Keeping the Blues Alive / Blues News  / Video of The Week – Wanda Jackson – The “Queen of Rockabilly”

Wanda Jackson – The “Queen of Rockabilly”

Wanda Jackson’s debut single, “You Can’t Have My Love,” reached the Top 10 while she was still a sixteen-year-old high school student. She hit the road after graduation, playing package shows with “Carl Perkins”, “Johnny Cash”, “Jerry Lee Lewis”, and “Elvis Presley”, who gave Wanda his ring and asked her to be “his girl.” With Presley’s encouragement, the Oklahoma native began recording rock music, often releasing singles with country on one side and rock on the other during her decade-and-a-half tenure on Capitol Records.

She showed the world that girls could rock!

Wanda Jackson combined grit with glamour to set a new template for country music’s “girl singers” of the 1950s.  Wanda showed the world that girls could rock!  She landed more than 30 singles on the country and pop charts between 1954 and 1974.  She is a multiple Grammy nominee, a recipient of the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and a 2009 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

Wanda Jackson has proven to be an enduring and genre-defying legend of American music. 

Known for her energetic stage shows and pioneering presence as a female artist, Wanda stormed the charts with a series of hit singles, including “Let’s Have a Party,” “Right or Wrong,” and “In the Middle of a Heartache.” With more than 40 albums to her credit, Wanda has proven to be an enduring and genre-defying legend of American music. 

She’s influential to every modern female singer, whether they know about her or not. She broke down those walls in the beginning, when it was the hardest to do.” —Jack White

Wanda Jackson is an original and a badass!  With her big hair and pitch perfect voice, she kicked open doors and didn’t look back!  What she was able to accomplish back in the day in a predominantly male world is truly impressive!  

In 2009, she teamed up with “Jack White” to record The Party Ain’t Over.

In 2009, she teamed up with “Jack White” to record The Party Ain’t Over. The album, released in 2011, marked Jackson’s first charting on the Billboard Hot 200 LP chart, peaking at number 58. The album also broke Mae West’s long-standing record for being the oldest female vocalist to make the chart with her 1966 album Way Out West.

Jackson was 73, being a year older than West, at the time. To promote The Party Ain’t Over, she performed with White on both the “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Conan.” 

Who She has collaborated with:

She has collaborated with “Elvis Presley”, “the Cramps”, “Jack White”, “Imelda May”, “Hank Thompson”, “Billy Gray”, “Rosie Flores”, “Norma Jean” and “Adele” on projects to name a few.  At 81, she’s still performing, collaborating and making appearances!

She’s working on a new release with Joan Jett

Lastly, she is in the process of working on new material with “Joan Jett” on a new album which is anticipated for a 2019 release.  One can only wonder what boundaries this album will teeter on!

For more information on this iconic woman, check out: http://www.wandajackson.com/  You can read her book:  ‘Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey To The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame”

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Photo Credits: Singer and guitarist Wanda Jackson poses for a portrait session sitting on a well holding a Fender Kingman acoustic guitar, circa 1975.  – Michael Ochs Archives/Getty