Wilson Pickett

No one could argue that Wilson Pickett was not one of the top soul singers of the 60's. He was born in Prattville, Alabama in 1941 and sang in gospel groups both before and after he moved to Detroit with his family at age 14. In 1961 he was recruited by a local R&B group known as The Falcons and stayed with them for two years before venturing off on his own. After recording some songs that were minor hits with Lloyd Price's Double-'L label, he signed with Atlantic Records. Initially meeting with little success, Jerry Wexler of Atlantic sent him to Memphis to work with producer and guitar player Steve Cropper at Stax Records.

In Memphis Wilson Pickett began to sing with one of the top back-up groups of all-time, Booker T and the MG's. A short time later, in 1965 he reached the pop charts with his first successful crossover In The Midnight Hour, which he co-wrote with Steve Cropper. Cropper and Eddie Floyd gave him his next hit song: 634-5789 [Soulsville USA], and he was on his way.

Picking up the nickname "The Wicked Pickett," next up was a cover of Land Of 1000 Dances, which proved to be his most successful record on the pop charts [he continued to be huge on the R&B charts as well]. He recorded songs in Memphis, in Muscle Shoals and in Miami. In 1967 his Funky Broadway went top ten.

The Wicked Pickett recorded many, many songs, among them Mustang Sally in 1966 and Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You as late as 1971. He was hugely popular on the R&B Charts and had a great deal of success on the pop charts as well, although he never had a #1 pop song.

Wilson Pickett took his rightful position in the Rock-and-Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991. Later in life he suffered from some health problems and died from a heart attack on January 19, 2006.

Most Recent Update: January 19, 2006

Return to Rock-and-Roll Page.

Return to Home Page.

Send email to the author, Tom Simon tsimon@tsimon.com.