[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 09:51 GMT
Soul singer Wilson Pickett dies
Wilson Pickett (photo taken in 1981)
Wilson Pickett was one of the most popular soul singers of the 1960s
Veteran US soul singer Wilson Pickett has died aged 64 after suffering a heart attack in Virginia.

His management company said that he had been in poor health for the past year, and last performed in 2004.

Born in Alabama, Pickett shot to fame in the 1960s with hits including In The Midnight Hour and Mustang Sally.

Soul diva Aretha Franklin was among the stars to pay tribute to Pickett. She called him "one of the greatest soul singers of all time".

She added: "He will absolutely be missed. I am thankful that I got the chance to speak to him not too long ago."

He did his part - it was a great ride, a great trip
Michael Wilson Pickett

Soul singer Solomon Burke added: "We've lost a giant, we've lost a legend, we've lost a man who created his own charisma and made it work around the world."

He joined a group called The Falcons before embarking on a solo career in 1963, securing a deal with Atlantic Records by 1965.

Pickett moved to Detroit as a teenager, after early beginnings as a gospel singer in Alabama.

Jerry Wexler, the co-founder of Atlantic Records, called him "Wicked" Pickett.

Wilson Pickett and Bruce Springsteen
Pickett and Bruce Springsteen performing in 1999
Fans and critics admired Pickett for his sensuous, energetic performances. He moved south, and his hard Memphis sound was in contrast to the smoother soul hits produced by the Motown label in Detroit.

He often recorded with Booker T and the MGs, the band closely linked to Stax Records.

He wrote In The Midnight Hour with MGs guitarist Steve Cropper and recorded it at the Stax studios in Memphis. It brought him overnight success in 1965.


After a string of hits, his career went into decline in the 1970s.

Nevertheless, Pickett had continued performing on a regular basis until he became ill, and had been inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"He was always in demand," his manager Margo Lewis said. "He last performed at the end of 2004."

"He did his part. It was a great ride, a great trip," his son Michael Wilson Pickett told a TV station in Washington.

"I loved him and I'm sure he was well-loved."

Wilson Pickett: Your comments
20 Jan 06 |  Have Your Say

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific