In the 1950s, Wanda Jackson became one of the first women to start singing rock 'n' roll music. Now, after more than 50 years of performing everything from country to rockabilly to gospel, Jackson is updating her sound. She's released a new album of covers with the help of a performer nearly 40 years her junior: Jack White of The White Stripes.
White and Jackson first joined forces when he invited her to his studio in Nashville to record a vinyl 45 of an unexpected cover. The cut White had chosen for the happily married 73-year-old was Amy Winehouse's sultry song about infidelity, "You Know I'm No Good."
"At first, I said, 'He's gotta be kidding. He wants me to record this? I don't think it'll be very believable,' " Jackson tells Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. But White was insistent.
"I just wanted to show that age [doesn't] matter," White says. "She can still sing a song just as good as the '50s right now, and the attitude can still be carried forth. And not in that cute, novel way, either — for real."
Pleased with the single, the two decided to record a full album of covers from the many genres Jackson has covered during her five decades in music. Playing on the name of her first big rockabilly hit, "Let's Have a Party," her new album is titled The Party Ain't Over.