his mother, who was an organist. He continued studying piano with Henry Gideon at the New England Conservatory of Music, and he also took double bass lessons from Gaston Dufresne in Boston. In 1926 Anderson entered Harvard University, where he studied theory with Walter Spalding, counterpoint with Edward Ballantine, harmony with George Enescu and composition with Walter Piston. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1929 and Master of Arts in 1930. 
 He continued studying at Harvard, concentrating in German and Scandinavian languages, while also working as organist for the university, leading the choir and the Harvard University Band, and conducting and arranging for dance bands around Boston. His arranging work came to the attention of Arthur Fiedler in 1936 and Anderson was asked to show Fiedler any original compositions. Anderson's first work was Jazz Pizzicato in 1938. Fiedler suggested that a companion piece be written and thus Anderson wrote Jazz Legato in 1939. 

In 1942 Leroy Anderson joined the U.S. Army, and was assigned to Iceland as a translator and interpreter. Later in 1945 he was assigned to the Pentagon as Chief of the Scandinavian Desk of Military Intelligence. But his duties did not prevent him from composing, and in 1945 he wrote "The Syncopated Clock" and "Promenade". Anderson was a reserve officer and was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. In 1951 Anderson wrote his first hit, "Blue Tango", earning a Golden Disc and the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts. 

His pieces and his recordings during the fifties conducting a studio orchestra were immense commercial successes. "Blue Tango" was the first instrumental recording ever to sell one million copies. His most famous pieces are probably "Sleigh Ride" and "The
Syncopated Clock", both of which are instantly recognizable to millions of people. 

In 1950, WCBS-TV in New York City selected "Syncopated Clock" as the theme song for The Late Show, the WCBS late-night movie. Mitchell Parish added words to "Syncopated Clock", and later wrote lyrics for other Anderson tunes, including "Sleigh Ride", which was not written as a Christmas piece, but as a work that describes a winter event. Anderson started the work during a heat wave in August 1946. From 1952 to 1961, Anderson's composition "Plink, Plank, Plunk!" was used as the theme for the CBS panel show I've Got A Secret. 

Anderson's musical style, heavily influenced by George Gershwin and folk music of various lands, employs creative instrumental effects and occasionally makes use of sound-generating items such as typewriters and sandpaper.

Anderson wrote his Piano Concerto in C in 1953 but withdrew it, feeling that it had weak spots. In 1988 the Anderson family decided to publish the work. Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra released the first recording of this work; three other recordings have since been released. 

In 1958, Anderson orchestrated Meredith Willson's "76 Trombones", from the musical The Music Man. That year he wrote his own musical, Goldilocks, which earned two Tony awards but did not achieve commercial success. Anderson never wrote another musical, preferring instead to continue writing orchestral miniatures. His pieces, including "The Typewriter", "Bugler's Holiday", and "A Trumpeter's Lullaby" are performed by orchestras and bands ranging from school groups to professional organizations.

Anderson would occasionally appear on the Boston Pops regular concerts on PBS to conduct his own music while Fiedler would sit on the sidelines. For "The Typewriter" Fiedler would don a green eyeshade, roll up his sleeves, and mime working on an old typewriter while the orchestra played. 

In 1975, Anderson died due to cancer in Woodbury, Connecticut and is buried there.  

For his contribution to the recording industry, Leroy Anderson has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1620 Vine Street. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1988 and his music continues to be a staple of "pops" orchestra repertoire. (Edited from Wikipedia)

Here is Viennese Percussionist Martin Breinschmid with his version of the "Typewriter" Live at the BASF concert hall Ludwigshafen, Germany 2008, Strauß Festival Orchestra Vienna

Post Script - My Angel Radio colleague Martin Miller once had an interview with Leeroy's wife who pointed out that most people pronounced Leroy as Lee Roy when in fact it is pronounced  with a French Le  continuing with Roy.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Clarence Profit born 26 June 1912

Clarence Profit (June 26, 1912 – October 22, 1944) was a jazz pianist and composer associated with swing. His premature death has led to him being somewhat obscure in jazz history books although he was rated quite high during his lifetime. He was born, and died, in New York City.
A very talented swing pianist, Clarence Profit passed away just before the bop era officially began so one does not know for sure how he would have adjusted his style during the next few years.  He came from a musical family, his father being Herman Profit who was a professional pianist and his cousin Sinclair Mills was also a pianist. 

Clarence began studying piano at the age of three and was a child prodigy, broadcasting while still at school. He then plays for the radio with saxophonist Edgar SAMPSON and works with his orchestra in several New York residences such as " Bamboo Inn ", " Renaissance " and " Alhambra ". 

 In 1930 and 1931 he was a member of " Teddy Bunn's Washboard Serenaders ".  In the early 1930s he visited his grandparents in Antigua and then spent two years in West India where he directed an octet.  He then played in Bermuda and St Kitts.  In November 1936 he returned to New York and formed a trio that played in the most famous clubs, including the " George's Tavern " (1937-39), the " Ritz Carlton " of Boston (1938), the " Yeah Man Club" And the " Café Society " (1939), the " Village Vanguard " (1940), the " Kelly's Stable " (1940-43), the " Performer's and Music Club " (1942) and again the " Village Vanguard " in 1944.

The Clarence Profit Trio (1937 – 1944) recorded only a dozen or so sides in 1939 and 1940 with his regular group (featuring either Billy Moore or Jimmy Shirley on guitar and bassist Ben Brown), displaying an advanced swing style and a bit of stride. It was an eclectic, versatile group which played well-rehearsed, somewhat
Profit with James VanDerZee
prim arrangements, featuring Profit’s elegant finely textured piano and guitarist Billy Moore’s curious amalgam of Hawaiian guitar and Django Reinhardt.
Their recordings were somewhat more commercially oriented than their club appearances. But at its best – the earlier recordings provide a glimpse of this pioneer trio (along with the Nat Cole Trio) became one of the earliest models for dozens of similar groups flourishing in the 40’s. Profit was co-composer with Edgar Sampson of "Lullaby In Rhythm."
Tragically, illness exacerbated by self-neglect took him out at the age of 32 in October 1944, abruptly terminating a standing engagement at the Village Vanguard and preventing him from playing a more sustained active role in the rapid rise of early modern jazz. 
 (Info scarce but compiled and edited from AllMusic, Wikipedia, Swing FM & The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz 1930 – 1945 by Gunther Schuller) 

Harold Randolph, kazoo / Clarence Profit, piano / Teddy Bunn, guitar / Bruce Johnson, washboard, vocals

Monday, 25 June 2018

Harold Melvin born 25 June 1939

Harold Melvin (25 June 1939 - 24 March 1997) was one of the driving forces behind Philadelphia soul, leading his group the Blue Notes to the top of the charts during their stint on Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International label.  

Melvin was born in Philadelphia. A self-taught pianist, he began singing doo wop as a teenager with a group called the Charlemagnes, and put together the very first edition of the Blue Notes in 1954. The original line-up was a quintet featuring Melvin as the lead singer (for a time), songwriter, arranger, and choreographer; ironically, he would mostly relinquish those duties by the time the group achieved its greatest success. The other members were co-leader Bernard Williams, Roosevelt Brodie, Jesse Gillis, Jr., and Franklin Peaker. The Blue Notes cut their first single, "If You Love Me," for Josie in 1956, and turned it into a regional hit. They recorded for several other labels over the next few years, Dot chief among them, before scoring their first R&B chart hit in 1960 with "My Hero" (released on Val-Ue).  

Numerous personnel shifts kept the group in flux despite steady recording activity, and Bernard Williams split off to lead what he dubbed the Original Blue Notes in the mid-'60s. Melvin assembled a new version of the Blue Notes cantered around lead singer John Atkins, who returned the group to the R&B charts in 1965 with the Landa single "Get Out (And Let Me Cry)." Further releases on Arctic, Checker, and Uni followed over the rest of the '60s, as well as more personnel changes. During the late '60s, the group toured often with the Cadillacs, whose young drummer Teddy Pendergrass would prove to be Melvin's greatest discovery. 

Pendergrass first joined the Blue Notes' backing band, but demonstrated so much vocal talent that after John Atkins left in 1970, Melvin soon elevated him to the post of lead vocalist. This move helped them land a deal with Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International label in 1972, just as the company was taking its place as soul music's new epicentre; Pendergrass' voice was similar to that of Dells singer Marvin Junior, whom Gamble & Huff had courted heavily. By this time, the Blue Notes consisted of Melvin, Pendergrass, bass vocalist Lawrence Brown, baritone vocalist Bernard Wilson, and tenor vocalist Lloyd Parks.  

With Gamble & Huff now supplying top-quality material and production, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes would become one of the most popular groups in R&B over the next few years. Their self-titled debut mostly featured songs that had been written in anticipation of landing Marvin Junior. The first single, "I Miss You," was a hit on the R&B charts, but their second was a smash -- the classic ballad "If You Don't Know Me by Now," which featured an anguished, star-making vocal turn from Pendergrass. "If You Don't Know Me by Now" went all the way to number one R&B, and also became their only Top Five hit on the pop side.. 

Further singles, including "The Love I Lost (Part 1)" (1973) and "Where Are All My Friends' (1974), enhanced Pendergrass" reputation and led to his demand for equal billing in the group. Melvin's refusal resulted in the singer's departure in 1976. However, while Pendergrass remained contracted to Philadelphia International and enjoyed considerable solo success, Melvin And The Blue Notes, with new singer David Ebo and Jerry Cummings and Sharon Paige also in the line-up, moved to ABC Records. 
Despite securing a UK Top 5 hit with "Don't Leave Me This Way" and a US R&B Top 10 hit with "Reaching For The World" in 1977, the group was unable to recapture its erstwhile success.  

Cummings and Wilson left in 1977, with Dwight Johnson and William Spratelly brought in to replace them. Paige left in 1980 and Ebo was replaced by Gil Saunders in 1982. By the early 80s, the group was without a recording contract, but continued to enjoy an in-concert popularity. They signed to Philly World in 1984, achieving minor UK hit singles the same year with "Don't Give Me Up" and "Today's Your Lucky Day".  

Melvin continued to tour with versions of the Blue Notes steadily into the '90s, and Paige eventually returned to the fold as well. Sadly, Melvin suffered a stroke and never fully recovered; he passed away on March 24, 1997, in his beloved hometown of Philadelphia.
(Edited mainly from AllMusic & NME)

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Si Zentner born 13 June 1917


Simon Hugh "Si" Zentner (June 13, 1917 in New York City – January 31, 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada) was an American trombonist and jazz big-band leader. While big bands seemed to be fading fast during the late '50s and early '60s, bandleader Si Zentner was one of the few to front a successful big band -- enjoying both critical and commercial acclaim.  
Zentner played violin from age four and picked up trombone a few years later. As a teenager, he was awarded the Guggenheim Foundation Philharmonic Scholarship. He attended college for music and had intended to pursue a career in classical music, but became more interested in pop music after recording with Andre Kostelanetz. Zentner played in the bands of Les Brown, Harry James, and Jimmy Dorsey in the 1940s. 
Zentner then relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked regularly as a studio musician -- and from 1949 through 1955, was on the MGM staff (working on such hit movies as Singing in the Rain and A Star Is Born).. Zentner was very successful as a studio musician and did quite well for himself financially. However his dream was to lead his own big band. Bucking the odds and with a lot of determination, he proceeded to do just that. 

From 1957 to 1959 the Zentner studio big band recorded for the Bel Canto label. Although the band's output was generally geared toward a dance crowd (his recordings rarely ran longer than three minutes)  Zentner employed many fine Jazz soloists during this period. Among them, Bob Enevoldson, Frankie Capp, Jackie Mills, and Don Fagerquist. On his first release Zentner used the arranging skills of Billy May. 
Si began recording for Liberty in 1959, and after assembling a large touring swing outfit, toured steadily, (he once claimed that his band played 178 consecutive one-night stands). A great PR man and promoter, Zentner's bands won an amazing 13 straight Down Beat polls for “Best Big Band.” Perhaps the most important among the regular members of the bands Zentner formed was pianist Bob Florence, whose 1961 arrangement of a ”twist” version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Up a Lazy River," crossed over into the top 50 pop charts, winning a Grammy for Best Instrumental, and gave Zentner his biggest hit. 
Eventually however, the public's interest in big bands had dwindled to the point that even Zentner's fine band found it increasingly hard to attract a substantial audience on tour. Zentner landed back on his feet in 1965, when he moved to Las Vegas and opened the Tropicana Hotel's lounge, the Blue Room, accompanying Mel Tormé.   
Three years later, Zentner was named musical director for one of Las Vegas' longest-running floor shows, Folies Bergere. But once more, Zentner couldn't turn his back completely on taking a big band on the road, as he assembled another touring group.   

Bookings came less frequently in his later years because Zentner refused to perform with less than a 15-piece band or downscale his arrangements. The '90s saw such new releases as Road Band, Country Blues, and Blue Eyes Plays Ol' Blue Eyes, but later in the decade, Zentner was diagnosed with leukemia. Admirably, Zentner kept performing up until six months prior to his passing, on January 31, 2000 in Las Vegas. 
(Compiled and edited mainly from,Wikipedia & AllMusic)

Monday, 11 June 2018

Pookie Hudson born 11 June 1934

Thornton James "Pookie" Hudson, ( 11 June 1934 - 16 January 2007) was the lead singer of one of the finest doo-wop groups of the 1950s, the Spaniels.  

The warm singing on his own composition "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" (1954) is truly romantic and, although the Spaniels lost sales to a bland cover by the McGuire Sisters, their original version has become the best known and is heard in such films as Three Men and a Baby (1987), Diner (1982) and American Graffiti (1973). Hudson's singing has been praised by James Brown and Jerry Butler, while Aaron Neville has commented, "Pookie had the hippest style of all the doo-wop singers. He was so smooth and tender. Gerald Gregory would be leaning over Pookie's shoulder with that deep voice. He'd shake the room."  

Thornton James Hudson was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1934 but the family moved to a housing project in Gary, Indiana, when he was two. He acquired the nickname of Pookie because he would regularly soil his trousers, a name that unfortunately stayed with him. His relations included Fats Waller and Josephine Baker and he became immersed in music at a young age, loving the vocal harmonies of the Ink Spots. He sang in church and in his late teens he was singing in clubs as part of the Three B's, their repertoire being bop, ballads and blues.  

A teacher at Roosevelt High School asked him to form a group for a Christmas show and he was so pleased with the results that he formed a close harmony group with himself as lead vocalist, Ernest Warren (first tenor), Opal Courtney Jnr (baritone), Willis C. Jackson (baritone) and Gerald Gregory (bass). When Gregory's wife joked that they sounded like a bunch of dogs, they became the Spaniels.

Vivian Carter and Jimmy Bracken, the owners of a local store, Vivian's Record Shop, borrowed $500 to convert a garage into a recording studio. They could spot talent and the first two releases on their Vee Jay label, in July 1953, were "Roll and Rhumba" by Jimmy Reed and "Baby It's You" by the Spaniels. "Baby It's You", written by Hudson and Gregory, was taken up by Chance Records, who released it nationally and it made the R&B Top Ten. Carter became the group's manager and soon they were touring the United States.


When Hudson was walking home from a girlfriend's house, the idea for "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" came to him. The Spaniels recorded the song in 1954 and it might have been a million-seller had it not been covered by a white group, the McGuire Sisters. The song crossed over to the country market with a version by Johnnie and Jack.

The DJ Alan Freed closed his rock'n'roll show every night with the Spaniels' version and, when they played the Apollo Theatre in New York, they stole the show from Big Joe Turner. They appeared in Las Vegas but had to be housed with black residents as none of the hotels would allow them to stay there. 

"Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" may be an innocent song, but Hudson was to have a complex love life. He married a 15-year-old girl when he was 20 and, over the years, he was to marry five times and father seven children. He had to beat off the advances of LaVern Baker, who was "too pushy" for his tastes. He talks frankly about himself in the 1994 biography of the Spaniels, Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight, by Richard G. Carter. The book explains how he was cheated out of his songwriting royalties and describes his fondness for illegal substances.  

The Spaniels had further successes with "Let's Make Up" and "You Painted Pictures" (both 1956), but the group's personnel changed because of conscription. Hudson was usually around and they recorded a gospel ballad, "(You Gave Me) Peace of Mind" (1956), and had another hit with "Everyone's Laughing" (1957).

Among their more unusual records are an up-tempo version of the standard "Stormy Weather" and a reworking of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "People Will Say We're in Love" with a different melody. They strayed into the Coasters' territory with "The Posse". 

Hudson went solo in 1961. After working odd jobs for many years and struggling with alcoholism also being homeless for a time, he succeeded in recovering most of his song writing credits and by the end of the decade was a fronting a Spaniels line-up which embraced soul music and had some success with "Fairy Tales" (1970). 

In 1991 the Spaniels received a Smithsonian Institution award for their contribution to American music, and they performed with Hudson at various festivals. In 2005, Hudson came to the UK for a vibrant solo performance at a rock'n'roll festival at Hemsby. 

Hudson died on January 16, 2007, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Courtney, Jr. died on September 18, 2008, after suffering a heart attack. Ernest Warren died in May 2012 in Gary, Indiana, at the age of 78. (Info mainly edited from The Independent obit)

Here's the original group performing on "Spaniels night" - 3-1-97

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Jackie Wilson born 9 June 1936

Jack Leroy "Jackie" Wilson Jr. (June 9, 1934 – January 21, 1984) was an American soul singer and performer. A tenor with a four-octave vocal range, he was nicknamed "Mr. Excitement", and was important in the transition of rhythm and blues into soul. He was considered a master showman, and one of the most dynamic and influential singers and performers in R&B and rock 'n' roll history 

Jackie Wilson was born Jack Leroy Wilson in Detroit, Michigan, the only child of Jack and Eliza Wilson from Columbus, Mississippi. He grew up in Highland Park, Michigan. He started singing at the age of 6. At 12 he joined the "Ever Ready Gospel Singers". They became very popular in Detroit's black churches. Truancy during high school landed him in the Lansing Correctional Institute. 

While at Lansing he took up boxing. His Mother Eliza, not a boxing fan, made him pursue a much more promising career, Singing! In 1953, Wilson made music his career, joining Billy Ward and his Dominoes as the group's lead singer; he was brought in to replace Clyde McPhatter and sang with them for three years. The biggest hit Jackie had with the Dominos was "St Therese of the Roses", reaching number 13 on the charts in 1956.

Wilson launched his solo career in 1958 with Brunswick Records and soon had a minor hit with "Reet Petite," co-written with Berry Gordy, Jr and Roquel "Billy" Davis. Gordy/Davis also co-wrote Wilson's major pop and R&B smash hits "To Be Loved," "That's Why," and "I'll Be Satisfied," and his top R&B and pop hit classic "Lonely Teardrops." Wilson appeared in the film Go, Johnny, Go singing "You Better Know It." Deciding that Wilson should not limit himself to singing rock and roll, Nate Tarnopol (Jackie's manager) had veteran band leader and Decca arranger Dick Jacobs produce most of Jackie's recordings from 1957 through 1966. Jacobs knew Jackie could sing and revelled in all styles, so he combined him with huge orchestral accompaniments.  

Performing engagements at major Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York nightclubs and recording a variety of material, including bland pop material and classical adaptations such as "Night," "Alone at Last," and "My Empty Arms," Wilson suffered through intrusive arrangements and critical neglect in the early '60s. Nonetheless, he scored four two sided crossover hits in 1960-1961 with "Night"/"Doggin' Around," "All My Love"/"A Woman, a Lover, a Friend," "Alone at Last"/ "Am I the Man," and "My Empty Arms"/"The Tear of the Year." "Night" was a pop smash, while "Alone at Last" and "My Empty Arms," were near pop smashes. "Doggin' Around" and "A Woman, a Lover, a Friend" were top R&B hits. 

By 1961 Jackie was involved with Harlean Harris, a former girlfriend of Sam Cooke and an  Ebony magazine fashion model while at the same time having a relationship with a Juanita Jones. February 15, 1961, Jones shot Wilson twice as he returned with Harris to his Manhattan apartment. Despite his wounds, Wilson made it downstairs where he was taken to the Roosevelt Hospital. Life saving surgery was performed followed by weeks of medical care. Wilson lost a kidney and would carry the bullet that was too close to his spine to be removed, around for the rest of his life.  

A month and a half later Jackie was discharged and, apart from a limp and discomfort for a while, he was quickly on the mend. He discovered that despite being at the peak of success, he was broke. Around this time the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seized Jackie's Detroit family home. Tarnopol and his accountant were supposed to take care of such matters. At the time Jackie had declared annual earnings of $263,000, while the average salary a man earned then was just $5,000 a year. Yet the fact was he was nearly broke. Fortunately Jackie made arrangements with the IRS to make restitution on the unpaid taxes and to re-purchase the family home at auction. 

However, his wife's patience had finally run out due to Jackie's notorious philandering and she filed for divorce. Jackie didn't contest it and so their thirteen year marriage was annulled in 1965. Freda was granted the house, $10,000 and a modest $50-per-week for each of their four children. For the rest of her life Freda regretted seeking the divorce and, moreover, Jackie still treated her as though she was still his wife.  

Although he continued to have hits over the following years, Wilson didn't have another major pop and smash R&B hit until he began recording in Chicago with producer Carl Davis. Under Davis, Wilson staged a dramatic comeback with "Whispers (Getting Louder)," and the classic "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," a top R&B and smash pop hit, and "I Get the Sweetest Feeling." Wilson recorded with Count Basie in 1968 and managed his last near smash R&B and moderate pop hit with "This Love is Real" in the late '70s. He was subsequently relegated to the oldies revival circuit, despite having continued R&B hits.  

On the night of September 29, 1975 While playing Dick Clark's oldies show at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Wilson was stricken with a massive heart attack. One of the first to reach Jackie was Cornell Gunter of the Coasters group who immediately noticed he wasn't breathing. Gunter applied resuscitation and got him breathing again. An ambulance quickly got him to the nearby hospital where he remained in a coma for over three months.

Jackie gradually improved to the stage of semi-coma state, but obviously he had suffered severe brain damage and, at 41, a tremendous career was ended. Although he never uttered another word, he remained clinging to life for a further eight and a quarter years. He remained hospitalized until his death on January 21, 1984, at the age of forty-nine. 

Jackie Wilson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

(Info edited from various sources, mainly