Al Wilson (singer)

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Al Wilson
Al-wilson-soul-singer.jpg
Background information
Birth nameAllen LaMar Wilson
Born(1939-06-19)June 19, 1939
Meridian, Mississippi, United States
DiedApril 21, 2008(2008-04-21) (aged 68)
Fontana, California, United States
GenresR&B, soul
Occupation(s)Musician
Years active1959–2008
LabelsRocky Road, Playboy, RCA, Wilsong
Associated actsThe Jewels, The Rollers, The Souls, Johnny Rivers
 
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This article is about the singer. For other people of the same name, see Al Wilson (disambiguation).
Al Wilson
Al-wilson-soul-singer.jpg
Background information
Birth nameAllen LaMar Wilson
Born(1939-06-19)June 19, 1939
Meridian, Mississippi, United States
DiedApril 21, 2008(2008-04-21) (aged 68)
Fontana, California, United States
GenresR&B, soul
Occupation(s)Musician
Years active1959–2008
LabelsRocky Road, Playboy, RCA, Wilsong
Associated actsThe Jewels, The Rollers, The Souls, Johnny Rivers

Allen LaMar "Al" Wilson (June 19, 1939 – April 21, 2008)[1] was an American soul singer known for the million-selling #1 hit, "Show and Tell". He is also remembered for his Northern soul anthem, "The Snake".

Career[edit]

Wilson was born in Meridian, Mississippi.[1] He showed little interest in education but performed in school plays, sang in talent shows and won first prize in a local art contest.

He began his career at the age of twelve leading his own spiritual quartet and singing in the church choir, and performing covers of country and western hits. While he was in high school, Wilson and his family relocated to San Bernardino, California,[2] where he worked odd jobs as a mail carrier, a janitor, and an office clerk, in addition to teaching himself to play drums. After graduation he spent four years touring with Johnny Harris and the Statesmen, before joining the U.S. Navy, and singing with an enlisted men's chorus.[1] He also developed his stand-up comedy routine in case he did not succeed as a singer.

After a two-year military stint, Wilson settled in Los Angeles, touring the local nightclub circuit before joining the R&B vocal group the Jewels; from there he landed with the Rollers, followed by a stint with the instrumental combo the Souls. In 1966, Wilson signed with manager Marc Gordon, who quickly sought his client an a cappella audition for Johnny Rivers. Wilson was signed to the Soul City imprint, but Rivers also produced the sessions that yielded the 1968 U.S. R&B hit single "The Snake" (U.S. Pop #27), which became popular on the Northern Soul circuit in the United Kingdom. It also provided Wilson with his only UK Singles Chart hit, reaching #41 in 1975. The minor hit "Do What You Gotta Do" appeared that same year. In 1969, Wilson charted with his cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Lodi" (U.S. #67), and Rivers' own "Poor Side Of Town" (U.S. #75).

Wilson largely disappeared from sight until 1973, when he issued Show And Tell — the album's success was matched by the single "Show and Tell", which sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in December 1973.[3]

"The La La Peace Song", released in 1974, proved another hit although O. C. Smith also recorded a version and sales suffered as a result. Two years later in 1976 Wilson recorded "I've Got a Feeling We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again" for Playboy Records which reached #3 in the R&B chart. He tried to leave Playboy Records, but was unable to get a release from his recording contract. Two years later the label folded. With 1979's "Count the Days" Wilson scored his final chart hit, however, and he spent the next two decades touring clubs and lounges; in 2001 he re-recorded his hits for the album Spice of Life.

In March 2007 many of his original master tapes were lost to a fire that swept through his home garage he had converted into a recording studio.[4][5]

Wilson's recording of "The Snake" was featured in a Lambrini advert in the UK.[6]

Death[edit]

Wilson died on April 21, 2008 of kidney failure, in Fontana, California, at the age of 68.[1] He was buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Riverside, California.[7]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

YearAlbumChart positions[8]Record label
USUS
R&B
1968Searching for the DolphinsSoul City
1973Weighing InRocky Road
Show And Tell709
1974La La Peace Song17135
1976I've Got a Feeling18543Playboy
1979Count the DaysRoadshow
"—" denotes the album failed to chart

Compilation albums[edit]

YearAlbumChart positionsRecord label
USUS
R&B
2001Spice of LifeClassic World
2004Show & Tell: The Best of Al WilsonFuel 2000
"—" denotes the album failed to chart

Singles[edit]

YearSingleChart positions[9]
USUS
R&B
US
A/C
UK[10]AUS
1967"Who Could Be Lovin' You"
"Do What You Gotta Do"1023938
1968"The Snake"273241
1969"Poor Side of Town"75
"I Stand Accused"106
"Lodi"67
1970"Mississippi Woman"
"Bachelor Man"
1971"I Hear You Knocking"
"Falling (In Love with You)"
1972"Heavy Church"
"Born on the Bayou"
1973"Show and Tell"1103
1974"Touch and Go"572343
"La La Peace Song"3019
"I Won't Last a Day Without You"/"Let Me Be the One" (medley)701839
1976"I've Got a Feeling (We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again) "29338
"Baby I Want Your Body"28
"You Did It for Me"
1979"Count the Days"84
"Earthquake"
"—" denotes the single failed to chart

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Accessed April 2010.
  2. ^ , Dahl, B. "Liner Notes" Show & Tell: the best of Al Wilson, Fuel 2000 Records, 2004
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 339. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  4. ^ Pe.com
  5. ^ Tribute to Al Wilson. Accessed 24 April 2008.[dead link]
  6. ^ "Lambrini – Just Wanna Dance". www.tvadmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Al Wilson at Find a Grave
  8. ^ "Al Wilson US albums chart history". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-02-023.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ "Al Wilson US singles chart history". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 
  10. ^ "Al Wilson UK chart history". chartstats.com. Retrieved 2011-02-23. 

External lists[edit]