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"Lonely Teardrops"
Lonely Teardrops by Jackie Wilson (US single, orange label, side A).png
One of side-A labels of the US single
Single by Jackie Wilson
from the album Lonely Teardrops
B-side"In the Blue of the Evening"
ReleasedNovember 17, 1958
Genre Rhythm & Blues
Label Brunswick
Producer(s) Berry Gordy
Jackie Wilson singles chronology
"To Be Loved"
"Lonely Teardrops"
" That's Why (I Love You So)"

"Lonely Teardrops" is a song written by Berry Gordy Jr., Gwen Gordy and Roquel "Billy" Davis, first recorded and released as a single in 1958 by R&B singer Jackie Wilson, [1] on the Brunswick label. The single was commercially successful, reaching the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100, and number-one on the R&B chart. It is ranked as the 57th biggest U.S. hit of 1959. [2]

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame named it one of "Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". [3] In 1999, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. "Lonely Teardrops" was also ranked #315 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2011). [4]

Song information

Written by Berry Gordy Jr., [5] Gwendolyn Gordy (Berry's sister) and Roquel "Billy" Davis, going under the pseudonym Tyran Carlo, the single, alongside Wilson's debuting five consecutive singles between 1957–58, turned Wilson into an R&B superstar and influenced the later careers of Davis, who joined the staff of Chess Records while Gordy used the money from the song's success to form Motown Records within a year. The song raced up to number one on the Billboard R&B chart and became Wilson's first top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, eventually peaking at number seven. According to Wilson, it was originally intended by Gordy to be recorded as a ballad. After recording it, Wilson and Brunswick executives felt the song lacked something. It was then given to veteran Decca Records arranger Dick Jacobs who re-arranged it into the smash hit it became. [6][ better source needed]

The hit's success helped land Wilson on American Bandstand and The Ed Sullivan Show performing to receptive audiences on the respective shows, as well as other shows such as Shindig and Hullabaloo.

This was the last song Jackie Wilson performed. He collapsed on-stage from a heart attack, while he was in the middle of the phrase, "My Heart is Crying", while appearing as one of the feature acts in Dick Clark's 'Good Ol' Rock and Roll Revue' in 1975.

Cover versions

Covers of the song have also appeared in several films: Michael McDonald covered the song in the early 1990s and his version was used in the film Leaving Las Vegas. It was also covered by Howard Huntsberry, who portrayed Wilson, for the 1987 biographical movie about Ritchie Valens, La Bamba, and Huey Lewis's performance of the song in the 2000 karaoke-themed film Duets was also released as part of the film's soundtrack.


Chart (1958–59) Date Position
US Billboard Hot 100 February 9–16, 1959 [8] 7
US Billboard R&B March 1959 1

See also


  1. ^ Video of the original Jackie Wilson version on Video on YouTube
  2. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1959/Top 100 Songs of 1959". Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  3. ^ "The 660 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll - Music - Forums". Best Ever Albums. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  4. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2011)". Rolling Stone. April 7, 2011. Archived from the original on January 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "Show 17 - The Soul Reformation: More on the evolution of rhythm and blues. [Part 3] : UNT Digital Library". Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  6. ^ "Jackie Wilson - The Man Behind The Music - Rare Interview". YouTube. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  7. ^ David Gonzales. "Mr. Lonely - Victor Wood | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  8. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart - 9 February 1958". Billboard. Retrieved October 31, 2020.

External links