Sunday, March 4, 2007

Jackie Wilson said....

OK then…. If Carlos Santana uses his guitar as if it were Dionne Warwick’s voice (see previous post), and if Van Morrison uses his voice as if it were a tenor sax (which he does), then Jackie Wilson uses his voice like a great alto saxophonist.

This is nowhere more clear than on the Gordy/Carlo/Gordy song “To Be Loved.”

“To Be Loved” was Wilson’s second single, sandwiched between “Reet Petite” in 1957 (which reached #11 on the R&B charts and #62 on the Billboard Pop charts), and “Lonely Teardrops” (which hit #1 on the R&B charts and #7 on the Pop charts) in November of 1958. “To Be Loved” entered the Billboard Pop charts in April of 1958 and made it to #22 (it didn’t make the R&B charts).

Someone to care,
Someone to share,
Lonely hours
And moments of despair,

To be loved, to be loved!
Oh, what a feeling,
To be loved!

Someone to kiss,
Someone to miss,
When you're away
To hear from each day.

To be loved, to be loved!
Oh, what a feeling,
To be loved!

Some wish to be a king or a queen,
Some wish for fortune and fame,
But to be truly, truly, truly loved
Is more than all of these things!

To be loved, to be loved
Oh, what a feeling,
To be loved!

It’s the note he hits on “…loved!” It just soars, and he rolls into it without a hint of trepidation. It’s like some link between love and freedom is forged in the fire of that note. I’ll bet it’s what caught the imagination of the short and angry Irishman:

Da, da, da, da, da,
Jackie Wilson said
It was
Kinda love you got
Knock me off my
Let it all hang out
Oh, let it all hang out.

And you know
I'm so wired-up
Don't need
no coffee in my cup
Let it all hang out
Let it all hang out.

Watch this:

Almost ten years later, in 1967 at the close of his career as a significant artist, Wilson hit #1 again on the R&B charts (and #6 on Pop) with “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me (Higher and Higher)” and I am certain it was the very same love that was being invoked, not just on this song but on that first world wide satellite broadcast as well and The Beatles’ live performance of “All You Need Is Love” (34) and all the other songs in that year’s Top 100:

84. “Gimme Some Lovin” Spencer Davis Group
83. “Somebody To Love” Jefferson Airplane
73. “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” Aretha Frankin
66. “Standing In The Shadows Of Love” The Four Tops
62. “Words Of Love” The Mamas And The Papas
60. “Your Precious Love” Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell
59. “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” Johnny Rivers
58. “Baby I Love You” Aretha Franklin
40. “Dedicated To The One I Love” The Mamas And The Papas
36. “Please Love Me Forever” Bobby Vinton
27. “Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” The Supremes
20. “I Was Made To Love Her” Stevie Wonder
16. “Never My Love” The Association
1. “To Sir, With Love” Lulu

If that seems like a whole lot of love, remember it was the Summer of Love.

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