Al Wilson was born in Meridian, Mississippi, in June 1939 and sang in a church choir and his own gospel quartet before moving to San Bernadino, California.
After touring for four years with Johnny ‘Legs’ Harris & The Statesmen he joined a navy vocal group, and then The Jewels, who had a hit as The Rollers with The Continental Walk (1961). Wilson also played drums with The Souls.
He met Johnny Rivers in 1966 and signed to his Soul City label, covering Jimmy Webb’s Do What You Gotta Do and cutting Searching For The Dolphins in 1968.
Wilson had a hit with The Snake, then Rivers’ Poor Side Of Town, and again with a take on the Creedence Clearwater Revival song Lodi, in 1969.
After a move to Rocky Road, Wilson worked with Jerry Fuller in 1973, who had penned Show and Tell for Johnny Mathis. Wilson’s version hit #1 in the US in January 1974, and shifted nearly two million copies. Fuller’s Touch and Go followed, and La La Peace Song made the US Top 30.
Wilson then moved to Playboy and issued Baby I Want Your Body and I’ve Got A Feeling (We’ll Be Seeing Each Other Again ).
The Snake became a huge Northern Soul hit in the UK in 1975, and – after working the LA circuit for years – Wilson re-worked some of his standards for Spice Of Life (2001).
Al Wilson died of kidney failure on 21 April 2008, aged 68.