Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ten Reasons Why Wilson Pickett Was Cool

R&B/soul singer Wilson Pickett died of a heart attack on Thursday at age 64 in a Reston, Virginia hospital near his home. He had suffered through health problems for the last year.

Here at ChartAttack, instead of mourning a musician's death, we prefer to celebrate his or her life. Here are 10 reasons why Wilson Pickett was cool:

1. People called him "Wicked Pickett."

2. Unlike many of the biggest R&B/soul stars of the '60s, Pickett wrote or co-wrote many of his own hits, including "In The Midnight Hour."

3. "In The Midnight Hour" has been covered by The Jam, Tom Jones, Echo & The Bunnymen, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Rivers, Roxy Music, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Thunders, Jackie Wilson, The Young Rascals, Mary Wells, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Martha Reeves, The Chocolate Watchband, The Chambers Brothers and John Holt — all of whom are cool.

4. Pickett covered The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar," which means that Andy Kim made some money from him.

5. Pickett joined The Falcons as a teenager and sang their 1962 hit, "I Found A Love." The Falcons also included Eddie Floyd (who wrote the classic "Knock On Wood" and "634-5789," which Pickett later had a major hit with) and Sir Mack Rice (who wrote another of Wilson's big solo hits, "Mustang Sally").

6. Pickett recorded at the Stax and Muscle Shoals Studios with some of the top session musicians ever, including guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn and organist Booker T. Jones.

7. Many people consider Pickett's version of The Beatles' "Hey Jude," which he recorded with guitarist Duane Allman, to be better than the original.

8. Although Pickett didn't appear in The Commitments, the film focused on a struggling Dublin soul band's comedic efforts to meet and perform with him.

9. Pickett was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991.

10. Pickett wasn't just compared to James Brown because of their musical similarities. He also lived life on the edge and toured around the world almost non-stop until health problems forced him to retire.

—Steve McLean


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