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Wilson Pickett

Of the major '60s soul stars, Wilson Pickett was one of the roughest and sweatiest, working up some of the decade's hottest dancefloor grooves on hits like "In the Midnight Hour," "Land of 1000 Dances," "Mustang Sally," and "Funky Broadway." Although he tends to be held in somewhat lower esteem than more versatile talents like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, he is often a preferred alternative of fans who like their soul on the rawer side. He also did a good deal to establish the sound of Southern soul with his early hits, which were often written and recorded with the cream of the session musicians in Memphis and Muscle Shoals.

Before establishing himself as a solo artist, Pickett sang with the Falcons, who had a Top Ten R&B hit in 1962 with "I Found a Love." "If You Need Me" (covered by the Rolling Stones) and "It's Too Late" were R&B hits for the singer before he hooked up with Atlantic Records, who sent him to record at Stax in Memphis in 1965. One early result was "In the Midnight Hour," whose chugging horn line, loping funky beats, and impassioned vocals combined into a key transitional performance that brought R&B into the soul age. It was an R&B chart-topper and a substantial pop hit (number 21), though its influence was stronger than that respectable position might indicate: thousands of bands, black and white, covered "In the Midnight Hour" on-stage and record in the 1960s.

Pickett had a flurry of other galvanizing soul hits over the next few years, including "634-5789," "Mustang Sally," and "Funky Broadway," all of which, like "In the Midnight Hour," were frequently adapted by other bands as dance-ready numbers. The king of that hill, though, had to be "Land of 1000 Dances," Pickett's biggest pop hit (number six), a soul anthem of sorts with its roll call of popular dances, and covered by almost as many acts as "Midnight Hour" was.

Pickett didn't confine himself to the environs of Stax for long; soon he was also cutting tracks at Muscle Shoals. He recorded several early songs by Bobby Womack. He used Duane Allman as a session guitarist on a hit cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude." He cut some hits in Philadelphia with Gamble & Huff productions in the early '70s. He even did a hit version of the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar." The hits kept rolling through the early '70s, including "Don't Knock My Love" and "Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9."

One of the corollaries of '60s soul is that if a performer rose to fame with Motown or Atlantic, he or she would produce little of note after leaving the label. Pickett, unfortunately, did not prove an exception to the rule. His last big hit was "Fire and Water," in 1972. He continued to be active on the tour circuit; his most essential music, all from the 1960s and early '70s, was assembled for the superb Rhino double-CD anthology A Man and a Half. It's Harder Now, his first new material in over a decade, followed in 1999. Pickett spent the early part of the 2000s performing, before retiring in late 2004 due to ill health. He passed away on January 19, 2006, following a heart attack. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

His songs never get old. I listen to them whenever I can and remind others to do likewise. One of the greatest R&B artists of the 60's and 70's.
God bless the Wicked Wilson Pickett! He mah main man!
Ilovethis song
OY!!! :-D
MR. PICKETT R.I.P I LOVE YOUR MUSIC. I NAMED STREET AFTER YOUR SONG FUNKY BOARDWAY SMILE..
Soul man I believe was done. By a few. Artists right beebopnj
ONE OF THE BEST. I LIKE HIS MOVES
lisad196133
he's the best Lisa in Louisville
Blue is all right this is blue from alabama
Wilson Pickett covered Mustang Sally from The Racsals TYI!!
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works!
What a talented musician. Great stuff!
Good Bye
Want only Wilson Pickett...Wh a t ' s up
There will never be another Wilson, he has so much passion and love it shows on every word and growl, I could go on forever.
I used to manage Buddy Miles and the reason they called him 'Wicked Pickett' is; when there were budget concerns on a tour, he would often 'point' at an in-suspectin g musician which meant that he would be 'fined' for a wrong note etc...even if he didn't really play a wrong note! Pickett and other artists on the 'chitlin circuit' used this money saving tactic, although not as common as Pickett, therefore he was 'wicked'.
My 1st sock-hop
Wicked Wilson Pickett ???? he wasn't wicked why did they call him that ?
Like. Old music
to perchick.13 you must be 12 you dont know good music when you when hear it ask your mommy.
lowe4
Duane Allman did session work on Hey Jude, wonder if he's on any of these other songs
Like old school
Brings back some good ole memories
I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY PANDORA NEVER PLAYS IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR.
This is the dumbest music site that I have so far discovered! I cant even listen to Land of a Thousand Dances because of some stupid licence! Well, all I have to say to the creaters of this site is SCREW YOUR STUPID LICENCE! I'LL TAKE MY EARS TO SOME OTHER, BETTER MUSIC SITE. SO SUCK ON THAT,D***S
Wilson Pickett was the very best for gritty, soul wrenching blues. This song is one of his best,can't believe how powerful he was as a performer.
dmshalkowski
I'm 67 yrs old. This dude has been fantastic all my listening life. Love him
Hard not to feel his songs when you hear them
Love the man and his music.FORT BRAGG ,NC 1967

love the man music down in purvis ms hi hat club in the 60
i love it i love old school
love the rendition of hey jude
pcmanna60
cool!
mutantman57
On the chitlin circuit he was introduced as "the wicked, the wicked, the wicked Wilson Pickett!" Truly one of the greats. He did not need electronic tricks to sound good. He was simply was. Thank you brother. Go rock in heaven.
eusrodjr
I just read his whole bio. I was shocked to see he lived to 2006. I was under the impression he died an early death. I am just now starting to appreciate his work.
sweet
Wicked Pickett....b e s t soul singer EVER. Had many good times dancing to the man's music in mid-60's. Never had a bad song! Wish he was still around to make some REAL music!
chrs583
Wilson Pickett, the 1960's superstar!I was in the Army in Germany and my friend Johnny Carroll (from Tex)and I would do Wilson Pickett in the morning before goin to work! Loved the man!!!
Lee E Jones
From- Lake Village,Ark Now live in Medina,Tn
a dj friend of mine once met wilson at lone star in nyc. he was following the wicked one when pickett stopped short, my buddy spilled some beer on his boots. no interview!!
midnight hour...the grateful dead used to do a 20 minute version with pigpen on lead vocals. love wilsons 'he jude' with duane allman on lead guitar!!
jmparis
Anybody got a copy of "Pickett in the pocket"? ....Lookin for a great ballad called "I was too nice"
PICKETT WAS AHEAD OFHIS TIME AND DIED UNTIMIELY. HE IS MISSED BUT WE STILL HAVE HIS MUSIC. WE LOVE THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC. HOPE AND PRAY THAT HE IS WITH THE LORD JESUS.
Mustang Sally is one of my favorites.
noebro
The Wicked Pickett always pushed it to the edge, always frantic, always urgent. Right on, soul man!
I like my soul music rough!
tedbujalski
..he gave Duane Allman his the nickname ' Skydog '....listen to Duane tear it up on Picketts version of 'Hey Jude'..
Wilson Pickett was one of the best - his music is sexy, rough and just awesome.
vickiej2
I love him- and always have. His music was great!!!
this s**t rocks
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