Jackie on Shindig! (Part Two)

On June 30, 1965 (Episode 42), Jackie shared the Shindig! spotlight with his friend Jerry Lee Lewis after first performing three songs on his own.

After being introduced as the show’s star, Jackie performs “I’m So Lonely.” (Yes, it is Billy Preston, who sometimes played with the Shindig! house band, on the keyboards.) Jackie is attired in a beautiful suit, probably specifically so that he can remove that jacket as part of the performance. Catch Jackie’s winks at the 1:55, 3:14, and 3:32 marks of the tape. Berry Gordy Jr said that Jackie always winked on the beat.

Watching this the first time the summer before I entered college (yes, I was once young!), I clawed the arms of my chair when Jackie went into that back-bend split with his jacket clenched in the hand of his support arm (2:14). I thought for certain he would crash to the floor—or, as we said in those days, “wipe out.”

About four and a half minutes into this video, Jackie sings “No Pity (In the Naked City),” which host Jimmy McNeill announces as Jackie’s latest recording. Jackie has gone as casual in dress as he can and still remain in a suit. Check out the spectator loafers as he does a tricky balancing act on that ridiculous pedestal.

Later in the show (12:07) we are back to the ultra casual in a truly uninspired Henley for “That Is Why (I Love You So).” Jackie doesn’t seem completely comfortable wearing it, tugging at the front of it. Just as the segment begins, there is a wonderful moment of Jackie looking at the cameraman as if to say, “Are you sure you are with me?”

[Note: The segments on the tape are out of order from the way they appeared when they first aired. The Jerry Lee Lewis number described below is the show’s finale. Although it appears on the above video above at 8:10, the number is cut short on there, so it is better viewed on the following video.]

For the program’s finale, Jackie’s good friend Jerry Lee Lewis got everyone into “A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On.” Jerry Lee Lewis, like Elvis Presley, was a major admirer of Jackie Wilson.

Jerry Lee kicks off at 2:36, and Jackie comes out to sing a verse at 3:57, then joins Jerry Lee and James Burton (“The Master of the Telecaster”) on the piano top at 4:32. The visual impact of those three rocking and wailing up there is immense. I wish I had a wall-size poster of that moment. This finale was rock and roll at its finest hour. If one could only scrape those rolling credits off the screen!

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