Wanda Jackson Announces Retirement From Live Performance
Rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson announced her retirement from performing at the age of 81, but said the move was “the beginning of a new chapter.”
Her career began in 1955, and she became known as the “queen of rockabilly” by the following decade. Often blending country music alongside her more rock-oriented work, she moved into country as genre popularity changed, but returned to her rock ’n’ roll roots in the ‘90s.
She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence in 2009. Her career to date includes 45 studio albums.
“After over 60 years of touring, Wanda Jackson wishes to announce her retirement from performing,” a statement on her Facebook page said. “This retirement is solely based on health and safety. It has been a wild ride. Thank you for all the years of continued fandom and support.”
Watch Wanda Jackson Perform 'Let’s Have a Party'
The statement noted she would not be appearing as previously announced at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend in April or at the Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender in May. Fans were asked to “still go out to these shows and keep the spirit of rockabilly alive.”
“This not the end, just the beginning of a new chapter,” the statement also said. “Join us as we congratulate the queen of rockabilly on over six decades of rip-roaring live performances, priceless stories and countless shimmies.”
In a 2011 interview, Jackson recalled how she wanted to be a success from an early age. "The parents all wanted something better for their kids than what they’d had, and so maybe there was a little more push and drive to get out there and be successful," she told Clash.
"I know my father was intent on my having at least a High School education, and he would have preferred probably if I’d gone on to college or something, but he was the one who taught me music. … He understood that fire that was in me, that desire to sing, so he understood why, when I got out of school, I wanted to go on the road."
Jackson recalled that her dad "just decided that since this was what I wanted to do, he would just go with me and help me do it. So Mother stayed at home, kept a full-time good job with the government, and therefore he could go out and travel with me. I wasn’t making enough for anything -- working for $50 a night … there wasn’t a lot left. But there again they just sacrificed that; they sacrificed their time together and any home life that they could have, and social life, just so that my dreams could come true."