Most fans know her as the Queen of Rockabilly. But Elvis-era legend Wanda Jackson — who growls meaner than ever on her Jack White-produced comeback “The Party Ain’t Over” — has, in her remarkable 57-year career, been inducted into the Rockabilly, Oklahoma Country Music, International Gospel, German Music and Rock and Roll halls of fame. All of that, for her, pales in comparison to a recent hometown honor she received: having a street named after her in Oklahoma City, Wanda Jackson Way.
“It connects one street with another in the city’s Bricktown area,” says Jackson, who appears in San Francisco next week. “And Wanda Jackson Way has the bridge that the boats go under on this manmade canal. There are nice restaurants and a walking path along it, and it’s kind of in the artsy part of town. So it was a really nice honor.”
How was such a proclamation decided?
“Well, we’re kind of good friends, the mayor and me — we do a lot of things where he’s present or he speaks,” she says. “And they’ve even given me Wanda Jackson Day, where I met with the City Council and the mayor presented the award to me.”
When the mayor pulled Jackson aside a couple years ago and said she would be getting her own street, she reckoned it was a done deal.
“Then the next time I saw him, he said, ‘This is your street, right here, and we’ll have the dedication when you’re back in town’,” says the “Fujiyama Mama” and “Let’s Have a Party” singer, who performed at the ceremony in a signature red-fringed cowgirl outfit.
“They had a ribbon-cutting to make it official. But instead of red ribbon, they’d brought red fringe, which perfectly matched my top, so the dedication turned out really cute.”
The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame affair was great too. Jackson performed alongside Jeff Beck, was inducted by Rosanne Cash and hung out with her old guitarist buddy Scotty Moore.
She felt the same about recording with White at his Third Man studios in Nashville.
“Jack didn’t want to change my style or anything about me; he just wanted to give me a fresh sound and fresh songs to do, and he went with all covers,” says Jackson, who added wicked new sass to Amy Winehouse’s “You Know That I’m No Good.”
So does Jackson, at 73, wield enough Oklahoma City weight to instantly get, say, a pesky pothole fixed? She laughs at the notion.
“Well, I probably could if it was something important enough,” she says. “But I, however, don’t use my celebrity like that!”
IF YOU GO
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.gamh.com