Reet Petite

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"Reet Petite"
Jackie Wilson Reet Petite.jpg
Original U.S. issue of "Reet Petite"
Single by Jackie Wilson
from the album 'He's So Fine'
Released August 1957
Format Vinyl record 45rpm (7"), 78rpm (10")
Length 2:40
Label Brunswick US (1957) 9-55024
Coral UK (1957) Q 72290
SMP UK (1985) SKM 3
BR Music Belgium (1985) 1245095
Columbia US (1987) 07329
Carrere France (1987) 72012
Songwriter(s) Berry Gordy, Roquel Billy Davis, Gwen Gordy Fuqua
Producer(s) Dick Jacobs
Jackie Wilson singles chronology
"One Moment with You"
"Reet Petite"
"To Be Loved"
"One Moment with You"
as Billy Ward & the Dominoes
"Reet Petite"
"To Be Loved"

"Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl in Town)" (originally subtitled "The Finest Girl You Ever Want to Meet") is a song made popular by Jackie Wilson. It was his first solo hit after leaving the Dominoes and, over the years, has become one of his biggest international chart successes.


The song was written by Berry Gordy, Gwen Gordy Fuqua and Wilson's cousin Roquel "Billy" Davis[1] (though credited under his pseudonym Tyran Carlo on the record) and produced by Dick Jacobs, and its title was taken from the Louis Jordan song "Reet, Petite and Gone". It was Jackie Wilson's first recording as a solo artist. The song peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1957 and reached #6 on the UK Singles Chart. With the success of the song, Gordy was able to fund the launch of Motown Records.[2]

The song was reissued in 1986 following the showing of a clay animation video on the BBC Two documentary series Arena.[3] The video was directed by Giblets, a London-based animation studio.

The reissued version proved so popular that in December 1986, almost three years after Wilson's death, the song became a No. 1 in the UK for four weeks (selling over 700,000 copies), some 29 years after its chart debut.[4] This was the record for the longest time between a song's debut on the chart and it reaching number one, until it was overtaken by Tony Christie's "(Is This the Way to) Amarillo" in 2005.[citation needed]

The clay animation video used was only ever meant for a showreel, thus one verse was cut out of the song on the music video.[citation needed]

Track lists[edit]

Side Title Length
Original release
A "Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want to Meet)" 2:40
B "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" 2:17
1986 re-release
A "Reet Petite (The Sweetest Girl in Town)" 2:40
B1 "You Brought about a Change in Me" 2:46
B2 "I'm the One to Do It" 2:34


Chart Date Position
Billboard Hot 100 September 1957 #62
United Kingdom November 1957 #6
United Kingdom November 1986 #1 (4 weeks)[4]
Ireland December 21, 1986 #1 [5]
The Netherlands February 14, 1987 #1 (2 weeks)[6]
Switzerland March 8, 1987 #3 [7]
Austria March 15, 1987 #3 [8]
France April 11, 1987 #24 [9]
Germany March 1987 #4 [10]
Norway February 1987 #5 [11]
New Zealand May 31, 1987 #4 [12]

Cover versions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stichting Nederlandse Top 40, 500 nr.1 hits uit de Top 40, page 235, 9023009444 (Book in Dutch)
  2. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 25 - The Soul Reformation: Phase two, the Motown story. [Part 4]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries. 
  3. ^ "NUMBER ONE'S OF THE EIGHTIES: 1986 Jackie Wilson: Reet Petite". 2009-07-26. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  4. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 470. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ Jaclyn Ward. "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  6. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 7, 1987". Retrieved March 10, 2008. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  8. ^ Steffen Hung. "Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  9. ^ Steffen Hung. "Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  10. ^ "INFINITY CHARTS: German Top 20". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. "Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. "Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  13. ^ "Long Way To The Top". Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  14. ^ "Reet Petite - DINAH LEE (1964) - Pop Archives - Sources of Australian Pop Records from the 50s, 60s and 70s". Pop Archives. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Merry Christmas Everyone" by Shakin Stevens
UK Christmas Number One single

Reet Petite


Succeeded by
"Always on My Mind" by Pet Shop Boys
Preceded by
"Caravan of Love" by The Housemartins
UK number one single
December 21, 1986
Succeeded by
"Jack Your Body" by Steve 'Silk' Hurley