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Wilson Pickett Dies of Heart Attack at 64....


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Wilson Pickett Dies of Heart Attack at 64

Jan 19, 5:46 PM (ET)

RESTON, Va. (AP) - Wilson Pickett, the soul pioneer best known for the fiery hits "Mustang Sally" and "In The Midnight Hour," died of a heart attack Thursday, according to his management company. He was 64.

Chris Tuthill of the management company Talent Source said Pickett had been suffering from health problems for the past year.

"He did his part. It was a great ride, a great trip, I loved him and I'm sure he was well-loved, and I just hope that he's given his props," Michael Wilson Pickett, the fourth of the singer's six children, told WRC-TV in Washington after his death.

A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pickett - known as the "Wicked Pickett" - became a star with his soulful hits in the 1960s.

"In the Midnight Hour" made the top 25 on the Billboard pop charts in 1965 and "Mustang Sally" did the same the following year.

Pickett was defined by his raspy voice and passionate delivery. But the Alabama-born picket actually got his start singing gospel music in church. After moving to Detroit as a teen, he joined the group the Falcons, which scored the hit "I Found a Love" with Pickett on lead vocals in 1962.

He went solo a year later.

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What makes Wilson Pickett "Wicked"? A truckload of classic songs, ("Mustang Sally," "In the Midnight Hour," "Funky Broadway") gold albums, induction into the Rock 'n' Roll of Fame, a brand new power-packed album of rocked-up soul, buckwhylin' behavior above the call of duty, career longevity? Not quite.

Wilson Pickett is wicked precisely because no soul singer before or since has even come close. Blessed with big lungs and the gruffest tenor voice on the planet, Pickett literally demolishes a song, dusts off the gospel / blues hard core and funks it way up. So deep he sings the scared into the profane (on more than one occasion), Wilson Pickett is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of artist.

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 Memphis. 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 is one of the icons of American music, the bad boy of soul whose hits are a permanent part of America's collective imagination. He's at the peak of his vocal powers, bringing songs to life with passion and soul-shouting style.


Wilson Pickett with unknown guitarist James Marshall Hendrix




Gone but not forgotten

March 18,1941-January 19,2006


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