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Where Are They Now: Wanda Jackson

The original “Fujiyama Mama” wailed to the rockabilly beat–but now she’s moved by a stronger power

Wanda Jackson, Fender Kingman guitar

Singer and guitarist Wanda Jackson poses for a portrait session sitting on a well holding a Fender Kingman acoustic guitar, circa 1975.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

In the late Fifties and early Sixties, Wanda Jackson made red-hot rockabilly records like ”Fujiyama Mama,” ”Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad” and ”Let’s Have a Party,” as well as the ballad ”Silver Threads and Golden Needles.”

Her feral vocal stylings were considered by some to be too hot for the market to handle, and Jackson later toned down her act, recording country songs in Nashville. ”On June the sixth, 1971,” Jackson says, ”my husband and I received Christ personally.” She became a born-again gospel singer.

Wanda Jackson is now 47; her husband, Wendell Goodman–a former IBM programmer whom she married in 1961–manages her and is the president of Wanda Jackson Enterprises. The couple live in Oklahoma City and have a son and a daughter, both in their early twenties.

Jackson says she appears at ”one-night revivals, singing and giving testimony” in churches all over the U.S. She also performs secular concerts–although she won’t work in nightclubs. ”I’m a Christian first and foremost; I go wherever I feel that the Lord would have me go,” she says about her secular concerts. ”The appeal is to a different type of audience than in my church work, but I get to give my testimony to the Lord in these places, so it works out fine.”

She makes occasional trips to Europe, where her rockabilly records are well known. Jackson has no problem with her dual career. ”I can sing rockabilly in order to tell people about my relationship with Christ and how it’s changed my life–that’s the purpose of my singing these days.”

In This Article: Coverwall, Wanda Jackson

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