Famous Okies: Wanda Jackson

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Posted at 9:08 AM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 10:08:33-04

Wanda Jackson is a singer-songwriter and she's a famous Okie!

Born on October 20, 1937, as Wanda LaVonne Jackson, she was the only child born to her parents in Maud, Okla. Jackson grew up around music because her father played in a band with his brother.

Jackson would grow up singing along with her father and was first introduced to the guitar when she was six years old. The Jacksons would move to Oklahoma City several years later.

While living in Oklahoma City, Jackson would become more involved in music in her church and other local opportunities to perform. She would eventually audition for the local radio station, KPLR, and won a contest to have her own show.

She would attend Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City while continuing her stint in radio. During one of her shows, she was heard by Hank Thompson who would invite her to perform with him.

Jackson's time with Thompson would launch her career in country music. Thompson would help her secure a record deal with Decca Records. Jackson would go on tour with Elvis Presley who would encourage her to try the rockabilly style of music.

Soon after, Jackson would sign with Capitol Records and transition to her signature rockabilly mixed with country style. She would record her biggest hits there, including "Fujiyama Mama," "Mean Mean Man," and the top 40 hit "Let's Have a Party."

In the 1960s, Jackson reverted to the country genre and had several charting singles during the decade. She later left Capitol Records in 1973 and signed with Word Records to focus more on the gospel circuit when she rediscovered Christianity.

With a career spanning decades, Jackson has released 44 studio albums, including several live albums of her performances. She released her final studio project in 2021 due to ongoing health issues.

Jackson is considered to be among the first women to have a career in rock and roll. She's been dubbed "The Queen of Rockabilly" due to her influence.

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