Friday, January 20, 2006

Something 'Wicked' This Way Came

And we'll miss him.

We must pay our respects to one of the great influences of our early musical education, the "Wicked" Wilson Pickett, who died tonight of a heart attack at age 64 in a Reston, Virginia, hospital.

Wilson Pickett, the man of the Midnight Hour, who held the keys for Mustang Sally, stamped our passport to the Land of 1,000 Dances and taught us the Funky Broadway. The legend whose influence and not-quite-on-film presence inspired a fictitious Dublin soul band in "The Commitments" to recreate in homage some of his best work, and the project was so successful it revived his career.

Critics would probably point to his history of depression, drugs and the occasional arrest as reasons to ignore his passing. We would have to respectfully disagree. Nobody but Wilson himself knew what it was like to walk in his shoes and to handle fame after the fortune was pretty much gone.

Wilson brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, of all race, creeds and colors. "In the Midnight Hour" was one of those smash classics that you had to know if you were in an aspiring garage band in the '60s. His was the epitome of Soul Music and it transcended time and place, or at least it felt so at the time.

We hope the good Lord, in His mercy, cuts Wilson some slack. A man who can make people happy, while he himself suffers, is a man with redeeming qualities.

Yes, we will miss him.


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