Rockabilly Singer Wanda Jackson

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on April 4, 2004

I would like to know about Wanda Jackson.

—Vernon B., Tennessee

The rockabilly princess, who growled the 1960 hit song Let’s Have a Party, has a new album called Heart Trouble that features guest artists Elvis Costello, Rosie Flores and Dave Alvin. A native of Maud, Okla., (pop. 1,136) Jackson has been singing and performing since she was a child. “My mother used to ask me to go outside a little while and play with somebody because I was getting on her nerves singing and playing the piano,” she recalls with a laugh. She started out as a country music artist, until Elvis Presley told her she should try rock ‘n’ roll. She recorded both country and rock hits over the years, concentrated on gospel music in the ’70s and never stopped performing. Rockabilly revivalist Rosie Flores asked Jackson to sing on her album in 1985. That led to a wildly successful tour across the United States and new recognition for Jackson, 66. “I thought I’d be slowing down. Instead I’m enjoying this big revival in America and I’m basking in all this glory and enjoying it.” She and her husband live in Oklahoma City, where she can be close to her two children and four grandchildren.