100 Greatest Singers
March 18th, 1941 (died January 19th, 2006)
Key Tracks "In the Midnight Hour," "Land of a 1,000 Dances," "Mustang Sally"
Influenced Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker
"When Wilson Pickett screamed, he screamed notes," producer Jerry Wexler once said. "His voice was powerful, like a buzz saw, but it wasn't ever out of control. It was always melodic." Pickett's signature shout served as the climax for many of his 38 hit singles. "You can feel it comin'," said Pickett, "and you don't let go until the moment is exactly right." The man known as "the Wicked Pickett" and the "Midnight Mover" was soul's purest badass: Immortal songs like 1965's "In the Midnight Hour" and 1966's "Mustang Sally" brought a new level of ferociousness to R&B belting. But Pickett's good friend Solomon Burke notes that Pickett had another side. "Wilson was able to hold that note until you felt it," says Burke. "He made you listen."