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Jackie Wilson: Lonely Teardrops [Paperback]

Tony Douglas
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 21, 2005 0415974305 978-0415974301
To his many fans, he was known simply as "Mr. Excitement," a singer whose music and stage presence influenced generations of performers, from Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson. Jackie Wilson: Lonely Teardrops looks at the life and career of this deeply troubled artist. Published briefly in a limited edition in the United Kingdom, this Routledge edition makes available this definitive biography for Wilson's legions of fans. Also includes two 8-page photo inserts.

Editorial Reviews


Brims with the reminiscences of Wilson's former wives and lovers, fellow musicians, bodyguards, and others. This is the portrait of a bigger-than-life personality.
Benjamin Segedin, Booklist

A tremendous read. Four stars (highest rating).
–Q Magazine

Jackie was one of the most extraordinary performers with whom I've ever worked... Thanks so much, Tony, for helping to tell the world of his contributions.
–Dick Clark

About the Author

Tony Douglas is a writer/researcher on black American music. He lives in Australia.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (May 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415974305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415974301
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,623,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From the author June 26, 2005
Jackie Wilson whose honey-rich falsetto-tenor voice had thrilled millions throughout the world died in January, 1984; aged 49. For the preceding eight years and four months he had been in a vegetable-like state. He never uttered a word since suffering a heart attack while performing at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in September, 1975. Yet another indignity awaited Jackie. After a well-publicized funeral attended by around 1,500 relatives, friends and fans he was buried in an unmarked grave in his home city of Detroit. Effectively his burial was that of a pauper. Jackie was born in June, 1934. Using the name Jackie Wilson, he would reach the top of his chosen vocation - as a singer and performer. From humble origins he would grow up to become known around the world for his soaring and impassioned singing style and unequalled stage routine. His USA chart successes amounted to 55 Top 100 and 24 Top 40 hits. He was admired and emulated by many entertainers including Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Jackie's mother was a powerful influence on him. As Jackie was her only son, she doted on him. School wasn't for Jackie, he was an habitual truant. This was to land him in trouble and, twice, to detention in the Lansing Correctional Institute. There he learned how to box and he was skilled proponent. He even considered becoming a professional boxer. Jackie sang from the age of six and from his adolescent years he would sing both gospel and blues on the street. Even then could sing in perfect key and enriched many a soul with his voice. In his early teens Jackie formed a quartet, the Ever Ready Gospel Singers Group, which became a popular feature of churches in the district. Jackie wasn't religious, he just loved to sing and the cash came in handy for purchasing cheap wine. Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Distorted Facts July 14, 2006
I was very disapointed with this book. I purchased it with the intention of learning more about the singer for a feature article I am working on. When I did some fact checking with family members, including Harlene, and people whom he recorded and worked with, it became apparent that many facts were omitted. Was the writer's intent merely to sell books rather than tell a story based on a balanced view of facts? I don't know. After doing a little digging myself, this book to me comes off like a tabloid, not a biography.

However, it does give way for a more balanced and factual based story which hopefully someone will tell some day.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chock Full of Information and Problems July 31, 2006
There is no doubt that Tony Douglas is a loyal Jackie Wilson fan. He has gone through extraordinary lengths to speak with the majority of the key role players in Jackie Wilson's life. However, the book is sloppily presented and filled with a number of glaring inaccuracies. For example, Elvis signed a picture of himself and Jackie, "You got yourself a friend for life." The picture is actually in the book. Yet, Douglas misquotes what Elvis wrote. There is no excuse for this. It calls into question other questionable passages by the author. In another part of the book, Douglas transcribes, "mark" instead of "mock." From the context, it was evident that the speaker meant and said the latter. In another display of sloppiness, Douglas repeatedly repeats certain passages throughout the book. One gets the impression that he thoroughly researched the topic, but just assembled, somewhat haphazardly, the information in the most convenient manner possible. I noticed that he seemed to take sides in the dispute over the Wilson estate. In all fairness, he should have quoted the other side's position, even if he disagreed with it. On the whole, because I was able to filter out the fiction from the non-fiction. In the interest of good taste and preserving Jackie's dignity, Douglas should have exercised his editorial powers and not included some rather disgusting quotes from those purportedly taking care of the incapacitated Wilson during his final days. In not doing so, Douglas commits an unpardonable crime. Unfortunately, most who read this book are not as well versed on Jackie Wilson's life to perform this task. Consequently, they will walk away with a jaundiced view of the greatest entertainer of the 20th century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too much excitement May 15, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is said at the end of this book that Jackie Wilson was destroyed by the career he had chosen. I disagree. He destroyed himself. All the people that described him as the greatest singer and performer seemed not to challenge his shabby lifestyle and non support of his children or the many lives destroyed by his promiscuity and adultery. To think nothing about the inconsiderate women who knew he was married and disrespected that bond from the beginning. This book illustrates a man who seemingly thought that there was no end to himself, but as it happens it did come to an end. Jackie Wilson is mentioned very little today and almost forgotten in some circumstances along with his era. This brings to mind the scripture, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul. Great talent, greater wasted life, how sad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique August 30, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a fantastic book. It's amazing to think that so much about Jackie Wilson could have been lost had author Tony Douglas not stumbled upon his work of passion assembling this.

The book is a refreshing read, it's both structured in a linear fashion and discombobulated in the randomness of the stories relayed by those who knew Jackie. Some may not like the sort of "stream of consciousness" in the writing, but I think it really lends itself to how the information was gathered, presented, and to a lesser extent, what sort of impact it has upon the author.

There is not much editing or editorialising going on, just an opportunity for the reader to share the experiences of those who knew Jackie and the man who compiled it all into this book. You can tell how the stories were gathered from the notes and memories of those who knew Jackie. It gives a very personal feel to the whole thing.

This is a must-read for any music historian or musician looking to understand the roots of popular music today. It is chillingly relevant.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great book
Makes for a good read. I highly recommend this book. I started reading and did not stop until I completed the book.
Published 1 month ago by Terrence Green
1.0 out of 5 stars A messy artistic life deserves better than this mess of a book.
Jackie Wilson is still brilliant to listen to, and he lived a sad, messy, out-of-control life. Off stage it was drugs, wild sex, mobsters, crooks and hangers on. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bradley S. Klein
5.0 out of 5 stars This book tells it all.
This was a great book. I only thought the writing should have been a little larger. It was worth the money and I will be reading it again. But I loved this book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Barbara J. Arnold
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BOOK
This book is very good, it really get into the details of how Jackie Wilson was.He had a lot of issues in his life and the drugs did not help him at all. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Eloise East
1.0 out of 5 stars jackie wilson
sorry i bought - could not get past first two pages. also the type of print used is not reader friendly if ones eyes are not the best. Read more
Published on April 14, 2012 by 38plus
4.0 out of 5 stars The Era of Mister Excitement
A great read of a man who represented what a star was all about. Despite all the hardships Jackie Wilson endured, Mister Excitement held true to his last performance of being a... Read more
Published on April 25, 2011 by Mister F
5.0 out of 5 stars PRAISE FOR MR. EXCITEMENT
I am a long time fan of Jackie Wilson, since the days of Alan Freed rock and roll
shows and Murray the K Brooklyn Fox holiday shows. Read more
Published on September 12, 2010 by irene brodsky
3.0 out of 5 stars Jackie Wilson - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
This will be a long review.

I've been a Jackie Wilson fan since I was a little girl. I was introduced to him through my father who grew up in Detroit with Jackie and... Read more
Published on May 10, 2010 by MeMyselfandI
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Biography of Soul Icon
This book deserves five stars because it is an intimate, insightful, and beautifully haunting tale of the story of one of soul's greatest architects. Read more
Published on February 7, 2010 by A. M. Murphy
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