Wilson Pickett started out singing in a Baptist Church Choir in Prattville, Alabama.
Wilson was the fourth of eleven children. Wilson's mother had a somewhat explosive temper; he said, "She would hit me on the head with whatever she could get her hand on." Mrs. Pickett left one time and stayed gone for a week, just him and his puppy, and crying, he went to live with his dad in Detroit .
In 1955, Wilson joined a gospel group, Violinaires. They traveled for tours doing gospel shows.
In 1959, Mr. Pickett recorded and released "Let Me Be Your Boy" with Florence Ballard and the Primettes as background singers. The song is on the flip side of "My Heart Belongs To You". He joined the secular group the Falcons.
Once Wilson left Prattville, he fell under Little Richard's guidance. Mr. Pickett referred a great deal to Little Richard being the Architect of Rock and Roll.
1965 was the year things began to really change for him; he had found the right people to "bring out his sound." The genesis of "In the Midnight Hour" was a recording session on May 12, 1965, at which Wexler worked out a powerful rhythm track with studio musicians Steve Cropper and Al Jackson of the Stax Records house band, including bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn. (Stax keyboard player Booker T. Jones, who usually played with Dunn, Cropper and Jackson as Booker T. & the M.G.'s, did not play on the studio sessions with Pickett.) Wexler said to Cropper and Jackson, "Why don't you pick up on this thing here?" He performed a dance step. Cropper explained in an interview that Wexler told them that "this was the way the kids were dancing; they were putting the accent on two. Basically, we'd been one-beat-accenters with an afterbeat; it was like 'boom dah,' but here was a thing that went 'um-chaw,' just the reverse as far as the accent goes."
In May and October of 1965, Mr. Pickett was working with Stax Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Isaac Hayes played keyboard in the October session. Pickett's 1965 recordings included the singles "Don't Fight It," (#4 R&B, #53 pop), "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A,)" (#1 R&B, #13 pop), and "Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do)" (#13 R&B, #53 pop). All but "634-5789" were original compositions which Pickett co-wrote with Eddie Floyd or Steve Cropper or both; "634-5789" was credited to Cropper and Floyd alone.
"Pickett did not return to Stax, as the label's owner, Jim Stewart, had decided in December 1965 to ban outside productions. Wexler took Pickett to Fame Studios, a studio with a closer association with Atlantic Records, located in a converted tobacco warehouse in nearby Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Pickett recorded some of his biggest hits there, including the highest-charting version of "Land of 1,000 Dances", which was his third R&B #1 and his biggest pop hit, peaking at #6. It was a million-selling disc."
"Other big hits from this era in Pickett's career included two covers: Mack Rice's "Mustang Sally", (#6 R&B, #23 pop), and Dyke & the Blazers' "Funky Broadway", (R&B #1, #8 pop). Both tracks were million sellers. The band heard on most of Pickett's Fame recordings included keyboardist Spooner Oldham, guitarist Jimmy Johnson, drummer Roger Hawkins, and bassist Tommy Cogbill. "
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