Wanda Jackson

Singer / Songwriter

Born: 20 October 1937
Birthplace: Maud, Oklahoma
Best known as: The "Queen of Rockabilly"
Wanda Jackson is a pop singer best known for her hits of the late 1950s and early '60s, songs that blended country music and early rock'n'roll and earned her the nickname "The Queen of Rockabilly." Wanda Jackson grew up in Oklahoma City and Bakersfield, California, and began singing professionally at an early age. Jackson had her own radio show in Oklahoma at the age of 13, and earned her first record contract at the age of 17. She toured with Elvis Presley in 1955, and he encouraged her to switch from traditional country music to the new, faster style of rock'n'roll. For the next five years she had hit records and wowed audiences with her strong voice and natural stage presence as one of the few women performers in rockabilly. Her hits included "Fujiyama Mama," "Mean, Mean Man" and "Let's Have a Party," but as rockabilly faded from fashion, Jackson went back to singing country tunes. She piled up more hit records, including "Right or Wrong" and "A Woman Lives For Love," and was known for her sharp songwriting abilities as well as her "fiery woman" persona. She and her manager-husband Wendell Goodman became Christians in the 1970s, and Jackson began recording gospel songs, though still performing her old rock songs while touring. Famous internationally, she was a hit in Japan (even recording a Japanese version of "Fujiyama Mama") and an even bigger hit in Europe, especially Germany, where she had the hit "Santo Domingo." In recent years Jackson has been recognized as a pioneer in rock music, and now she's in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Collaborating with Jack White (of White Stripes fame), Wanda Jackson released a new album in 2011, The Party Ain't Over, featuring ramped-up country tunes and covers of songs by Bob Dylan and Amy Winehouse.
Extra credit: Wanda Jackson is also known as "The First Lady of Rockabilly" and "The Queen of Rock."

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