Wanda Jackson – the singer, guitarist & songwriter who became known as the “Queen of Rockabilly” – was born in Maud, Oklahoma on this day, October 20, in 1937.
In 1956, 19-year-old Wanda signed with Capitol Records and soon saw the release of her first single for the label: “I Gotta Know” b/w “Half As Good A Girl.”
Her first album for Capitol, Wanda Jackson, came out in July of 1958 and contained the song that – in 1960 – would become her biggest Top 40 Pop hit: “Let’s Have A Party.”
Rock journalist Ed Ward, writing in his excellent 2016 book, The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1, describes Wanda Jackson’s now-legendary talents: “Her powerful, brassy voice could – and did – belt out country music, but she also could – and did – rock like crazy.”
Listen for yourself!
“Let’s Have A Party” was written in 1957 by Jesse Mae Robinson and originally recorded by Elvis Presley for the movie Loving You.
Did you notice Wanda’s guitar in the picture above?
That’s a 1950 Martin D-18 acoustic guitar, hand painted and equipped with a sound-hole pick-up.
Here’s a close-up picture of that instrument, complete with Wanda’s guitar strap, from when it was on display as part of the recent Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Happy Birthday, Wanda Jackson! Hope the party is still going strong!