Another clasic soul legend gone; Wilson Pickett dies at 64. ”Wilson Pickett, the soul pioneer best known for hard-driving hits Mustang Sally and In The Midnight Hour, has died of a heart attack in Virginia, his management company said last night. He was 64, and had been in declining health for the past year. “We’ve lost a giant, we’ve lost a legend, we’ve lost a man who created his own charisma and made it work around the world,” soul singer Solomon Burke, a close friend of Pickett’s, told Reuters. “It’s just hard for me to really grasp that Wilson is already travelling towards the greater place.”
More details about his life and career from ABC News; ”Dubbed ‘Wicked’ Wilson Pickett by Jerry Wexler, the co-founder of Atlantic Records, where he enjoyed his greatest success, Pickett was one of the leading exponents of the hard-edged Memphis sound, a grittier alternative to the pop singles being churned out by Motown Records in Detroit. Often recording with the house band of Memphis-based Stax Records, Booker T and the MGs, he enjoyed a long string of hits during the 1960s, including the R&B chart-toppers 634-5789, Land of 1,000 Dances and Funky Broadway. The song In the Midnight Hour was his breakthrough hit, transforming the relative unknown into a soul sensation virtually overnight in 1965. Pickett co-wrote the tune with MGs guitarist Steve Cropper in about an hour, and it spent a week atop the R&B singles chart in August of that year.” So along with Burke, Booker T and the MGs, Otis Redding and James Brown, Pickett helped to define the hard driving R+B of the late 60’s. Steve Cropper (his writing partner for in the Midnight Hour) was in Booker T’s band, and also appeared in the classic movie, The Blues Brothers. I always like pointing out the amazing soul musicians from the 60s that were in that movie; they were the real deal. As for Pickett, I’ll always remember his song Mustang Sally being covered at my wedding reception by local legends The Soulard Blues Band.