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Master Vocalist Jackie Wilson Feels ‘The Greatest Hurt’ On ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ Clip

The clip shows the extraordinary vocal agility and range of the peerless entertainer known as ‘Mr. Excitement.’

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Jackie Wilson - Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Jackie Wilson - Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A new clip on the official Youtube channel of The Ed Sullivan Show features the singular balladeering talents of the man fondly known as “Mr. Excitement,” Jackie Wilson.

The monochrome video has Wilson’s performance of “The Greatest Hurt” on the January 21, 1962 edition of the hallowed variety series. It’s an opportunity to admire the extraordinary vocal agility and range of the masterful entertainer from Detroit, particularly as he steers the torch song, written by Gary Geld and Peter Udell, to its climax with remarkable expertise.

Jackie Wilson "The Greatest Hurt" on The Ed Sullivan Show

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Geld and Udell, a prolific songwriting team, had written other songs recorded by Wilson, notably the 1961 single “The Tear Of The Year.” Their other copyrights included such well-known numbers as “Warmed Over Kisses (Left Over Love),” a 1962 hit for Brian Hyland, and “Ain’t Gonna Wash for a Week,” which became a UK Top 20 hit for English duo the Brook Brothers.

Wilson was a frequent visitor to the Sullivan show, appearing on this edition along with Robert Goulet, Kate Smith, and Wayne & Shuster. He had, by then, been a major name in R&B and pop music for some five years, from his first chart entry in 1957 with “Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want to Meet).” That song became one of his signature hits, but was much more successful internationally than in the US on first release.

Wilson made his first pop Top 10 appearance in America in 1958 with “Lonely Teardrops” and was rarely out of the bestsellers for the next decade. “The Greatest Hurt” was his 25th pop chart entry in little more than four years, entering the Hot 100 just before the Sullivan appearance, which helped it to a No.34 peak. The B-side “There’ll Be No Next Time,” another ballad, made No.75 in its own right.

Billboard’s review of “The Greatest Hurt” noted: “Sock [i.e. forceful] emotional impact by Wilson on feelingful bluesy rockaballad. Could be a big one for the chanter.” It added of “There’ll Be No Next Time”: “Wilson wails with heart and sincerity on moving rockaballad. Also a strong side. Watch them both.”

Watch all the latest archival videos from The Ed Sullivan Show on the program’s official YouTube channel.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Charles Merc

    August 7, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    Hello –
    The Question nobody can answer yet. Maybe YOU?

    On the Ed Sullivan Show, what ‘rock song’ did Opera star Beverly Sills sing? It was a great moment on TV, she seemed to enjoy singing a rock song from that genre.

    But what song did she sing???? I believe it was in the black & white days of Ed Sullivan shows.

    Hope to hear back!
    Charles

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