Vintage Video: Jackie Wilson on the Ed Sullivan Show, 1961

On this date 32 years ago, January 21, 1984, Jackie Wilson died at the age of 49.

Wilson had been in a comatose state for over eight years, ever since the night of September 29, 1975. Jackie was performing in Dick Clark's Good Ol' Rock and Roll Revue in Cherry Hill, NJ and was performing the song Lonely Teardrops when he suddenly collapsed to the stage. Legend has it that he was singing the words "my heart is crying" when he fell.

While those in the audience, at first, thought it was a part of the act, Clark ordered the music to start and the Coasters' Cornell Gunter rushed to the stage where he gave Wilson CPR until an ambulance arrived. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he was stabilized but his brain had been deprived of oxygen leaving him in a coma.

The next year, he regained consciousness enough to try taking a couple of steps but soon fell back into a semi-comatose state where he remained for the ensuing years. He finally died on this day in 1984 after developing a case of pneumonia.

It was also on January 21 twenty-three years earlier in 1961 that Wilson appeared on the Ed Sullivan show singing two songs, The Greatest Hurt and That's Why (I Love You So).


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