Sometimes happens. In contemporary times, some stand out more than others. Some make history and others, by gender or luck, go unnoticed by the general public, even though they were renowned on specialized circuits.
When someone names ‘The King’, we all have a face to associate with that title. Today I would have turned 81. On this day, Elvis Aaron Presley came to the world, in the bosom of a humble family in the town of Tupelo, located in the state of Mississippi. Little remains to be said that has not already been said of the bestselling author such as Burning Love O In the Ghetto, who made TCB (Taking Care of Business) his life slogan. But was there a ‘queen’ at that time? There was, but very few knew about it.
It was called Wanda Jackson. His voice was hard, ragged, the kind that looks like they’ve been drinking and smoking nonstop all night. One of those who move the skeleton with mischief and complicity, in tune with their black hair. Hence his strength and character. Wanda Lavonne Jackson arrived on October 20, 1937. In that house in Maud, Oklahoma, the first female rockabilly to kiss success was born since the mid-1950s. Her father, Tom Robert Jackson (also a musician), was the one who introduced little Wanda in music by giving her a guitar, taking her to concerts and educating her culturally. His first dive was made by The Brazos Valley Boys, Hank Thompson’s group, the first to catch his eye after listening to it on the KLPR radio station. He invited her to sing, and she agreed. Thus, they recorded the odd song, but producer Ken Nelson stopped both of them because “girls don’t sell records,” Nelson pointed out. So Wanda got the hint and signed with Decca Records to continue her path to her coronation.
She was always there. Wanda was next to Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis – geniuses of the time – but at home they never recognized what was hers, as his greatest successes and compliments came from Europe, Asia and Australia. In 1958 came his hit, his best-known song, the one that opened the doors of pop music: Let’s Have a Party.
Rockabilly, country, husband, gospel, motherhood… It appeared and disappeared from the charts. She twirled with Elvis (some say they even did more than that), but little was said about her. It was only The King and his hips that filled all the reviews. She was never where she deserved. Although it has always been praised by later generations. In his day, you file and archive everything Adele dared to assure that without Wanda Jackson it could be Rollin’in the Deep would never have existed. Imelda May I’m listening Fujiyama Mama and since then he has always claimed her as a reference and an example to follow. Jack White fell at his feet to share the odd song and record an album under the Third Mand Records label, the house of the ex-husband of the model Karen Elson. Wanda Jackson tiptoed through her glory years, but those who followed her knew how to value her and position her where she deserved. “In the 1950s it was not common to hear a woman with a ragged voice singing in a world dominated by men,” singer Imelda May once commented. Maybe Ken Nelson was right, and it wasn’t a hit time for that girl from Oklahoma.
The last thing he published was a cover album in 2011, with different versions such as the famous Rum and Coca Cola de The Andrews Sisters, o You Know That I’m no good by Amy Winehouse. But this tastes little. Wanda, go back to what is yours. Because to Caesar, always, you have to give what is Caesar’s.