The Wicked Pickett: the nickname says it all. Born on 18 March 1941, Wilson Pickett was the baddest of the soul singers who shot to fame in the 60s. He could sing solemnly or scream like a toddler in a tantrum. He had presence, charisma, and did whatever he liked – be that good or baaad. And, decades after his hitmaking prime, he still mattered enough to be the protagonists’ idol in the 1991 musical comedy-drama The Commitments. He was a major star everywhere from Memphis to Ghana to London, despite a reputation for mercurial behaviour. And let’s not forget his artistry. That scream was in tune, not just a random roar. Pickett wrote numerous classics, yet was able to pick other artists’ songs with remarkable acumen, cutting everything from ballads to heavyweight rock’n’roll tunes, making them all his own. He died, on 19 January 2006, having helped put Southern soul on the map. These 10 best Wilson Pickett songs are his wickedest records of all.
Listen to the best of Wilson Pickett here, and check out our 10 best Wilson Pickett songs, below.
10: Don’t Fight It (1965)
Wilson Pickett was born in Alabama in 1941, and moved to Detroit in the mid-50s, singing gospel before joining The Falcons, a group packed with talent such as future Stax stalwart Eddie Floyd and tunesmith Sir Mack Rice. Pickett signed with Atlantic in 1964 and, after a brief false start, was sent to Stax in Memphis, where he cut a slew of hits across 1965 – all of which could jostle for space among the best Wilson Pickett songs. One was this demand for a wallflower to dance, penned with Booker T And The MGs’ guitar-slinger Steve Cropper. “Don’t fight it, you got to feel it,” could have been Pickett’s motto: he did what he felt, and that was fine with him.