Making Contact
, whose pictures have been used
on album covers and in books and magazines for more than 30 years.
Raeburn Flerlage is a respected photojournalist based in Chicago

Francis X. Pavy

Of this series of photos, all taken in 1963-64
at the Windy City's Trianon Ballroom, Flerlage writes:

The Trianon Ballroom was more spacious and ornate than other clubs. If memory serves (and we're talking about the early '60's, remember) it was a huge auditorium and vast expanse capable of holding a tremendous crowd.

Fascinated by the interaction of audiences and musicians, Flerlage's camera captured intimate moments of physical rapport between performer and fan.

B.B. King, who had been touring with Jackie Wilson through 1963, had already made a successful appearance at the Trianon, with Junior Parker on the same bill. Early in 1964 it was Jackie Wilson's turn. More than three years since he'd been shot in a hotel room by a jealous woman, he was fully recovered and at the top of his form.

He was dragged from the stage by fans, pulled back again by his "police" and "security guards." He dropped to his knees in passion, fell to the floor in rapture while another fan embraced him onstage.
And always, he SANG!

Raeburn Flerlage

It was already past 1 a.m., and the smoke was getting denser and the crowd was becoming more restless. I think that's what he was waiting for. So when Wison did strut onto the stage, the crowd erupted. He fell back on his ankles as a woman took the microphone from him.

This page © 1998 by Blues Access, Boulder, CO, USA.