Pickett was an American musician and a most known singer. Pickett is an important figure in the creation of American soul music, having recorded more than 50 songs. His songs made in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and many of which became international hits. During his career, Pickett helped to shape the sound of soul music and was a major influence on other soul and R&B singers, including Otis Redding, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. He ensures his place in music history with his string of hits that are still beloved by fans today. Here are the 10 best Wilson Pickett songs of all time:
10. Hey Jude
Released in 1968, this cover of the Beatles classic was a hit on both the pop and R&B charts, reaching number 24 on the former and number 4 on the latter. According to Classicrockhistory, it showcased Pickett’s powerful vocal delivery, which helped to make it one of his most popular songs. The lyrics for the chorus were changed from “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad” to “Hey Jude, don’t be afraid”, which gave the song a more optimistic message.
9. I’m In Love
This 1967 track was one of Pickett’s biggest hits, reaching number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s a classic example of his signature sound, with its driving Motown beat and raspy, soulful vocals. The lyrics are simple but effective, and the overall effect is one of pure joy. This song ‘I’m In Love’ is considered one of the best Wilson Pickett songs of all time as it has a driving Motown beat that is catchy and his raspy, soulful vocals make the song even more interesting. The lyrics are simple but they hit the right emotions.
8. Don’t Knock My Love – Pt. I
This 1971 track was the first single from Pickett’s album of the same name. It reached number 2 on the R&B charts and number 34 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song features a driving funk beat and Pickett’s trademark soulful vocals. The song is a plea to Pickett’s lover not to judge him based on his rough exterior. He sings, “Don’t knock my love/ I’m just trying to find a way/ Don’t knock my love/ I’m just trying to make it today.” The song was covered by Rod Stewart on his 1976 album A Night on the Town.
7. Funky Broadway
This 1967 track was the first single from Pickett’s album The Wicked Pickett. It peaked at number eight on the Billboard R&B chart and number forty-seven on the pop chart. The song has been covered by several artists, including Bruce Springsteen, who recorded a live version in 1975. The lyrics are about a street in Harlem called “Funky Broadway.” The song is full of energy and features Pickett’s signature growl. It is considered one of his best tracks and a classic of the funk genre.
6. In The Midnight Hour
This 1965 track was co-written by Pickett and Steve Cropper. It is one of the most recognizable songs from the Stax Records era and is considered one of Pickett’s best works. The song peaked at number one on the R&B charts and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Pickett trying to explain the meaning of the song: “A lot of people, they don’t understand ‘In the Midnight Hour.’ They think it’s just a party song. But it has a lot of meanings. Like, when you’re down and out, sometimes the only thing you can do is sing or dance. That’s how people in the ghetto relieve themselves of their troubles. We used to have what we called ‘midnight dances.’ That was when everyone let their hair down. All their problems were forgotten for that one night.”
5. Land of 1,000 Dances
The song ‘Land of 1,000 Dances’ was released in 1966 and became an instant classic. The song is about a man who is trying to impress a woman by dancing. The song is considered to be one of the most important dance songs of all time. The song has been covered by many artists, including The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and The Rolling Stones. The song is also notable for its use of the word ‘nigger’, which is considered to be a racially charged word. Despite the controversy surrounding the word, the song is still considered to be a classic.
4. Mustang Sally
The song ‘Mustang Sally’ was released in 1966 and is about a woman who is trying to get away from her stressful life. The lyrics talk about how the woman is trying to find a man who will treat her right and take care of her. This song peaked at number six on the Billboard 100 chart and was certified Gold by the RIAA. Wilson Pickett recorded this song in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. This song has been covered by many artists including The Rolling Stones, Willie Nelson, and Bruce Springsteen.
3. Sugar Sugar
The song ‘Sugar Sugar’ was released in 1970 and is a cover of the song by the same name originally performed by The Archies. It was released as a single from the album In the Midnight Hour and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming Wilson Pickett’s only solo number-one hit on that chart.
2. Engine Number 9
The song ‘Engine Number 9’ is a cover of a track originally performed by Wilson Pickett’s friend and fellow musician James Carr. The song is an up-tempo, driving number that features Pickett’s signature R&B sound. It is one of the few Wilson Pickett songs that were not originally written by him, but it is still considered one of his best. According to Playback, the song was released as a single in 1970 and reached number 33 on the Billboard R&B chart.
1. Fire and Water
This is the opening track from Pickett’s 1971 album, The Wicked Pickett, and it sets the tone for the rest of the record. It’s a slow-burning, soulful ballad that features some of Pickett’s best vocal work. The lyrics are about a man who has been wronged by a woman, but he still can’t help but love her.
Wilson Pickett was one of the most influential singers of the 20th century. His unique style of soul music combined elements of gospel, R&B, and rock and roll, and had a profound impact on the sound of popular music. Pickett was a master of creating catchy hooks and memorable melodies, and his songs have stood the test of time.