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In The Midnight Hour


Wilson Pickett

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Pickett wrote this with Steve Cropper, who wrote and produced many of the Soul classics for Stax Records. Cropper played guitar on the Stax session band, Booker T. and The MGs.
Cropper and Pickett wrote this at the Lorraine Motel, which was located near the Stax studios in Memphis. On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot there while standing on the balcony.
This was produced by Jerry Wexler with Booker T. & the MG's as the band. Booker T. and The MGs played on many Soul classics, and had a hit of their own with "Green Onions" in 1962.
Atlantic Records gave Pickett the nickname "The Wicked Pickett" after this was released. They used it to promote him, claiming he got it because of his prowess with the ladies. Pickett lived up to the nickname - he spent some time in jail and struggled with drug use before his death in 2006 at age 64.
This was Pickett's first hit. He went on to become a Soul legend and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1991.
Pickett also recorded "99 1/2" and "634-5789" at the Stax Studios, with backing by Booker T. and the MG's and the horns by the Bar-Kays.
When Pickett and Booker T and the MG's first tried to record the song, nobody liked the result - then Wexler had the idea to change the rhythm so that the teenagers could dance the jerk. According to Booker, the sight of Wexler demonstrating the dance to the band was most memorable and amusing. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 2)
In 1991, this was used in the movie The Commitments, which was about an Irish band who played the songs of American Soul singers. The movie helped introduce Pickett's music to a new audience.
Wilson Pickett
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Comments (9):

On June 22nd 1973, Wilson Pickett performed "In The Midnight Hour" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special'...
Eight years earlier on July 4th, 1965 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #83; and on August 29th, 1965 it peaked at #21 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
And on August 1st, 1965 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
Three covered versions have made the Top 100; The Mirettes (#45 in 1968), Cross Country (#30 in 1973), and Samantha Sang (#88 in 1979)...
Between 1962 and 1987 Mr. Pickett had forty-nine records on the R&B Singles chart; seventeen made the Top 10 with five reaching #1, his other four #1s were "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)" (1966), "Land of a 1,000 Dances" (1966), "Funky Broadway" (1967), and "Don't Knock My Love - Part 1" (1971)...
R.I.P. Mr. Pickett (1941 - 2006).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
The drummer for the "Midnight Hour" record by Wilson Pickett was AL JACKSON, JR. The record was produced by the Stax Records Crew, led by Steve Cropper.
- Terry, Memphis, TN
The song was also in "The Blues Brothers" with Steve "The Colonel" Cropper playing lead guitar in the band.
- Willie, Scottsdale, AZ
Also one of many soul/R&B songs in "The Blues Brothers."
- Willie, Scottsdale, AZ
The band played around with the beat and ended up reversing the beat pattern they originally had from loud to soft to soft then loudawesome effect
- nathan, from the country of, Canada
Rest In Peace Wilson!
- Julian, Anaheim, CA
This base is really fun to play.
- maggie, Chapel Hill, NC
The Rascals did a great cover of this song in around 1966. If you like the Hammond organ more than you do a horn section, you might want to check this out....
- Doug, Lake Mary, FL
Drummer great Buddy Miles played on this track
- Christine, Chicago, IL
You have to to post comments.
Glen BurtnikGlen Burtnik
On Glen's résumé: hit songwriter, Facebook dominator, and member of Styx.
Joe ElyJoe Ely
The renown Texas songwriter has been at it for 40 years, with tales to tell about The Flatlanders and The Clash - that's Joe's Tex-Mex on "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"
Spooner OldhamSpooner Oldham
His keyboard work helped define the Muscle Shoals sound and make him an integral part of many Neil Young recordings. Spooner is also an accomplished songwriter, whose hits include "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."
Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet SprocketGlen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket
The "All I Want" singer went through a long depression, playing some shows when he didn't want to be alive.