Lonely Teardrops

Album: Lonely Teardrops (1959)
Charted: 7
Play Video


  • This was written by the Detroit songwriting team who wrote Wilson's first several hits - the duo of Tyran Carlo (the pen name of Wilson's cousin Roquel Davis) and a pre-Motown Berry Gordy Jr. They co-wrote eight other songs for Wilson. At the time, Gordy was a struggling songwriter, but this song - his first Top-10 hit as a songwriter - gave him the confidence to rent a building in Detroit and start the Tamla label, which would become Motown.
  • Many artists have covered this, including Jose Feliciano, teen idol pop singer Brian Hyland and Michael Jackson.
  • This was one of the 9 songs on which Berry Gordy, Jr. used the royalties to open up the Hitsville USA Studios, which soon became the home of the Motown artists.
  • This was a #1 R&B hit and Wilson's first song to reach the Top 10 on the US pop charts. It become one of his signature songs. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 2
  • In September 1975, while performing at the Latin Casino in New Jersey, Wilson collapsed from a heart attack and a stroke right in the middle of this song. He never recovered and remained in a coma for eight more years; he was hospitalized until his death on January 21, 1984 (age 49). In tragic irony, the last words he sung before collapsing were "My heart is crying." The audience at first thought that his fall was part of the act and they started applauding and cheering. It became evident that something was wrong when about half a minute later, he hadn't moved. The excitement instantly turned into confusion and shock as attempts to revive Jackie on the stage were to no avail. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Denny - Pittsburgh, PA

Comments: 10

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 7th 1971, Brian Hyland's covered version of "Lonely Teardrops" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #88; and six weeks later on March 21st, 1971 it peaked at #54 {for 1 weeks} and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100 and it was also his 22nd and last record on the Top 100...
    Between 1960 and 1971 he had twenty-two Top 100 records; three made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Bikini" for one week in 1960, it was also his debut record on Top 100...
    His other two Top 10 records both peaked at #3; "Sealed with a Kiss" in 1962 and "Gypsy Woman" in 1970.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 4th 1960, Jackie Wilson performed a medley of "To Be Loved", "Lonely Teardrops" and "Alone At Last" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Exactly two years earlier on December 4th, 1958 "Lonely Teardrops" was at #42 on Billboard's Top 100 chart; and on February 9th, 1959 it peaked at #7 {for 2 weeks} and spent 21 weeks on the chart...
    And at the time of this appearance on the 'Sullivan' show, his “Alone At Last" was at #8 on the Top 100, it was also its peaked position on the chart...
    "To Be Loved" reached #22 in 1958.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, CaGod, what an awesome singer and performance on this record...what does one do for an encore? stand on his head and stack bb's? lolol
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyA truly great artist; Jackie charted in duets with three different artists during the 1960s. Once with LaVern Baker {1966}, twice with Count Basie {1968}, and two more times with Linda Hopkins {1962 & 1963}!!!
  • John from Eugene, OrBerry Gordy Jr. also helped write "Money" which was recorded by Barret Strong (1960) and then it was covered by some inconsequential group called the Beatles, Ha! Thank you, boys!
    Jackie Wilson was a favorite of, and dearly loved by, Dick Clark, of American Bandstand fame.
    Jackie recorded for Brunswick and many of the same guys who played regularly on Motown liked to moonlight for Jackie. Listen to the recordings and you can hear the similar sound of the instruments; especially on another huge Jackie Wilson hit called, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher. Songfact that song to see what they say about that one.
    Also, Check out "Standing in the Shadows of Motown", a righteous DVD featuring interviews with the last of the Motown guys who are still standing.
    By the way, if you want to hear another great rendition of "Lonely Teardrops" then check out "The New York Rock and Soul Revue (Live at the Beacon) " on Giant records. Michael McDonald, of Doobie Bros. fame, does an amazing cover of this classic tune.
  • Brady from Niagara Falls, NyThank You.... Just went to you tube to hear the best version of Danny Boy. Roy Orbison's was great but Jackie Wilson's the very best
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPerformed by Bruce Springstten on his 'Tunnel Of Love' tour on April 5th, 1988; he also performed it a couple of more times during the tour...
  • Farrah from Elon, NcMy favorite Jackie Wilson song. May he rest in peace.
  • Ekristheh from Halath, United StatesThe late Lane Smith, playing Perry White in "Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman", did a wonderfully soused version of this in a night club surrounded by exotic Middle Eastern dancers, and explained Jackie Wilson's dramatic collapse on stage and his wife's devotion.
  • Scott from Columbus, OhIf you ever wanna impress people at a Karaoke bar...just learn to immitate Jackie WIlson and pull this out as part of your arsenal...I literally had people screaming the night I did this....MAN! What a feeling!!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Matt Sorum

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."

Director Paul Rachman on "Hunger Strike," "Man in the Box," Kiss

Director Paul Rachman on "Hunger Strike," "Man in the Box," KissSong Writing

After cutting his teeth on hardcore punk videos, Paul defined the grunge look with his work on "Hunger Strike" and "Man in the Box."

Christmas Songs

Christmas SongsFact or Fiction

Rudolf, Bob Dylan and the Singing Dogs all show up in this Fact or Fiction for seasonal favorites.

Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum

Dave Pirner of Soul AsylumSongwriter Interviews

Dave explains how the video appropriated the meaning of "Runaway Train," and what he thought of getting parodied by Weird Al.

American Hits With Foreign Titles

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?