Wilson Pickett, 1941-2006

Soul music lost one of its legendary pioneers when Wilson Pickett died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 64. Pickett was born in Prattville, Alabama, and cut his musical teeth singing in gospel choirs. While his recording career began in Detroit, it didn't take off until Pickett relocated to the Stax studios in Memphis in the mid-60's. With Booker T. and the MG's backing him up, Pickett belted out a string of classic songs. "In the Midnight Hour" and "Land of 1,000 Dances" became his biggest hits. In later years, interest in Wilson Pickett's music received a couple of boosts from music-inspired movies; "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" was the concert number in The Blues Brothers, and "Mustang Sally" was the standout song in The Committments. Pickett continued to perform regularly until his health failed him in the last year of his life. He leaves behind a solid catalogue of memorable soul tunes which hold up forty years later, and I'd recommend picking up any of the compilation albums available by him.

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