5 Things You Might Not Know About Wilson Pickett
Wilson Pickett sang of “Mustang Sally” and the “Land of 1,000 Dances,” but there was more to the man than just the songs that brought him his biggest fame. Join us, if you will, on a quick trip through 5 things you might not known about the “Wicked Pickett.”
- He enjoyed boating and fishing.
Granted, this could be something that was played up for the press, but in a 1968 issue of Ebony, Pickett was shown with his wife, his saxophonist, Jack Philpot, and Philpot’s wife, on the open water. The caption reads, “Favorite hobby, boating, is enjoyed by Mr. and Mrs. Pickett and baritone saxophonist Jack and Mrs. Philpot on Long Island Sound in singer’s twin engine speedboat purchased this year. Pickett boasts that he’s a real fisherman.”
- He was such a huge star in Ghana that he was nicknamed “Soul Brother No. 2,” placing him second only to – you guessed it – James Brown.
On March 6, 1971, Pickett took part in the Soul to Soul concert in Ghana, where he appeared on a bill which also featured Ike & Tina Turner, Les McCann and Eddie Harris, The Staple Singers, Santana, Roberta Flack, and The Voices of East Harlem. When he took the stage, he was wearing what journalist Phyl Garland described as a “skin-tight, rhinestone-studded jumpsuit that displayed every inch of his masculinity.” But you don’t have to take her word for it, you can see it in the clip below!
- He was a “Guest at Heartland” in the closing moments of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
You only see Pickett for a split second during the course of this brief segment, but we’ve found a video that lists everyone who appears along with him, and it’s downright staggering.
- Wilson Pickett went disco in the late ‘70s.
The reason you probably don’t know this is because he didn’t go disco very successfully, at least from a sales standpoint, but despite the fact that his 1979 album I WANT YOU isn’t available for listening on Spotify, it’s absolutely worth checking out. Indeed, the song “Groove City” is a true lost disco classic, one which should be far better known than it is. That’s not to say that you should remember Pickett as a disco artist, but just know that he could do it, and when he did, he did it damned well.
- He didn’t appear in The Commitments, but he did perform with The Commitments.
It’s been long enough that it hopefully no longer qualifies as a spoiler to reveal that, despite a running plot thread in The Commitments that Pickett was going to turn up and jam with “the hardest working band in the land,” he showed up just after The Commitments imploded. When the film hit theaters, however, Pickett was kind enough to perform live in conjunction with its release.
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