Jackie Wilson’s tribute to Al Jolson

26 05 2010

In 1961, Jackie Wilson recorded a tribute album to Al Jolson,  “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet,” which included the album liner notes below – and which were the only liner notes he ever wrote for an album:

To my way of thinking, the greatest entertainer of this or any other era is the late Al Jolson. Even as a child, I can remember the thrill I always experienced whenever I heard him sing. I guess I have just about every recording he’s ever made, and I rarely missed listening to him on the radio. It’s truly unfortunate that television couldn’t have benefited by his talents. Regrettably, I’ve never had the privilege of seeing him perform in person. But even to this day, I am still one of his most avid fans.

During the three years I’ve been making records, I’ve had the ambition to do an album of songs which, to me, represent the great Jolson heritage. I never thought that this ambition would take shape this soon, but thanks to my manager, Nat Tarnopol, without whose faith and foresight I might never be writing this now, my dream has finally become a reality.

With the assistance of conductor-arranger Dick Jacobs, we set about selecting the songs to be recorded. The problem wasn’t so much the choice of only twelve songs, but rather which twelve of the many hundreds of songs that are so closely identified with Jolson should be included. Once this decision was made, the rest was comparatively easy, and the result is “You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet!”

In no way is this album an attempt to imitate Jolson’s style, nor is it an attempt to duplicate his incomparable way with a song. This is simply my humble tribute to the one man I admire most in this business. With the sincere hope that my contribution will in some way help keep the heritage of Al Jolson alive through the great songs he left behind.

Let me here and now extend my deep appreciation to all those involved in making this album a proud moment for me. I hope you like it!


Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson suffered a stroke and collapsed on stage on September 29th 1975, at the age of 41. He was performing on the Dick Clark Traveling Road Show while singing “Lonely Teardrops.” He remained in a coma for the next 8 1/2 years and passed away on January 21, 1984.

You Made Me Love You


Sonny Boy

Rock-a-bye Your Baby

My Yiddishe Momme

Keep Smiling at Trouble

Our House

For Me and My Gal

California Here I Come

April Showers

Anniversary Song


This is a clip of Dick Clark discussing Wilson after he died and showing one of his early performances:




5 responses

3 02 2011
W. Byron

Thanks so much for posting this! Jackie Wilson is in my absolute top #5 singers of all time, and yet, I’ve never gotten to heard this album, even after reading about it several times as I am a big fan of both Jackie and the great Jolson. I appreciate you posting the liner notes and the tracks- it does not go unnoticed.

19 05 2011
Travis Joles

Jackie did not die on stage in 1984, at the age of 49. He suffered a stroke and collapsed on stage on September 29th 1975, at the age of 41. He was performing on the Dick Clark Traveling Road Show while singing Lonely Teardrops.

He remained in a coma for 8-1/2 years afterwards, totally comatose. He only woke up one time for a few brief seconds, only to slip back into a vegetative state for the remainder of his life. He never uttered one word in the entire 8-1/2 years he was hospitalized.

One of his closest friends, Elvis Presley, set up a fund to take care of Jackie while he was hospotalized. One month after he slipped into his coma, his mother slipped into a diabetic coma, and died. His only son was accidentally fatally shot (being at the wrong place, at the wrong time) during a gang fight.

Jackie passed away on January 21, 1984, in Mount Holly, NJ, at Burlington County Memorial Hospital. The official cause of death was listed as pneumonia. To top all his bad luck off, he was accidentally buried in an unmarked grave in Detroit, though it was later corrected in 1987.

14 08 2011
lans ross

Jackie Wilson is the greatest r&b/soul singer of all time…period. the way he could sing “jolson” and not to mention his many rock nroll, soul & pop hits from Night, Doggin’ Around, Baby Workout, Lonely Teardrops, Whispers, he did “supper club standards”…this man put out a christmas lp, a blues lp, about 4-5 lps of standards: “worlds greatest melodies”, spotlight on JW; Body & soul”; “By Special Request” and even a live LP at the COPA, singing for a middle of the road, las vegas type market (at the time) and this was risky given the Beatles would soon invade the USA, and Motown and Stax weren’t playing, either, yet…..ONLY Jackie Wilson had the magnitude of talent to pull it off. I don’t know of any other artist since who has released a gospel LP “Shake a Hand”, blues, christmas and Jazz LP (Count Basie) Totally unheard of. He was Mr. Excitement and in a special class all his very own….the great Jackie Wilson!

26 07 2014
Steve Q

Lonely Teardrops is a song I frequently sing at karaoke shows. I love the song and love the way it turns out. It is so popular a song that people ask me all the time to perform it. I must admit though; that the last note is a bit high; but once in a blue moon I do nail it and wow does it feel great when I do.
The crowd loves the song and I always mention at the end, that its dedicated to Mr. Excitement; Jackie Wilson.
You da man Jackie.😁

24 11 2014
Tommy Monahan

He WAS the greatest..My favorites are ” Night “, ” To Be Loved ” and ” Talk That Talk”..His version of Danny Boy is outta this world…R I P ” Mr. Excitement
Tommy Monahan

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