Al Wilson (singer)

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Al Wilson
Al-wilson-soul-singer.jpg
Background information
Birth name Allen LaMar Wilson
Born (1939-06-19)June 19, 1939
Meridian, Mississippi, United States
Died April 21, 2008(2008-04-21) (aged 68)
Fontana, California, United States
Genres R&B, soul
Occupations Musician
Years active 1959–2008
Labels Rocky Road, Playboy, RCA, Wilsong
Associated acts The 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]

Year Album Chart positions[8] Record label
US US
R&B
1968 Searching for the Dolphins Soul City
1973 Weighing In Rocky Road
Show And Tell 70 9
1974 La La Peace Song 171 35
1976 I've Got a Feeling 185 43 Playboy
1979 Count the Days Roadshow
"—" denotes the album failed to chart

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Record label
US US
R&B
2001 Spice of Life Classic World
2004 Show & Tell: The Best of Al Wilson Fuel 2000
"—" denotes the album failed to chart

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart positions[9]
US US
R&B
US
A/C
UK[10]
1967 "Who Could Be Lovin' You"
"Do What You Gotta Do" 102 39
1968 "The Snake" 27 32 41
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" 1 10 3
1974 "Touch and Go" 57 23 43
"La La Peace Song" 30 19
"I Won't Last a Day Without You"/"Let Me Be the One" (medley) 70 18 39
1976 "I've Got a Feeling (We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again) " 29 3 38
"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. 
  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]