Wanda Jackson is known as the “Queen of Rockabilly” and credited by many as the first woman to ever record a rock ’n’ roll record. She has shared stages with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis — and whether she’s singing rock, country, rockabilly or gospel, it’s her distinctive raspy voice that has always defined her sound.
“I was the first girl to jump in and do this new music that came to be known as rock ’n’ roll,” says Jackson. “It was 1956 when I began singing this kind of material, and I was alone. Before that, most girls were singing ballads, and there weren’t many girls singing at that time. So it stood out.”
Now, more than half a century later, the 73-year-old singer is back on the scene with “The Party Ain’t Over.” Released last month, the album was recorded at Jack White’s studio and released on his label, with the help of his backing band.
“We called Jack to see if he’d be interested in doing a duet with me on an album,” says Jackson. “He said no, he didn’t do things like that, but that he would like to record me on his record label. Jack and I began exchanging ideas and songs. He is more of a current artist and very popular and he knows what people would like these days more than I would.”
Actually, the party never stopped
While Jackson appreciates her newfound respect, don’t call it a comeback. “I’ve never quit touring,” Jackson says. “And as far as recording, I’ve been recording all along as well. This particular record, however, has drawn so much attention that people are calling it a comeback record. But it really isn’t.”