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Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl's Journey To The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: A Country Girl's Journey To The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

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Wanda Jackson's debut single, "You Can't Have My Love," reached the Top 10 while she was still a sixteen-year-old high school student. She hit the road after graduation, playing package shows with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley, who gave Wanda his ring and asked her to be "his girl." With Presley's encouragement, the Oklahoma native began rec Wanda Jackson's debut single, "You Can't Have My Love," reached the Top 10 while she was still a sixteen-year-old high school student. She hit the road after graduation, playing package shows with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley, who gave Wanda his ring and asked her to be "his girl." With Presley's encouragement, the Oklahoma native began recording rock music, often releasing singles with country on one side and rock on the other during her decade-and-a-half tenure on Capitol Records. Known for her energetic stage shows and pioneering presence as a female artist, Wanda stormed the charts with a series of hit singles, including "Let's Have a Party," "Right or Wrong," and "In the Middle of a Heartache." With more than 40 albums to her credit, Wanda has proven to be an enduring and genre-defying legend of American music. In Every Night is Saturday Night, Wanda tells her own story of getting discovered by Country Music Hall of Famer Hank Thompson; shy she refused to return to The Grand Ole Opry for more than fifty years; the challenges she and her integrated band, The Party Timers, faced in the early 1960s; finding the love of her life; her recent work with rock luminaries Jack White and Joan Jett; and how her deep faith has sustained her over more than seven decades of rocking, shocking, and thrilling audiences around the globe.


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Wanda Jackson's debut single, "You Can't Have My Love," reached the Top 10 while she was still a sixteen-year-old high school student. She hit the road after graduation, playing package shows with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley, who gave Wanda his ring and asked her to be "his girl." With Presley's encouragement, the Oklahoma native began rec Wanda Jackson's debut single, "You Can't Have My Love," reached the Top 10 while she was still a sixteen-year-old high school student. She hit the road after graduation, playing package shows with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley, who gave Wanda his ring and asked her to be "his girl." With Presley's encouragement, the Oklahoma native began recording rock music, often releasing singles with country on one side and rock on the other during her decade-and-a-half tenure on Capitol Records. Known for her energetic stage shows and pioneering presence as a female artist, Wanda stormed the charts with a series of hit singles, including "Let's Have a Party," "Right or Wrong," and "In the Middle of a Heartache." With more than 40 albums to her credit, Wanda has proven to be an enduring and genre-defying legend of American music. In Every Night is Saturday Night, Wanda tells her own story of getting discovered by Country Music Hall of Famer Hank Thompson; shy she refused to return to The Grand Ole Opry for more than fifty years; the challenges she and her integrated band, The Party Timers, faced in the early 1960s; finding the love of her life; her recent work with rock luminaries Jack White and Joan Jett; and how her deep faith has sustained her over more than seven decades of rocking, shocking, and thrilling audiences around the globe.

30 review for Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl's Journey To The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: A Country Girl's Journey To The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

  1. 5 out of 5

    BMR, LCSW

    For the fans, this is a GREAT memoir of the Queen of Rockabilly. I'm so grateful I got to see her here in Chicago many years ago. I wanted to hear more stories from her life on the road but...she was probably just tired of writing. Recommended for Wanda's fans, old school country and/or rockabilly fans, and fans of songwriter history. For the fans, this is a GREAT memoir of the Queen of Rockabilly. I'm so grateful I got to see her here in Chicago many years ago. I wanted to hear more stories from her life on the road but...she was probably just tired of writing. Recommended for Wanda's fans, old school country and/or rockabilly fans, and fans of songwriter history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Phil Overeem

    A delight. The spirit you hear behind "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad!" is present in every chapter here, and her collaboration with Bomar results in a sprightly, witty read. So many neat (and hilarious) revelations here. HIGHLY recommended. A delight. The spirit you hear behind "Hot Dog! That Made Him Mad!" is present in every chapter here, and her collaboration with Bomar results in a sprightly, witty read. So many neat (and hilarious) revelations here. HIGHLY recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tara Zamalynski

    I felt like Wanda was sitting next to me telling the story of her life. This was a lot of fun to read, although not too in depth I could appreciate the details given. Definitely skimmed through her chapters on God, but in the end it was a really delightful read about the Queen of Rockabilly!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    “As a little girl people would ask me, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I’d always tell them, ‘I want to be a girl singer,’” Wanda Jackson recalls in her new memoir written with Scott B. Bomar, “Every Night is Saturday Night.” “I don’t suppose I really could have been any other type of singer, but that’s what I told them.” And a girl singer she became, in pretty short order: By age 17 she was earning record royalties that in one month amounted to $1,226.56, and by age 18, in 1956, she h “As a little girl people would ask me, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I’d always tell them, ‘I want to be a girl singer,’” Wanda Jackson recalls in her new memoir written with Scott B. Bomar, “Every Night is Saturday Night.” “I don’t suppose I really could have been any other type of singer, but that’s what I told them.” And a girl singer she became, in pretty short order: By age 17 she was earning record royalties that in one month amounted to $1,226.56, and by age 18, in 1956, she had earned over $15,000 by year’s end. “That doesn’t sound very impressive now, but that’s the equivalent of nearly $135,000 in today’s dollars,” Jackson recalls. Not bad considering just a few years earlier Capitol Records had passed on her, with Ken Nelson of Capitol declaring, “Girls don’t sell records!” But Jackson did sell records, and delighted thousands of fans at countless live shows over the years — influencing so many up-and-comers along the way it that she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as any “Early Influencer” in 2009. That she’s not necessarily a household name today is a) a crime and, b) all the more reason why people should read this breezy, fascinating autobiography. Jackson, now 80, has an almost sing-songy writing style in “Every Night,” sounding not unlike a particularly sharp grandmother spinning tales from her youth, which is pretty much what she is. But the simplicity of the prose works for her, and the depth of the important relationships in her life — with her husband Wendall, her mother Vera and especially her father, Tom, who was her manager and protector during her early days on the road — couldn’t be clearer. The bulk of the memoir focuses on Jackson’s early career, including her days singing in school, and then winning a contest to host her own local radio show for a month — which was quickly extended when listeners tuned in, and which led to a call from legendary country singer Hank Thompson asking her to perform with him: “I said, ‘Gee, Mr. Thompson, I would love to, but I’ll have to ask my mother.‘ He cleared his throat. ‘Good grief girl, how old are you?″ I’m 14,’ I said, trying to sound as confident and grown-up as possible.” But while Jackson doesn’t scrimp on details, “Every Night” also isn’t a tell-all — particularly when it comes to Elvis Presley, whom she famously appeared with and dated briefly early in both of their careers. “There’s a lot more to Wanda Jackson than my experiences with Elvis Presley!” she declares in response to endless media interest in the topic, and though she literally writes that “a lady never kisses and tells,” her story of her first visit to Elvis Presley’s bedroom at age 17 is definitely a keeper. Elvis also was the first to convince Wanda to break out of her country comfort zone and into the rockabilly realm, which led to stardom in Japan, a comeback in Germany in the 1980s and her 2009 Hall of Fame induction, all of which Jackson relates with an apparent sense of wonder that it all actually happened, or that people still remember her music so fondly. Late in the book she tells of a 2006 show where she got a request for a dressing-room visit from Bruce Springsteen and his wife, Patti Scialfa, and assumed it had to be a prank. “I said, ‘Yeah, sure, send ‘em on back. When the president gets here, he can come, too!’” And even if she isn’t big on salacious details, she has plenty of unvarnished stories about challenges she faced, from early marriage problems — not the least of which was her husband’s jealousy over her long-ago relationship with Elvis — to the challenges of being a working performer and raising a family. “I don’t think I was a very good mother,” she admits, although she’s quick to point out that her kids disagree. She also speaks plainly about being born again in the 70s and how an affinity for proselytizing affected her as a performer. (“I never meant to be pushy, but looking back I realize I could have toned it down a bit,” she says.) Jackson also devotes space to the impressive third act of her career, including “The Party Ain’t Over,” her 2010 comeback album with Jack White of the White Stripes — “There was a shyness about Jack that kind of reminded me of Elvis,” she says — and her current project, a rock album with Joan Jett. But the best part of “Every Night is Saturday Night” may be how clearly it conveys how Jackson’s raw talent and unbridled determination turned her into a trailblazer. She may be of her time — she goes out of her way to say she’s not a feminist, per se — but her devotion to her craft makes her an inspiration to women performers in particular, right up through today, and beyond: It’s clear from the close of her memoir that for Wanda, the party still ain’t over.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Keith Albrecht

    A Book You Need To Read What a great book! It is very interesting, informative, and fun to read. No matter if you're interested in country, rock, or rockabilly music you need to read this book. Keith A Book You Need To Read What a great book! It is very interesting, informative, and fun to read. No matter if you're interested in country, rock, or rockabilly music you need to read this book. Keith

  6. 4 out of 5

    patrick Lorelli

    A wonderful book by who I think is the first Lady of Rock and Roll and Rockabilly. A story that will take you on an enjoyable ride with a woman who had a top10 at the age of 16 and had songs of empowerment for young women. Songs like “That made him Mad” “Hot Dog”, “Right or Wrong”, “In the Middle of a Heartache”. She takes you on her journey with the people that she met along the way from Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash to name a few. Why she only performed once at the Opry A wonderful book by who I think is the first Lady of Rock and Roll and Rockabilly. A story that will take you on an enjoyable ride with a woman who had a top10 at the age of 16 and had songs of empowerment for young women. Songs like “That made him Mad” “Hot Dog”, “Right or Wrong”, “In the Middle of a Heartache”. She takes you on her journey with the people that she met along the way from Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash to name a few. Why she only performed once at the Opry and did not like the way she was spoken to and was told to put something over her shoulders. She would not go back for decades. Her time when she went gospel and then went back out on the road in the 80’s when Rockabilly was becoming popular. She talks about how she was able to perform without all of the dancing and fireworks, but hold an audience with her voice, singing playing guitar and getting people out of the sits to dance. How it took a group of rockers to get her into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was surprised when Jack White wanted to record with her. She was also married to the same man for over 50 years. What I did not know was that she spent part of her childhood in Bakersfield, and that she recorded a lot out west because she did not like Nashville and the way you had to do things. There were so many things in her story that you just have to read it yourselves, better yet find her music and listen to her words and the music she was way ahead of her time. A very good read. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Wanda Jackson truly is one of the pioneers of rock music, with a unique voice and sound that have influenced many of today's musicians. With her new memoir, she brings her unique voice to the written word as well. She writes candidly without being a "kiss and tell" type ... which, considering that she dated Elvis Presley, might have been a temptation in different hands. Jackson describes her childhood and teenage years, not only in terms of music but social mores. When she began performing as a te Wanda Jackson truly is one of the pioneers of rock music, with a unique voice and sound that have influenced many of today's musicians. With her new memoir, she brings her unique voice to the written word as well. She writes candidly without being a "kiss and tell" type ... which, considering that she dated Elvis Presley, might have been a temptation in different hands. Jackson describes her childhood and teenage years, not only in terms of music but social mores. When she began performing as a teen, her father was her business manager and constant chaperone. Eventually, she met and married Wendell Goodman, who took over both roles. While Jackson expresses some regret about not digging more into the business aspects of the music industry, it becomes apparent that her love of performing was always her focus. Jackson is also candid about her hard-partying days, her faith conversion and how the pendulum swung hard in the opposite direction ... and her eventual re-centering during the rockabilly resurgence of the early 1980s. Jackson is now 80 years old and still performing. I highly recommend this entertaining memoir to her fans, as well as those interested in the early days of rock music.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    I love Wanda Jackson’s music. After hearing her self titled 2008 album (thanks to my rockabilly sister), I had to hear more. Wanda’s growling country twangs were unlike anything I had listened to before. She was an icon for future women in the music industry, and for country combining with glamour. This was a great book. The title “Every Night is Saturday Night” really matches her life story: a musical entertainer who always wanted to have a good time! Wanda has worked with and inspired a countl I love Wanda Jackson’s music. After hearing her self titled 2008 album (thanks to my rockabilly sister), I had to hear more. Wanda’s growling country twangs were unlike anything I had listened to before. She was an icon for future women in the music industry, and for country combining with glamour. This was a great book. The title “Every Night is Saturday Night” really matches her life story: a musical entertainer who always wanted to have a good time! Wanda has worked with and inspired a countless number of other musicians from Buck Owens to Jack White. I was surprised by some of the people she named! This was a fun biography to read because it felt like I was listening to a woman affectionately reminisce about the days behind her, yet smiling because she's not done yet! I am looking forward to hearing her play at Roots Revival this month. It'll be a big party with the Queen of Rockabilly! 7/26 - Wanda played wonderfully at the show in April! She went on at midnight and it was worth the wait. My daughter got to sit on stage and sing along to the songs. Wanda mentioned her book and I was kicking myself for not bringing it along!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Duncan McCurdie

    Ok so it's not the best book ever written but it is a sweet autobiography. I'm a sucker for reads like this and I love Wanda Jackson so take my rating with that knowledge. Not particularly revealing but it is nice to hear her thoughts and anecdotes on the different stages of her career. Maybe a book just for Wanda fans but they sure will love it. Ok so it's not the best book ever written but it is a sweet autobiography. I'm a sucker for reads like this and I love Wanda Jackson so take my rating with that knowledge. Not particularly revealing but it is nice to hear her thoughts and anecdotes on the different stages of her career. Maybe a book just for Wanda fans but they sure will love it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Newton

    I liked this book - like all rock or music bios it has its cringey spots but all in all it’s a great story of how an influential woman in music began her career.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Frank Acomb

    This is an inside look at the career of a legend. If you want to learn about the early days of Rock and Roll and what it was like being both a country artist and rock and roll artist at that time, its a must read. Even if you're not familiar with Wanda's music, you will be entertained by her career and life story. This is an inside look at the career of a legend. If you want to learn about the early days of Rock and Roll and what it was like being both a country artist and rock and roll artist at that time, its a must read. Even if you're not familiar with Wanda's music, you will be entertained by her career and life story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    I enjoyed. It was like a one sided chat with the star. Now that being said, it wasn’t all that great but it wasn’t all that bad either. I know that this is a trend to have a musician tell stories and then have a writer reconstruct them into a narrative. This is not a new method, and it is super personal so I am glad that they chose to have the book written this way. I think that I have a little bit of an advantage here too because I have had the pleasure of listening to a conversation/interview w I enjoyed. It was like a one sided chat with the star. Now that being said, it wasn’t all that great but it wasn’t all that bad either. I know that this is a trend to have a musician tell stories and then have a writer reconstruct them into a narrative. This is not a new method, and it is super personal so I am glad that they chose to have the book written this way. I think that I have a little bit of an advantage here too because I have had the pleasure of listening to a conversation/interview with her many years back. So I am blessed with having the luxury of hearing her voice in my head some of the time while reading the book. So there is that. About halfway through the book though I almost gave up. It was so so very conversational it was relentless and sometimes really rambling. A little more scene setting or history of a location would have been a little nice break. In my head all I could see was Wanda Jackson sitting at a tape recorder for hours and hours with no break just telling stories and someone sitting in front of her taking dictation... it almost became a distraction. So I put the book down, skipped chapters 15 and 16 and picked it back up again. I just needed to mentally get past a hurdle I was encountering. I don’t know what it was. She talked about her struggles with motherhood, her struggles with some of the choices that she made, Elvis (not as much dirt as you would expect, but remember Wanda Jackson first and foremost is a lady), her family, her great love Wendell and most importantly her love for music. One important thing that I did understand of Ms. Jackson after reading this music, is that she loves what she does. She loves music, she loves playing music, she loves performing, recording and entertaining. The language really sparkles when she talks about all of these things. And that is the simple joy of this book. If you are a fan of Wanda Jackson you will enjoy her tales, if you are looking to hear tales about life on the road for a female musician you will enjoy her tales, if you are looking for many interesting life stories you will enjoy this book. I did really enjoy hearing in her “voice” how she saw working in the music business. I found though that as I was reading the book I wanted to know just a little more. I know Ms. Jackson is immensely talented, kind and a work horse, but..... the picture painted just is a little too easy. I find it really hard to believe that the industry she worked in treated her well and kindly out of the gate. Yes, she is beautiful, yes, she can play a guitar and sing and roar... but... and here is my big question... was it really as easy as it seems? Maybe “Daddy” hid her from the sexism. Maybe and that is why she doesn’t discuss it. Maybe it really didn’t happen. I have to take her word. It was an easy read, there isn’t a lot of dish here. She talks very openly about her trials and tribulations and finding her Lord, which is who she is so know that going in. She is a woman of faith. She is a kind woman. She is Wanda Jackson. And really there aren’t many like her left so the book is a great summation of her life told as if you were sitting across a table from her with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie. Here is a quote from the Preface that really sums up what the ride reading this book is all about and how Wanda wants her readers to go along with her.... “I associate music with fun and laughter and warm feelings. Going to those Saturday night dances with my folks was a wonderful time in my life. I didn’t want Saturday night to end. I just had to figure out how I was going to live my life in a way that made that feeling last. Sometimes I chased the wrong things in that pursuit, but I never lost sight of throwing a party for my fans at every show. I don’t care if it’s a Tuesday or a work night, or a school night; if you come to a Wanda Jackson show, every night is Saturday night.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stella

    Oh my god, I love Wanda Jackson. I always have...as she is a fellow Oklahoman, but after reading "Every Night Is Saturday Night", I love her even more. Wanda was born in a small town RIGHT NEXT to the town my grandparent's grew up in. I've known about Wanda my entire life. Wanda Jackson IS the first lady of Rock and Roll. Starting in the music industry when she was still in junior high, Wanda has had a career longer than some people's lives. From her own radio show, to dating Elvis..YES, ELVIS, Oh my god, I love Wanda Jackson. I always have...as she is a fellow Oklahoman, but after reading "Every Night Is Saturday Night", I love her even more. Wanda was born in a small town RIGHT NEXT to the town my grandparent's grew up in. I've known about Wanda my entire life. Wanda Jackson IS the first lady of Rock and Roll. Starting in the music industry when she was still in junior high, Wanda has had a career longer than some people's lives. From her own radio show, to dating Elvis..YES, ELVIS, to going to church with Jerry Lee Lewis, she's done it. This book is like a nice long conversation with a sassy older woman who has LIVED. I can only DREAM about having some of the experiences she's had. Tracking her career, from the beginning to just a few months ago, we follow the rise, fall, and resurgence of this girl singer. From Oklahoma, to Nashville, to Japan, Germany and back to good old Oklahoma. From the honky tonk of the midwest to the churches of those same cities, Wanda has remained herself the entire time. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the great Wanda Jackson for the opportunity to read this book. May the party keep going for a few more years.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    Every Night is Saturday Night by Wanda Jackson is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early December. Jackson tells her story with the excellent narration of someone who's feisty, plays hard, but is foremost a lady (though she claims to be quiet and non-outgoing). Her tale begins when she learns to play guitar at the age of 6, records country, rockabilly, rock 'n roll, and pop for Decca and Capitol Records, dates Elvis, travels through the U.S., Japan, and Germany, is given a felt pick to quiet Every Night is Saturday Night by Wanda Jackson is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early December. Jackson tells her story with the excellent narration of someone who's feisty, plays hard, but is foremost a lady (though she claims to be quiet and non-outgoing). Her tale begins when she learns to play guitar at the age of 6, records country, rockabilly, rock 'n roll, and pop for Decca and Capitol Records, dates Elvis, travels through the U.S., Japan, and Germany, is given a felt pick to quiet down her guitar strumming, records songs in multiple languages, becomes a born-again Baptist Christian, and marries Wendell, a sweet guy of many talents who gives up a career at IBM to be her road manager.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sage

    The Queen of Rock n Roll!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deena Dietrich

    Such a fantastic book! A must-read for any music fan or for anyone who loves a well written, well organized memoir!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Badgley

    One of the best memoirs I have ever read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joost

  19. 5 out of 5

    Guff

  20. 5 out of 5

    Isaac Crow

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessi LaRue

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dana Cox

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wynn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Mccormick

  25. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Harback

  26. 4 out of 5

    Will George

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sean

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scott Stem

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rian

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marie Leydon

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