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Wanda Jackson Interview

 

(CSC) 1. What a great honor to speak with you! Please tell us what’s NEW in the world of Wanda Jackson! Congrats on your recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame… LONG OVERDUE!

 

(Wanda Jackson)

The latest “Big Thing” in my life is learning of my induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this April. I’m in numerous other hall of fames around the world, which are also important and most appreciated, but we all know this is the “Big One”. I’m truly happy about it for the sake of my husband/manager, Wendell Goodman, who’s worked tirelessly for a long time to see this come about, and for my fans who have made a lot of noise for a long time about the fact that I wasn’t already in it! Thank ya’ll!

 

 

(CSC) 2. Growing up as a young girl in Oklahoma, what was daily life like for you and your family?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

I’ve had a Cinderella life, the only child of Nellie and Tom Jackson, who sacrificed a lot to make my dream of being a singing star come true. I wanted for nothing – they saw to that! God bless them – I owe it all to them!

 

 

(CSC) 3. What country artists influenced your musical tastes in the early days of your youth?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

When I was very young (five and six years old) my parents took me to see great performers and western swing bands like Hank Thompson, Bob Wills, Spade Cooley, Tex Williams, etc, but it was Rose Maddox who I loved best – she was feisty, dressed real flashy, and sang great – and that I wanted to be like. From then on I knew what I wanted to do.

 

 

(CSC) 4. Who first inspired you musically?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

Jimmy Rogers (my Dad’s favorite singer. He had a collection of his records, and those were the songs I learned to sing and play guitar by. My Dad taught me the guitar).

 

 

(CSC) 5. If you hadn’t pursued a career in the music business, what else could you picture yourself doing?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

I didn’t ever prepare for any other kind of career, so you see; I had to make it as a singer!

 

 

(CSC) 6. You toured with Elvis Presley in the early days of your career. What was that like working with him, and what did you learn from him?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

Elvis turned the world and the music business upside down with his “Rock-A-Billy” style. I loved being in on all the excitement around him. From him I learned to love the fans and respect them; also not to take myself too seriously and have fun on stage. I learned a lot!

 

 

(CSC) 7. Off-stage you dated Elvis Presley for a short period of time… How did you two first meet?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

We met on the first day I worked with him in July 1955.

 

 

(CSC) 8. Did you feel that you were welcomed into the Rock & Roll music community when you first started?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

I was the first and only girl singing this new style of music, so I had nothing or no one to compare myself to. But the guys made me feel welcome.

 

 

(CSC) 9. What can you recall from your experience of playing on the Grand Ole Opry?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

I was flattered to be asked to sing on the “Opry”, but it sure wasn’t a good experience for me; certainly not the kind of show I wanted to do, and I only performed there that one time.  Elvis had a similar experience there, I understand.

 

 

(CSC) 10. You’ve had the honor of hosting the legendary “Midnite Jamboree” at the Texas Troubadour Theatre. What was that like being able to return to Music City, Nashville, Tennessee and have a country-themed show backed by the Nashville musicians?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

They were so great to bring in pickers who had played on so many of my recordings – it was a reunion!

 

 

(CSC) 11. What other female artists did you become friends with in the Country Music business?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

Not many. I never moved to Nashville, so only those I worked with.

 

 

(CSC) 12. How have the audiences changed present time since you first began performing?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

They are more knowledgeable and appreciate more types of music now, and there is more interaction between audience and artist. I just love it, I really do!

 

 

(CSC) 13. You and your husband Wendell Goodman became Christians in 1971. Shortly after you left the secular music world and turned to Gospel. How were you able to connect with people through Gospel music?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

Simply by telling them what God had done in my life and the difference He made, and then singing a good gospel song that people love.

 

 

(CSC) 14. If you had the chance to record a album of classic duets with some of country music’s legendary female artists who are still active in the business, who would you call upon?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton, and Brenda Lee.

 

 

(CSC) 15. In closing, what do you want to share with the readers of this interview, and what would you like to be remembered for?

 

(Wanda Jackson)

a) I hope they will buy records or put songs on their I-pods and support the artists that truly keep their country music COUNTRY! b) The gal who loved to sing, loved to have fun, and loved the Lord!

 

 

For more information on Wanda Jackson, check out her official website here; http://www.wandajackson.com

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