Wilson Pickett, one of the greatest soul and R&B performers of all time, died January 19, 2006 from a heart attack at a hospital near his home in Virginia. He was 64.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
-- inducted 1991
made Wilson Pickett "Wicked" as in "Wicked Pickett"? A
truckload of classic songs, ("Mustang Sally," "In the Midnight
Hour," "Funky Broadway") gold albums, induction into the
'n' Roll of Fame, a power-packed album of rocked-up
soul, buckwhylin' behavior above the call of duty, career longevity?
Wilson Pickett was wicked precisely because no soul singer before came close. Blessed with big
lungs and the gruffest tenor voice on the planet, Pickett literally
demolished a song, dusted off the gospel / blues hard core and funked
it way up. So deep he sang the scared into the profane (on more than
one occasion), Wilson Pickett was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of
Pickett was first heard as the lead vocalist with
doo-wop / R&B quartet, the Falcons. His achingly poignant falsetto
lead on the Falcons' breakout smash "I've Found a Love" (1965)
soon earned him an Atlantic Records contract and one-way ticket to
Freed from the artistic/musical constraints of a vocal group,
head full of stories, mouth full of voices to tell them, the deepest
musicians from Stax and Muscle Shoals pumping behind him, Pickett
swaggered to the mic, waited four bars learned and teasingly mic'd,
"If you nee-ee-eed a little lovin' / Call on meee / Awwl-right."
Those 10 title words changed Pickett's life
overnight when the song they were attached to ("634-5789") blew-up
to R&B #1 (Pop #3). In just 10 words he made all the ladies in the
house say "Ooww!" all the party dawgs "woof-woof" and everybody
called him the Wicked Pickett. Between 1966 and 1970, Pickett ran a
long string of classic floor quakers and boudoir shakers ("In the
Midnight Hour," "Funky Broadway," "I'm in Love").
While the hits kept Wilson Pickett on the road for a
grueling 11 months a year, they also allowed him the time to become a
most charismatic live vocalist and performer whose
testosterone-dripped / gospel-tripped renditions never failed to surpass
the originals. By the end of 1988, Pickett limited his tour schedule
to only major festivals and large events. (He performed with Bruce
Springsteen and Billy Joel for Bruce's induction ceremonies into the
Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame).
An incomparable singer and dynamic performer, Wilson
Pickett was one of the icons of American music, the bad boy of soul
whose hits are a permanent part of America's collective imagination.
He brought songs to life with
passion and soul-shouting style.
Notable songs include --
- In the Midnight Hour
- I Found a Love
- Engine Number 9
- 634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)
- Funky Broadway
- Land of 1000 Dances
- Mustang Sally
- I'm in Love
- Peace Breaker
- Man and a Half
Wilson Pickett will be missed. Remember him through his music.
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Genre: --. Rock
60s, 70s, 80s, 90s
Born: in Alabama
Mar 18, 1941
Died: Jan 19, 2006