Home / Soul Legend Wilson Pickett Dead at 64

Soul Legend Wilson Pickett Dead at 64

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Soul legend Wilson Pickett died of a heart attack today at the age of 64. According to his management company, Pickett had suffered health problems for the past year.

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Born in Prattville, Alabama, Pickett started out by singing gospel music at church. He moved to Detroit while in his teens, and joined the Falcons, with whom he recorded a hit, “I Found A Love”, in 1962. Striking out on his own, he began to develop a successful career as a solo artist. He landed at the legendary soul label Stax Records in Memphis in the mid-sixties, where “In The Midnight Hour” was born. With more hits in the form of “Mustang Sally” and “Land of 1000 Dances”, and his trademark throaty voice and impassioned delivery, Pickett solidified his place in musical history. His career flourished throughout the sixties and early seventies, and when his recording career hit a decline with the advent of disco, he continued to tour successfully.

Beset with legal and personal problems in the 1990s, Pickett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 and was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1993. With his songs covered widely by other musicians and his distinctive sound a permanent part of the sixties, Pickett’s place in musical history is secured.

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About Lisa McKay

  • Lisa, it’s sad to see him go. So many great voices have been lost recently: Johnny Cash, Luther Vandross, Lou Rawls, and now Wilson.

    Luckily, we have the recordings to fall back on. So does everyone in the generations to come.

  • Eric Olsen

    thanks Lisa, very sad, 64 doesn’t seem very old – one of the great soul shouters of all time, almost the peer of Otis Redding, I love Wilson Pickett

  • Eric Olsen

    Ahmet Ertegun, Founding Chairman of Atlantic Records, made the following statement regarding the death last week of Wilson Pickett:

    “When my partner Jerry Wexler signed Wilson Pickett to Atlantic in late-1964, it would prove to be a defining moment in the birth of Southern Soul music. In 1965, Jerry brought Wilson to the Stax studio in Memphis, where he cut a string of groundbreaking tracks, highlighted by the revolutionary “In The Midnight Hour” – which influenced countless artists and records in its wake. Moving to Muscle Shoals, Alabama the following year, Wilson made such timeless classics as ‘Land Of 1000 Dances,’ ‘Mustang Sally,’ and ‘Funky Broadway.’

    “Like all of the greatest soul artists, Wilson first made his mark as a gospel singer before crossing into secular music. He sang with a religious fervor that was truly inspired, combined with a raw energy and unbridled passion that has never been equaled. ‘Wicked’ Pickett, as he became known, had the rare gift of being able to put on record what he put out live, and we at Atlantic were truly blessed to have been there to capture him in all his explosive glory. Wilson was a volatile character with a heart of gold, and above all, a true original and pioneer. His music will forever be an essential part of the legacy of our company and of the history of American music.”

  • Some of those old Wilson Pickett records were great. Duane Allman sat in on a lot of those sessions recorded over in Muscle Shoals. It’s sad to see him go so young.

  • Carolyn

    He will certainly be missed,along with the others that have been able to win there way into the hearts of fans thru by there music..

    Love always
    Gods blessing to the family of Wilson Pickett.