26. Jackie Wilson
June 9th, 1934 (died January 21st, 1984)
Key Tracks "Lonely Teardrops," "That's Why (I Love You So)," "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher"
Influenced Al Green, Ben E. King, Bobby Darin, Michael Jackson
Jackie Wilson remains unmatched in the category of loosened-tie, high-energy rhythm & blues vocalists. The operatic drama in his voice, his on-the-beat phrasing and his clear, high range on late-Fifties hits like "Reet Petite" and "Lonely Teardrops" influenced everyone from Al Green to Elvis Presley. "Oh, God, was he exciting," says Sam Moore, of soul's dynamic duo Sam and Dave. "One time I was watching him from the wings at the Apollo, singing, 'You better stop . . . yeaahh!' — and he twists, jumps, falls into a split and slides back up holding the note — 'your doggin' around!' James Brown could do that, but he was a shouter. Jackie Leroy Wilson had a pure voice. He was a complete singer within himself."