Born March 18, 1941 in Prattville, AL, Wilson Pickett grew up singing in Baptist church choirs. At the age of 14, he relocated to Detroit (1955), to live with his father. While living in Detroit, Wilson formed a gospel group, The Violinaires, which accompanied the likes of Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, the Swan Silvertones, as well as the David Sisters touring churches across the country. Eventually, he followed Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin's ventures into secular music, as it was much more profitable.
Joining The Falcons in 1959, one of the first groups to bring gospel into a popular context, would be Wilson's first break. Other future major solo artists like Eddie Floyd and Sir Mack Rice were members of the Falcons as well. In 1962, "I Found Love", would be Pickett's biggest success as a Falcon, when it peaked at ..6 on the R&B charts.
Not long after recording "I Found Love", Mr Pickett recorded his first solo tracks, including a first Don Covay collaboration, "I'm Gonna Cry". It was around this time that he co-wrote and recorded a demo song, "If You Need Me", which was sent to Atlantic Records. Jerry Wexler, then producer for Atlantic, loved the song so much he had Solomon Burke record it.
Pickett's first major solo hit was, "It's Too Late", not to be confused with the Chuck Willis hit of the same title. Wilson Pickett would go on to record many other hits such as "In The Midnight Hour", "Mustang Sally", "Funky Broadway", and "Land of 1000 Dances". He was also a popular songwriter having many hits recorded by Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Grateful Dead, Booker T. & the MG's, Genesis, Hootie & the Blowfish, Roxy Music, Bruce Springsteen, Los Lobos, and Ani DiFranco, among others. His last hit single, as a recording artist, would be "Fire & Water" in 1972.
1991, Wilson Pickett was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. Later that decade he would be given the Pioneer Award, by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 1999 he recieved a Grammy for the album, "It's Harder now."
Mr. Pickett was called home January 19, 2006 of a heart attack at a hospital near his Reston, VA home, he was 64.