A performance by the incomparable Jackie Wilson from the archives of The Ed Sullivan Show has been shared on the official YouTube channel of the famed variety series.
The R&B master is seen giving an impassioned interpretation of “Forever and a Day” on the edition broadcast on May 27, 1962. Wilson was a frequent visitor to the show, and appeared on this occasion along with fellow guests Connie Francis and comedian-actor Red Buttons.
The melodramatic “Forever and a Day,” written by Al Kasha and Hank Hunter, opened the 1962 Brunswick LP Jackie Wilson Sings The World’s Greatest Melodies. It was accompanied by such tracks as “Take My Heart,” “(You Were Made For) All My Love,” and “My Empty Arms,” the latter a Top 10 pop hit for Wilson in 1961. The album, produced by Natt Tarnopol and Harry Goodman, featured the great performer with chorus and orchestra conducted by Dick Jacobs, and its liner notes even included a reference to the Sullivan Show.
“We won’t attempt to explain or define that magic spark that separates the countless good singers from the precious few great ones,” ran the notes. “Some say it’s the rare ability to ‘reach’ everyone in the audience individually; some call it showmanship, others call it ‘heart.’
“It’s awfully hard to pin down, but not at all difficult to recognise. Jackie Wilson has it. Ed Sullivan and his vast TV audiences have seen it; the sophisticated patrons of New York’s posh Copacabana saw it, and practically brought the house down over Jackie; and countless fans the world over have seen it and made him one of the most fabulously popular singing stars of our time.”
Nevertheless, when “Forever and a Day” was released as a single some weeks after Wilson’s rendition on the show, it climbed only to a modest No.82 on the Billboard Hot 100, and failed to make the R&B chart at all. But by March of 1963, Wilson was back on top, as his next single “Baby Workout” became a new career highlight, an R&B No.1 and pop Top 5 success.
Watch all the latest archival videos from The Ed Sullivan Show on the program’s official YouTube channel.