About Wilson Pickett
A pioneer of ’60s soul music, singer and songwriter Wilson Pickett defined an era with hits like “In the Midnight Hour” and “Mustang Sally.”
• Born in Alabama, Pickett moved to Detroit as a teenager to live with his father. He got his start singing in church, and in 1955, he joined the gospel group The Violinaires.
• Pickett joined the R&B group The Falcons in 1959. He cowrote and sang lead vocals on 1962’s “I Found a Love,” a Top 10 R&B hit.
• In 1963, he sent a solo demo track titled “If You Need Me” to Atlantic Records, hoping to swing a record deal. Instead of signing Pickett, Atlantic gave the song to their artist Solomon Burke.
• Later that year, a determined Pickett notched a Top 10 R&B hit with the single “It’s Too Late.” Impressed by the track, Atlantic finally signed the promising artist.
• He topped the R&B charts and notched his first Top 40 pop hit with 1965’s gold-certified, Grammy-nominated “In the Midnight Hour.”
• Pickett managed two Top 10 pop hits before the decade was out: “Land of 1000 Dances” (1966) and “Funky Broadway” (1967).
• Pickett collaborated with Philadelphia superproducers Gamble and Huff on 1970’s In Philadelphia. His career began to decline soon after.
• He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
• In 1999, Pickett released It’s Harder Now, his first studio album in a decade and his last before retirement. The LP earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
• Pickett died from a heart attack in 2006. He was 64.
BORNMarch 18, 1941