The soul man they called “Mr. Excitement” is getting his own street. Jackie Wilson, the R&B star who was a major influence on so many other performers with his dynamic stage presence and remarkable, four-octave voice, is to have a marker in his name in his birthplace of Detroit.
The city of Highland Park in Metro Detroit, Michigan, has announced in conjunction with the Jackie Wilson Foundation (run by his daughter, Brenda Wilson) that a block of Cottage Grove Street, just off Woodward, is to be renamed Jackie Wilson Lane.
“He was one of the most important singers of his time,” says Mayor Hubert Yopp. “People come from all over the world to see Motown, to see where the Temptations practiced. Jackie Wilson actually grew up on Cottage Grove. Our city is growing, it’s kind of starting over. This will help us promote our city.” Yopp has a personal connection to the singer, as he went to Highland Park High School with Wilson’s sister, Joyce.
The renaming ceremony will take place at 6pm this Saturday (20), inside the studios of WHPR-TV in Highland Park. David Washington, who presents WPON’s 20 Grand Revue, will host the occasion, and Mayor Yopp will speak. A number of the singer’s surviving children are due to attend, as is Mary Wilson of the Supremes, who will be in the city to host the following evening’s induction ceremony for the Official Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame, in Dearborn.