Wilson Pickett
American singer
Wilson Pickett
Wilson Pickett was an American R&B/Soul singer and songwriter. A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, and frequently crossed over to the US Billboard Hot 100. Among his best known hits are "In the Midnight Hour" (which he co-wrote), "Land of 1,000 Dances", "Mustang Sally", and "Funky Broadway".
Biography
Wilson Pickett's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Wilson Pickett from around the web
Marc Broussard Is A 'Soul On A Mission' With New Album Premiere
Huffington Post - 5 months
As he often does, Marc Broussard channels R&B, soul and rock on his upcoming album, “S.O.S. 2: Save Our Soul: Soul on a Mission,” due out Friday. But this isn’t just an ordinary album. As he did with the first edition “S.O.S.,” the Louisiana singer-songwriter is donating half of the set’s proceeds to City of Refuge, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people living in poverty. Broussard spent time thinking about which songs he wanted to cover for this new collection, poring through some of his favorite tracks of all time, including songs by Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and more.      “About a year ago, when we decided to do ‘SOS 2,’ we tossed around several themes like blues, soul and even yacht rock,” Broussard told The Huffington Post. “But something about this song ‘Cry To Me’ [first recorded by Burke] called out like it needed to be heard by the world again. I couldn’t get away from it. I’ve followed my gut at every step during this ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Percy Sledge Dies At 73 Of Liver Cancer – Singer Gave Us First Southern Soul Hit
The Inquisitor - almost 2 years
The man who gave voice to the original “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge, has died at age 73. Sledge died just after midnight Tuesday morning, his doctor, Dr. William “Beau” Clark, told Fox8. Percy had battled liver cancer and was under hospice care; he died with his wife Rosa and his children by his side. Though Sledge is most famous for “When a Man Loves a Woman,” he had a long career peppered with other hits. The song originally hit the airwaves in 1996 (it was the first Southern soul record to top the charts), was re-released in 1987 and covered by Michael Bolton in 1991, CNN added. During the 1960s, Percy sang at frat parties and clubs throughout the Southeast on the weekends with his group, the Esquires, and was a hospital orderly Monday to Friday, ABC News added. “I was singing every style of music: the Beatles, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Motown,Sam Cooke, the Platters,” Percy said, according to his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame biography. His ...
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The Inquisitor article
Black Friday: Lessons Learned
Huffington Post - about 3 years
A few years ago, when big retail giants started the troubling trend of opening earlier and earlier on Black Friday, daring to begin on the first minute of the day (where have those good days gone?), I admit I was caught up in the glint and anticipatory glimmer of a late-night excursion to get my own child-labor hours' worth of deeply discounted goods. I had just enjoyed a stunning and classy Thanksgiving feast with vanloads of extended family, followed later in the evening by a quintessential five-hour game of Risk with my teenaged nephews. With the winding down of what was a perfect holiday, I had a momentary lapse of judgment. Walmart was opening at midnight and visions of Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" blasting over the intercom while shoppers blithely glided through the aisles filled me with curiosity. I was still a struggling student living in my parents' home with no real depth or power to the plastic in my wallet. But I figured, "what the hell" and my curiosity got t ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
'Muscle Shoals' review: a soulful musical feast
San Francisco Chronicle - over 3 years
The hits just keep on coming in "Muscle Shoals," a hugely entertaining, perhaps overlong, documentary about the renowned recording studios in the small Alabama town of the film's title. By 1969, Hall's success prompted his studio musicians, called the Swampers, to break away and create a rival operation, the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman, Clarence Carter, Etta James, the Staple Singers, Jimmy Cliff, Traffic, the Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Tom Jones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger and Willie Nelson. Fame founder Hall talks extensively about his hardscrabble beginnings and the single-mindedness and drive it took to make the studio happen. By common testimony, there was an easy interplay inside the studio between musicians of different races, though one Swamper remembers tension with the townspeople when racially mixed groups went out to eat.
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San Francisco Chronicle article
Movie Review: <i>Muscle Shoals</i>
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Either the title of the documentary Muscle Shoals resonates with you -- in which case it resonates hard -- or you have no idea what it means. But you should -- or you should find out by watching the movie, one of the year's most entertaining and enriching nonfiction films. When the end of the year comes around, I'll be hard-pressed to choose between it and 20 Feet from Stardom as my favorite documentary of the year. Directed by Greg Camalier, Muscle Shoals focuses on the small town in Alabama that became the unlikely home of two of the funkiest, most influential recording studios in America in the 1960s and 70s up through today. The film pays homage to the town and the environs, as well as to the amazing story of the unlikely blend of personalities that put Muscle Shoals on the map of American popular music history, a brand name as recognizable as Motown or Stax. At the center of the story is Rick Hall, now 81. Born into stark poverty, self-taught as a musician and songwriter, ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Dusty Wright: Death of the Album -- Singles Going Steady! -- Pt. 2
Huffington Post - over 3 years
In a previous article earlier this month, I suggested that we are in the era where singles -- once again -- roam the earth. With too many media choices and digital distractions -- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails, blogs, games, time-shifted content, et al. -- vying for our attention, there is too little to time left in our busy schedules to actually "listen" to an album in its entirety. When we do find the time, most of us reach for the music we know and love. As the summer weeks unfolded I tried, I really tried, to find an entire album worthy of inclusion in my permanent collection. The debut from The Wild Feathers out of Nashville is on the cusp and catching them live left a very strong impression. However, this month I recommend the following new "singles"... "You Are In Love" - Shannon Whitworth: High Tide (EF Records) Damn, playing a Gibson SG never looked or sounded so sexy! Before the press folks dropped her new album on me, I didn't know of this compel ...
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Huffington Post article
Marshall Fine: Live From Sundance 2013: Wednesday, Jan. 23
Huffington Post - about 4 years
My final day at Sundance was a bit of a miracle of both scheduling and movie choices. I saw all of four movies and most of a fifth, made it through the entire festival without getting shut out of a single press screening -- and saw several films that were as entertaining as any I saw during the festival. My favorite may have been A.C.O.D (which stands for Adult Children of Divorce), which also had one of the best casts of the festival: younger faces such as Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Clark Duke, and such veterans as Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara and Jane Lynch. It's a rigorously funny and honest story of adult children and exasperation with their parents -- perhaps the best of its kind since David O. Russell's Flirting With Disaster. Scott plays Carter, whose parents (O'Hara and Jenkins) engaged in a bitter divorce when he was 9. The owner of a successful restaurant, Carter is sort of anti-marriage. So he's shocked when his little brother (D ...
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Huffington Post article
David Wild: 'Happy New Year': Almost Certainly My Last Playlist of 2012
The Huffington Post - about 4 years
To quote Oscar Wilde, "Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account." Thanks, Uncle Oscar, for the excellent literary excuse to resolve pretty much nothing. So rather than offer any grand resolutions that won't clear or share my ignorant perspective on life on the Fiscal Cliff, here's an eclectic playlist for this New Year's Eve. I've included some suggestions from the good people --http://www.twitter.com/Wildaboutmusic and the occasional hot spambot -- who follow me on Twitter at. So happy New Year to Kim, Kanye and all the other men and women in the extended dysfunctiona family of man. "Happy New Year" - Kid Rock "One Day More" - Cast of "Les Miserables" "Time Is Tight" - Booker T. &amp; The MG's "Time Waits For No One" - The Rolling Stones "A Matter Of Time" - Foo Fighters "This Will Be Our Year" - The Zombies "New Year's Ever" - Tom Waits "All Things New Again" - The Wallflowers @crobbins956 "Wake Up" - Arcade Fire "Ant ...
Article Link:
The Huffington Post article
Randy Fox: PHOTOS: The Ruins Of Detroit's Musical Past
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Recently, I was standing on a street corner on one of the beaten avenues of Detroit. I was staring at a small building that was in the throes of being reclaimed by nature. The rusty steel sign frame still hung from the building, but any identifiers were long gone. At first, I thought it may have been an old gas station or something akin to that. As I was trying to get a closer look, a gentleman pulled up to the corner in, what appeared to be, an early '90s pick-up truck: "Are you buying that place from the bank?" "No, I'm just trying to figure out what the place was," I said. "It was a record store, back in the day. And they sold penny candy, too. We used to walk down here and buy our records." "How long ago did it close?" "Oh my, probably around '71 or '72." Before pulling away, the man went silent and stared at the old building, like it was an old friend way down on his luck. I then walked a bit around the corner and saw a boarded up, decaying bu ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Donald 'Duck' Dunn dies at 70; bassist for Booker T. & the MG's
Chicago Times - almost 5 years
As a key part of the integrated house band at Memphis' Stax Records, Dunn set the funky tone for soul hits from Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam &amp; Dave. He later joined John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the Blues Brothers. As the bass player on dozens of the most soulful hits in the history of pop music, Donald "Duck" Dunn often found himself out on the road playing to fans who had assumed he was black like the stars he supported, notably Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Sam &amp; Dave.
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
Quite Tricky Sports Quiz May 11 - the answers
Crawley Observer - almost 5 years
YESTERDAY we asked you to name as mnay England test cricketers as possible with boy’s names as a surname, how did you get on? Our answers are: Geoff Arnold (34 Tests; 10 Aug 1967 – 14 July 1975) Tony Greig (58 Tests; 8 June 1972 – 30 Aug 1977) Tony Lewis (9 Tests; 20 Dec 1972 – 12 June 1973) Ian Greig (2 Tests; 29 July 1982 – 16 August 1982) Andy Lloyd (1 Test; 14 June 1984 – 18 June 1984. Andy Lloyd holds the distinction of being the only Test match opening batsman never to have been dismissed. However, that does have a lot to do with him being forced to retire hurt when 10 not out on debut against possibly the mightiest ever West Indies team. Lloyd was hit on the head by fearsome West Indies fast bowler Malcolm Marshall and, despite wearing a helmet, spent several days in hospital and missed the second innings. He played no further cricket in 1984 and never played for England again) Paul Terry (2 Tests; 12 July 1984 – 31 July 1984) Greg Thomas (5 Tests; 21 Feb 1986 – 12 Aug ...
Article Link:
Crawley Observer article
Review: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at Sports Arena
LATimes - almost 5 years
Halfway through Thursday night’s miraculous revival meeting cum concert at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Bruce Springsteen stopped to recall his beginnings in the '60s and early '70s playing with a bar band. There was one type of music that was guaranteed to move a Jersey Shore crowd. “You always had to have a little soul in your pocket,” said the 62-year-old artist with the vigor of a 30-year-old. Then Springsteen led the E Street Band — at 16 pieces, it’s officially a big band, not a rock band, now — through a medley of vintage Temptations and Wilson Pickett tunes. Testifying from a platform in the middle of the audience (the concert was sold out, as is Friday night’s), Springsteen stopped to guzzle a beer. He tossed the empty plastic cup, then fell backward on the outreached hands of fans, who passed their (tipsy) messiah up to the stage. Springsteen has always been a killer showman, someone who’s closely studied the great acts of R&amp;B (the Rev. Al Green and James ...
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LATimes article
'American Idol' recap: Top six channel Queen for a day
LATimes - almost 5 years
Who would have imagined the songs of Queen would inspire better performances from the "American Idol" contestants than songs of their own choosing? But, with a notable exception or two, that proved to be the case Wednesday night, when the six remaining "Idol" hopefuls tackled the music of Queen and then sang a second song they felt suited them. I have to admit, I had my doubts, and the contestants seemed to initially have had doubts too. Meeting with Queen's Roger Taylor and Brian May, Phillip Phillips asked about tackling such big songs. Freddie Mercury, they assured him, "was very shy" and the songs of Queen quite human, "very personal." Just feel the songs, Taylor and May told the contestants, and they would do fine. The advice seemed to pay off. It was apparent from the moment the top six took the stage, backed by Taylor and May, to sing a medley of Queen anthems that they were having fun with the material. INTERACTIVE: Who's the best? 'Idol' vs. 'The Voice' In the end, the ...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Soyon An: American Idol: What They Wore, 4/18/12 (Top 7 Redux)
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
It was pretty crazy this week with the two looks for a "Now and Then" theme, but we pulled it off! As you may know, I listen to the songs the #Idols will perform beforehand. Though the "Then" songs this week were by Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, etc., I wanted to keep the singers' looks fresh and modern. Loved the fashion? You're in the right place! PLUS, have any questions or just want to say hi? Hit me up on Twitter: @SoysFashion! Hollie Cavanagh First up is Miss Hollie. We didn't have much time for shopping this week, so I brought her these two options. I love modifying looks by accessorizing correctly, and for Hollie I took and made a classic silhouette edgy for "Rolling in the Deep" by giving a twist with the sheerness of the pant fabric, the amount of skin exposed on the top, necklace, and shoes. Because Hollie is petite, I modified her high collar neckline on her pink dress for her "Then" performance so she could look taller. And I have to say how much I #LOVE ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
American Idol Recap: Top 7 Elimination Results 4/19/12
Beleb Dirty Laundry - almost 5 years
On American Idol last night, the top seven took on songs from “Now &amp; Then”. Kicking off the show, host Ryan Seacrest paid tribute to the late, great “oldest teenager” Dick Clark. In case you’ve missed the show, read our full recap here. Tonight, we are expecting a more fitting tribute to the late TV great. On tonight’s elimination, seven will finally become six as the show eliminates a contestant. Here’s a breakdown of who sang what last night: Hollie Cavanagh – Rolling In The Deep by Adele and Son Of A Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield Colton Dixon – Bad Romance by Lady Gaga and September by Earth, Wind And Fire Elise Testone – No One by Alicia Keys and Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye Phillip Phillips – U Got It Bad by Usher and In The Midnight Hour by Wilson Pickett Jessica Sanchez – Fallin’ by Alicia Keys and Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding Skylar Laine – Born This Way by Lady Gaga and Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye Joshua Ledet – I Believ ...
Article Link:
Beleb Dirty Laundry article
Phillip Phillip Performs ‘In The Midnight Hour’ On American Idol – Video 4/18/12
Beleb Dirty Laundry - almost 5 years
Tonight’s theme on American Idol is “Now &amp; Then” and we’ll see the same seven competitors take on two songs. Last week, the judges saved Jessica Sanchez in a last minute use of their only save of the season. If you’ve missed last week’s elimination, you can read that recap here. Of course, tonight we are recapping the show LIVE at this link. Left in the competition are Phillip Phillips, Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh, Jessica Sanchez, Skylar Laine, Elise Testone and Colton Dixon. There are no more saves, so the competition really has to bring it to avoid elimination. On tonight’s show, Phillip Phillips is performing his second song of the night — Wilson Pickett’s song, In The Midnight Hour. WATCH THE VIDEO: Our commentary: This is a good song for Phillip, but he can really be so versatile that he can take any song and have his way with it. Phillip is singing to the audience and smiling and everyone is clapping. Great choice. Judge’s commentary: Randy: ...
Article Link:
Beleb Dirty Laundry article
Michael Sigman: Under the Covers: A Musical Parlor Game
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
It's a drag that pop music has become so fragmented that we've lost the communal feeling of the culture-wide hits that used to fill the airwaves -- even Sometimes The Air That We Breathe(d). There was something comforting about knowing that just about everyone in the country was listening to the same music, from the glorious noise of The Beatles to novelty smashes like the Playmates' "Beep! Beep!" But all musics are fundamentally interrelated, a fact best demonstrated by the genre-jumping "covers" of great songs. Consider the following lineage as evidence that we may be more connected than we realize. Most of these interpretations do the material proud, though some may leave you wanting to, well, hide under the covers. Making up your own lists and sharing with friends might make for a more soul-satisfying parlor game than, say, Geography. My own self-imposed rule: No fair playing such top-tier giants as Elvis, Dylan, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Wi ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Wilson Pickett
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2006
    Age 64
    Pickett was remembered on March 20, 2006, at New York's B.B. King Blues Club with performances by the Commitments, Ben E. King, his long-term backing band the Midnight Movers, soul singer Bruce "Big Daddy" Wayne, and Southside Johnny in front of an audience that included members of his family, including two brothers.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2004
    Age 62
    Pickett spent the twilight of his career playing dozens of concert dates every year until 2004, when he began suffering from health problems.
    More Details Hide Details While in the hospital, he returned to his spiritual roots and told his sister that he wanted to record a gospel album, but he never recovered. Pickett was the father of six children. On September 10, 2014, TVOne's Unsung aired a documentary on him.
  • 2003
    Age 61
    In 2003, Pickett was a judge for the second annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
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  • 2002
    Age 60
    He co-starred in the 2002 documentary Only the Strong Survive, directed by D. A. Pennebaker, a selection of both the 2002 Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1999
    Age 57
    Several years after his release from jail, Pickett returned to the studio and received a Grammy Award nomination for the 1999 album It's Harder Now.
    More Details Hide Details The comeback resulted in his being honored as Soul/Blues Male Artist of the Year by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. It's Harder Now was voted 'Comeback Blues Album of the Year' and 'Soul/Blues Album of the Year.'
  • 1993
    Age 51
    In 1993, he was honored with a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
    More Details Hide Details Pickett was a popular composer, writing songs that were recorded by many artists, including Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, Booker T. & the MGs, Genesis, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Hootie & the Blowfish, Echo & the Bunnymen, Roxy Music, Bruce Springsteen, Los Lobos, the Jam and Ani DiFranco, among others.
  • FORTIES
  • 1991
    Age 49
    In addition to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, his music was prominently featured in the film The Commitments, with Pickett as an off-screen character.
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    In 1991, he was arrested for allegedly yelling death threats while driving a car over the front lawn of Donald Aronson, the mayor of Englewood, New Jersey.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend. In 1993, Pickett struck an 86-year-old pedestrian, Pepe Ruiz, with his car in Englewood. Ruiz, who had helped organize the New York animation union, died later that year. Pickett pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges and received a reduced sentence of one year in jail and five years probation. Pickett had been previously convicted of various drug offenses. Throughout the 1990s, despite his personal troubles, Pickett was repeatedly honored for his contributions to music.
  • 1987
    Age 45
    In 1987, as his recording career was drying up, Pickett was given two years' probation and fined $1,000 for carrying a loaded shotgun in his car.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1980
    Age 38
    He was previously mentioned in the 1980 film Blues Brothers, which features several members of Pickett's backing band, as well as a performance of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love."
    More Details Hide Details Pickett's personal life was troubled. Even in his heyday in the 1960s, he was temperamental and preoccupied with guns; Don Covay described him as "young and wild".
  • 1978
    Age 36
    In 1978, he made a disco album with Big Tree Records titled Funky Situation, which is a coincidence as, at that point, Big Tree was distributed by his former label, Atlantic.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, he released an album on EMI titled I Want You. Pickett continued to record sporadically with several labels over the following decades, occasionally making the lower to mid-range of the R&B charts, but he had no pop hit after 1974. His last record was issued in 1999, although he remained fairly active on the touring front until falling ill in 2004. Pickett appeared in the 1998 film Blues Brothers 2000, in which he performed "634–5789" with Eddie Floyd and Jonny Lang.
  • 1975
    Age 33
    In 1975, with Pickett's once-prominent chart career on the wane, RCA dropped Pickett from the label.
    More Details Hide Details After being dropped, he formed the short-lived Wicked label, where he released one LP, Chocolate Mountain.
  • 1973
    Age 31
    Pickett continued to record with success on the R&B charts for RCA in 1973 and 1974, scoring four top 30 R&B hits with "Mr. Magic Man", "Take a Closer Look at the Woman You're With", "International Playboy" (a re-recording of a song he had previously recorded for Atlantic), and "Soft Soul Boogie Woogie".
    More Details Hide Details However, he was failing to cross over to the pop charts with regularity, as none of these songs reached higher than #90 on the Hot 100.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1971
    Age 29
    His final Atlantic single, a cover of Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come," was culled from Pickett's 1971 album Don't Knock My Love.
    More Details Hide Details In 2010, Rhino Handmade released a comprehensive compilation of these years titled Funky Midnight Mover – The Studio Recordings (1962–1978). The compilation included all recordings originally issued during Pickett's Atlantic years along with previously unreleased recordings. This collection was sold online only by Rhino.com.
  • 1970
    Age 28
    Pickett then teamed up with established Philadelphia-based hitmakers Gamble and Huff for the 1970 album Wilson Pickett in Philadelphia, which featured his next two hit singles, "Engine No. 9" and "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You", the latter selling one million copies.
    More Details Hide Details Following these two hits, Pickett returned to Muscle Shoals and the band featuring David Hood, Hawkins and Tippy Armstrong. This lineup recorded Pickett's fifth and last R&B #1 hit, "Don't Knock My Love, Pt. 1". It was another Pickett recording that rang up sales in excess of a million copies. Two further hits followed in 1971: "Call My Name, I'll Be There" (#10 R&B, #52 pop) and "Fire and Water" (#2 R&B, #24 pop), a cover of a song by Free. Pickett recorded several tracks in 1972 for a planned new album on Atlantic, but after the single "Funk Factory" reached #11 R&B and #58 pop in June 1972, he left Atlantic for RCA Records.
  • 1969
    Age 27
    Late 1969 found Pickett at Criteria Studios in Miami.
    More Details Hide Details Hit covers of the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (#16 R&B, #92 pop) and The Archies' "Sugar Sugar" (#4 R&B, #25 pop), and the Pickett original "She Said Yes" (#20 R&B, #68 pop) came from these sessions.
  • 1968
    Age 26
    Pickett returned to Fame Studios in late 1968 and early 1969, where he worked with a band that featured guitarist Duane Allman, Hawkins, and bassist Jerry Jemmott.
    More Details Hide Details A #16 pop hit cover of the Beatles' "Hey Jude" came out of the Fame sessions, as well as the minor hits "Mini-Skirt Minnie" and "Hey Joe".
  • 1967
    Age 25
    The songs "I'm in Love," "Jealous Love," "I've Come a Long Way," "I'm a Midnight Mover," (co-written by Pickett and Womack), and "I Found a True Love" were Womack-penned hits for Pickett in 1967 and 1968.
    More Details Hide Details Pickett recorded works by other songwriters in this period; Rodger Collins' "She's Lookin' Good" and a cover of the traditional blues standard "Stagger Lee" were Top 40 hits Pickett recorded at American. Womack was the guitarist on all recordings.
    Near the end of 1967, Pickett began recording at American Studios in Memphis with producers Tom Dowd and Tommy Cogbill, and began recording songs by Bobby Womack.
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  • 1965
    Age 23
    For his next sessions, Pickett did not return to Stax, as the label's owner, Jim Stewart, had decided in December 1965 to ban outside productions.
    More Details Hide Details Wexler took Pickett to Fame Studios, a studio also with a close association with Atlantic Records, located in a converted tobacco warehouse in nearby Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Pickett recorded some of his biggest hits there, including the highest-charting version of "Land of 1,000 Dances", which was his third R&B #1 and his biggest pop hit, peaking at #6. It was a million-selling disc. Other big hits from this era in Pickett's career included two covers: Mack Rice's "Mustang Sally", (#6 R&B, #23 pop), and Dyke & the Blazers' "Funky Broadway", (R&B #1, #8 pop). Both tracks were million sellers. The band heard on most of Pickett's Fame recordings included keyboardist Spooner Oldham, guitarist Jimmy Johnson, drummer Roger Hawkins, and bassist Tommy Cogbill.
    In addition to "In the Midnight Hour," Pickett's 1965 recordings included the singles "Don't Fight It," (#4 R&B, #53 pop) "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A)" (#1 R&B, #13 pop) and "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)" (#13 R&B, #53 pop).
    More Details Hide Details All but "634-5789" were original compositions which Pickett co-wrote with Eddie Floyd or Steve Cropper or both; "634-5789" was credited to Cropper and Floyd alone.
    Pickett recorded three sessions at Stax in May and October 1965.
    More Details Hide Details He was joined by keyboardist Isaac Hayes for the October sessions.
  • 1964
    Age 22
    The single's success persuaded Wexler and Atlantic to buy Pickett's recording contract from Double L in 1964.
    More Details Hide Details Pickett's Atlantic career began with the self-produced single, "I'm Gonna Cry". Looking to boost Pickett's chart chances, Atlantic paired him with record producer Bert Berns and established songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. With this team, Pickett recorded "Come Home Baby," a duet with singer Tami Lynn, but this single failed to chart. Pickett's breakthrough came at Stax Records' studio in Memphis, Tennessee, where he recorded his third Atlantic single, "In the Midnight Hour" (1965). This song was Pickett's first big hit, peaking at #1 R&B, #21 pop (US), and #12 (UK). It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The genesis of "In the Midnight Hour" was a recording session on May 12, 1965, at which Wexler worked out a powerful rhythm track with studio musicians Steve Cropper and Al Jackson of the Stax Records house band, including bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn. (Stax keyboard player Booker T. Jones, who usually played with Dunn, Cropper and Jackson as Booker T. & the M.G.'s, did not play on the studio sessions with Pickett.) Wexler said to Cropper and Jackson, "Why don't you pick up on this thing here?" He performed a dance step. Cropper explained in an interview that Wexler told them that "this was the way the kids were dancing; they were putting the accent on two. Basically, we'd been one-beat-accenters with an afterbeat; it was like 'boom dah,' but here was a thing that went 'um-chaw,' just the reverse as far as the accent goes."
  • 1963
    Age 21
    Pickett's first significant success as a solo artist came with "It's Too Late," an original composition (not to be confused with the Chuck Willis standard of the same name). Entering the charts on July 27, 1963, it peaked at #7 on the R&B chart (#49 pop); the same title was used for Pickett's debut album, released in the same year.
    More Details Hide Details Compiling several of Pickett's single releases for Double L, It's Too Late showcased a raw soulful sound that foreshadowed the singer's performances throughout the coming decade.
    The song is the B-side of his 1963 single "My Heart Belongs to You".
    More Details Hide Details The Falcons were an early vocal group bringing gospel into a popular context, thus paving the way for soul music. The group featured notable members who became major solo artists; when Pickett joined the group, Eddie Floyd and Sir Mack Rice were members. Pickett's biggest success with the Falcons was "I Found a Love", co-written by Pickett and featuring his lead vocals. While only a minor hit for the Falcons, it paved the way for Pickett to embark on a solo career. Pickett later had a solo hit with a re-recorded two-part version of the song, included on his 1967 album The Sound of Wilson Pickett. Soon after recording "I Found a Love", Pickett cut his first solo recordings, including "I'm Gonna Cry", in collaboration with Don Covay. Pickett also recorded a demo for a song he co-wrote, "If You Need Me", a slow-burning soul ballad featuring a spoken sermon. Pickett sent the demo to Jerry Wexler, a producer at Atlantic Records. Wexler gave it to the label's recording artist Solomon Burke, Atlantic's biggest star at the time. Burke admired Pickett's performance of the song, but his own recording of "If You Need Me" became one of his biggest hits (#2 R&B, #37 pop) and is considered a soul standard. Pickett was crushed when he discovered that Atlantic had given away his song. When Pickett—with a demo tape under his arm—returned to Wexler's studio, Wexler asked whether he was angry about this loss, but denied it saying "It's over". "First time I ever cried in my life".
  • TEENAGE
  • 1959
    Age 17
    By 1959, Pickett recorded the song "Let Me Be Your Boy" with Florence Ballard and the Primettes as background singers.
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    After singing for four years in the popular gospel-harmony group, Pickett, lured by the success of gospel singers who had moved to the lucrative secular music market, joined the Falcons in 1959.
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  • 1955
    Age 13
    In 1955, Pickett joined the Violinaires, a gospel group.
    More Details Hide Details The group accompanied the Soul Stirrers, the Swan Silverones, and the Davis Sisters on church tours across the country.
    Pickett eventually left to live with his father in Detroit in 1955.
    More Details Hide Details Pickett's forceful, passionate style of singing was developed in the church and on the streets of Detroit, under the influence of recording stars such as Little Richard, whom he referred to as "the architect of rock and roll.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1941
    Born
    Pickett was born March 18, 1941 in Prattville, Alabama, and sang in Baptist church choirs.
    More Details Hide Details He was the fourth of 11 children and called his mother "the baddest woman in my book," telling historian Gerri Hirshey: "I get scared of her now. She used to hit me with anything, skillets, stove wood — (one time I ran away) and cried for a week. Stayed in the woods, me and my little dog."
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