Higher And Higher - The Life And Soul Of Jackie Wilson

Paul Gambaccini presents a series chronicling the life of singer Jackie Wilson.

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Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Reet Petite2006121220080908

The story of the Detroit entertainer who started singing blues and gospel on street corners.

Jackie Wilson talks about his early boxing career from an archive interview shortly before his heart attack in 1975, before moving full time into music.

He quickly progressed to singing with Billy Ward and the Dominoes in 1954.

A solo career soon beckoned and Motown Records founder Berry Gordy penned Jackie's first string of hits including the classic Reet Petite and To Be Loved, which reached no 22 in the UK charts in 1958.

Legendary soul A&R man Johnny Otis talks about spotting the young Sonny Wilson, as he was known, and Otis Williams of the Temptations describes Jackie Wilson's dynamic stage persona.

Biographers Tony Douglas and Doug Saint Carter talk about these early years, and friend Simon Rutberg describes a meeting between 'The Black Elvis Presley and The White Jackie Wilson' as the two men joked when Elvis met Jackie in the mid-fifties.

US soul historian Robert Pruter relates stories of Wilson's drug addiction and womanizing which led to a jealous ex-lover shooting Jackie in 1961.

02Lonely Life2006121920080915

A look at how Jackie Wilson recovered from his shooting incident in 1961, his complicated love life and the start of his financial problems.

We hear from singer Linda Hopkins who actually performed with Jackie the night he was shot, and her duets with him including Shake a Hand in 1963.

Jackie was still a hit maker in both the soul and R&B charts as well as crossing over to a white audience with songs such as Lonely Life, I'm Coming on Back to You and Baby Workout.

At this point Jackie experienced a bit of a career dip, despite an exhausting live schedule.

One recording that showed Jackie as a consummate performer was Danny Boy, and some close associates explain just what made this rendition so great.

Biographer Doug Saint Carter explains how racial discrimination affected Jackie when he toured the Southern States of America, and how the Mob entered Jackie's life when it came to his business affairs.

03Mr Excitement2007010220080922

In 1966, Jackie's career took an upturn when he moved from New York to Chicago to team up with soul producer Carl Davis making some of his most successful records.

It was (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher that was to put Jackie back at the top of the charts, and Davis remembers the origins of that song and how he went about getting the best performance from Jackie in the studio.

Plus contributions from Count Basie Orchestra trombonist Bill Hughes, Otis Williams of The Temptations and friend Simon Rutberg.

04 LASTNo More Lonely Teardrops2007010920080929

Wilson performs in the UK, while the IRS chase him for unpaid taxes.

He starts playing the oldies circuit when he collapses on stage in 1975 and goes into a coma.

Contributors including Chicago soul producer Carl Davis, singers Otis Williams, Allen Toussaint, Sugar Pie DeSanto and Sam Moore and biographers Tony Douglas and Doug Saint Carter define the Jackie Wilson legacy.

6M0120090421

Paul looks at Jackie's early days in gospel music.

Paul Gambaccini recalls the career of R 'n' B, soul and pop sensation Jackie Wilson, starting with his early days in gospel music.

6M0220090422

Jackie Wilson's love life, money troubles and experiences with racial discrimination.

Paul continues with a look at Jackie's love life, money troubles and the racial discrimination he suffered.

Featuring extracts from a 1975 interview.

6M0320090423

Higher And Higher: The Life And Soul Of Jackie Wilson: (3/4) Paul Gambaccini recalls the career of R&B, soul and pop sensation, Jackie Wilson.

The series continues by recalling his work with Carl Davis, which resulted in his career defining 1967 hit (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.

A look at his 1967 hit (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.

Paul Gambaccini recalls the career of soul singer Jackie Wilson and looks at his work with Carl Davis, which resulted in his 1967 hit (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.

6M04 LAST20090424

Higher And Higher: The Life And Soul Of Jackie Wilson: (4/4) Paul Gambaccini recalls the career of R&B, soul and pop sensation, Jackie Wilson.

The series concludes by recalling his UK appearances, trouble with the taxman and his collapse on stage in 1975, after which he lived in hospital until his death in 1984.

Paul Gambaccini concludes his profile with a look at Wilson's UK appearances.