Before Elvis, there was Jackie Wilson. The King of Rock and Roll even incorporated some of Wilson’s dance moves into his own repertoire. He was a forerunner to today’s stars like Justin Timberlake, who can grab an audience’s attention just by moving around a stage during a song. It was a combination of an aura of unshakeable confidence and smooth moves that made people’s jaws drop. This video is a prime example.
This man owned the stage during his 1962 performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”. You can see his athleticism – he made a name for himself first as a boxer before he started show business. He’s got full charm on display, unabashedly winking at the camera at certain points during his rendition of “That’s Why (I Love You So)”. He shows why he got his “Mr. Excitement” moniker with this performance.
Wilson was such an influential performer, showing some amazing dance moves that could rival Elvis and influenced both James Brown and Michael Jackson later on. The really cool thing? He did those moves that we see here in the clip in a suit. You try wearing a business suit and doing what he did. Then again, I could wear ANY outfit and not even come CLOSE to his level of talent. I think I’d pull a muscle or 30.
The way the later years of his life wound down was a real tragedy. Wilson, the man who people called “Mr. Excitement” had a heart attack on stage and wound up living the last nine years of his life in a semi-comatose state. Those feet, the ones that seem to float on the stage in this Ed Sullivan clip, were confined to a bed. That just goes to show you that life can be unfair to anyone, no matter how rich or famous.
Did you ever get to see Wilson play live? What was it like seeing him up close? Tell us all about it in the comments section. We’d love it if you “Like” us on Facebook.
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