Rockabilly icon Wanda Jackson has announced that she will be retiring from her live performances permanently at the age of 81. Jackson, who has spawned hits such as “Tears Will Be the Chaser for Your Wine,” “A Woman Lives for Love” and “Fancy Satin Pillows,” stated that the decision is caused by her concerns for her health sand safety.
“This retirement is solely based on health and safety,” a statement posted to Jackson’s Facebook reads. “It has been a wild ride. Thank you all for all the years of continued fandom and support. This is not the end, just the beginning of a new chapter. Join us as we congratulate the Queen of Rockabilly on over six decades of rip roaring live performances, priceless stories and countless shimmies.”
Jackson began her career in the late 50s, yet grew up in a musical household. She explains that her love of music was inspired by her father and that from a young age it was what she aspired to do as a career.
“I loved it (music) and it was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” Jackson explained in an interview with Elvis Australia, an international Elvis Presley fan club. “When I was about 12 or 13, I played guitar with my friends at parties. I went to a radio station to try out for a show, and they let me go on. Through that, I won a contest I think it was. That and the radio show gave me a lot of very good experience.”
Although Jackson is considered a “rockabilly,” artist, which is a more roots oriented version of rock that draws heavily from blues and country, she was never a fan of the term. She explains that it was originally derogatory and was used in a similar fashion to the word hillbilly.
“It was the artist that wore a guitar and… (Laughs) It’s a hard term to explain!” Jackson began in the same interview. ” Elvis was called ‘the hillbilly cat’, so we think that by him having the guitar, and the word ‘hillbilly’ was the word for country music – that wasn’t used because you’re ‘hillbilly music’. None of us liked that word.”
Although it was announced that Jackson would be making an album with Joan Jett in 2018, it is unknown, given the recent announcement if it will ever come into fruition.
Read her full statement below:
After over 60 years of touring, Wanda Jackson wishes to announce her retirement from performing. This retirement is solely based on health and safety. It has been a wild ride. Thank you all for all the years of continued fandom and support. This is not the end, just the beginning of a new chapter. Join us as we congratulate the Queen of Rockabilly on over six decades of rip roaring live performances, priceless stories and countless shimmies.
All of this being said, Wanda will not be making appearances at either Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend nor the Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender. In true rockabilly spirit, please still go out to these shows and keep the spirit of rockabilly alive.