Why Rock Star Wanda Jackson’s Father Let Her Date Elvis Presley But Not Other Guys

Wanda Jackson is a rock ‘n’ roll/country music star who debuted around the same time as Elvis Presley. During an interview, Jackson discussed why her father allowed her to date Elvis even though he didn’t trust most other men. In addition, Jackson explained why the relationship between her and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll didn’t work out.

Elvis Presley holding a telephone
Elvis Presley | GAB Archive/Redferns

How Wanda Jackson met Elvis Presley early in her career

Jackson is known for songs like “Let’s Have a Party,” “You Can’t Have My Love,” and “Right or Wrong.” In a 2017 interview with Fox News, Jackson recalled touring during the early days of her career. “After I graduated from high school, I had a couple of songs by that time,” she said. “I was ready to go on tour.”

Jackson went on tour with parental supervision. “I’m an only child, so daddy decided he should go with me,” she continued. “So for the first couple of nights, we toured with a guy named Elvis Presley. I’ve never heard of him. That was in 1955.”

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Why their relationship didn’t work out

Jackson had permission to hang out with the “Can’t Help Falling in Love” singer. “My daddy traveled with me,” Jackson remembered. “He wouldn’t let me go out with guys usually. But he liked Elvis really well.”

Jackson’s father felt the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll stood out from other men. “He knew Elvis was a gentleman,” Jackson said. “So he would let me go out with Elvis to a movie or for a burger afterward.”

The relationship between the two singers was serious for a while. “He asked me to be his girl and I had his ring,” Jackson revealed. “I wore it around my neck for about a year… But I lived in Oklahoma and he lived in Tennessee. So we didn’t see each other except on the tours that we did together.” For context, men in the 1950s would sometimes give girlfriends rings to wear around their necks to signal they were a couple.

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Wanda Jackson made an Elvis Presley tribute album

The ill-fated relationship between the two singers wasn’t the last time they crossed paths. In 2006, Jackson released an album called I Remember Elvis. The album includes covers of classic hits such as “Love Me Tender,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” and “Baby, Let’s Play House.”

The first and last tracks on the album are spoken word pieces in which Jackson discusses The King. In one of the tracks, she recalls how he encouraged her to make rockabilly music, his signature genre. She would become a rockabilly singer herself. Jackson dated a legendary singer — and her career might not be the same without him.

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