Mississippian soul vocalist who placed nine singles on the R&B chart, including the 1973 number one pop hit "Show and Tell."
Best remembered for the number one pop hit "Show and Tell," soul singer Al Wilson was born June 19, 1939 in Meridian, Mississippi. From childhood forward he was singing professionally, and by the age of 12 was leading his own spiritual quartet and singing in the church choir, even performing covers of country & western hits as circumstances dictated. While he was in high school, Wilson and his family relocated to San Bernardino, California, where he worked odd jobs as a mail carrier, a janitor, and an office clerk, in addition to teaching himself to play drums. After graduation he spent four years touring with Johnny Harris & the Statesmen before joining the U.S. Navy and singing with an enlisted men's chorus. After a two-year military stint, Wilson settled in Los Angeles, touring the local nightclub circuit before joining the R&B vocal group the Jewels; from there he landed with the Rollers, followed by a stint with the instrumental combo the Souls.
In 1966, Wilson signed with manager Marc Gordon, who quickly scored his client an a cappella audition for Johnny Rivers. The "Secret Agent Man" singer not only signed Wilson to his Soul City imprint, but also agreed to produce the sessions that yielded the 1968 R&B smash "The Snake." The minor hit "Do What You Gotta Do" appeared that same year, but Wilson then largely disappeared from sight until 1973, when he issued the platinum-selling Weighing In -- the album's success was spurred by the shimmering "Show and Tell," a Johnny Mathis castoff that sold well over a million copies. "The La La Peace Song," released in 1974, proved another major hit, and two years later, "I've Got a Feeling We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again" peaked at number three on the R&B chart. With 1979's "Count the Days" Wilson scored his final chart hit, however, and he spent the next two decades touring clubs and lounges. In 2001 he re-recorded his classic hits for the album Spice of Life. Kidney failure took his life on April 21, 2008.
"Honor the past, don't just remember it." Dizzie Gillespie
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