IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR: The Life & Soul of Wilson Pickett

IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR                            TONY FLETCHER

Wilson Pickett was arguably the greatest male soul screamer of the 1960s and '70s. With a career spanning half a century, he sold millions of albums and tens of millions of singles, leaving a legacy of unforgettable hits, including "In the Midnight Hour," "Land of 1000 Dances," and "Mustang Sally." A first ballot inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Pickett collaborated with some of the biggest names in '60s and '70s pop, rock, and soul, and his passionate stage performances frequently garnered invasions by frenzied audience members of all colors eager to bask-and dance-in his radiant aura. A musician of rare instinct with an unmistakable intensity and charisma, the 'Wicked' Pickett was for many the living embodiment of soul.

In the first biography of this legendary artist, veteran music journalist Tony Fletcher goes far beyond anecdote, weaving the turns of Pickett's extraordinary career into the larger story of black American music in the late 20th Century. As Fletcher shows, from his childhood in the gospel-rich cotton fields of Alabama to his early career in pre-Motown Detroit and long tenure at Atlantic Records, Wilson Pickett always positioned himself at the cutting edge of rhythm 'n' blues and soul. By the time he was thirty, Pickett had five #1 R&B hits, rubbed shoulders with the likes of James Brown, Otis Redding and the Who, and traveled to Ghana with Ike and Tina Turner, Santana and others to headline the first American popular music package to visit the continent. As with so many artists of his generation, the price of superstardom was a career punctuated by violence and drug abuse, with fits of erratic and wild behavior leading to a career slump and two jail terms in the late 1990s before a late career redemption.

Drawn from extensive interviews with the singer's close family and friends and regular members of his studio and touring bands, In the Midnight Hour is a narrative portrait of one of the greatest voices of soul and a rare window into the social upheavals that surrounded him, the genre he helped shape along the way, and the pitfalls of the fame that success brought him.


This is an excellent biography about a singer that you truly felt your soul touched when he sang, and I still do when I hear one of his many hits: In the midnight hour, Mustang Sally, Land of 1000 Dances, to name a few there are many more and they are all outstanding songs. The author takes you back to Alabama, his childhood. With memories from relatives and friends. You get a look at his life as a young boy picking cotton and hunting, and fishing until he can make the move to Detroit with his father. One line in the book was their childhood was not difficult because he and his siblings did not know anything different. It is true but the author shows you how his childhood would affect his relationship with people when he got older, musicians, friends, women, siblings, and then anyone else who he came into contact with. He also takes you into his gospel singing and the people who helped him. Then with a group called the Falcons which actually had a couple of good songs on Atlantic label. When he gets his break you see how his voice is truly his instrument and would not only allow him to work with some of the top names in the business, but also travel around the world. During his day he was the guy. The last part of the book is sad but true about a lot of people. This is truly a good book about a great singer and his rise to stardom. I got this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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