A little Summer heat this week with Wayback Wednesday. It was on July 10th, 1965 that Atlantic Records released Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour”…the song that really made him a star.
Wilson began with a gospel group as a teenager, and then joined The Falcons to do R&B. They had a hit with “I Found A Love”. His first success as a solo artist came with “It’s Too Late” in the summer of 1963. Pickett sent a demo of a song he co-wrote “If You Need Me” to Atlantic president Jerry Wexler, who promptly gave it to Solomon Burke. The song turned out to be one of Burke’s biggest hits. Wilson was crushed by this move, but didn’t hold a grudge, fortunately.
Wexler bought Pickett’s contract with Double L Records, which had released his version of “If You Need Me”. Wilson recorded “In The Midnight Hour” on May 12, 1965 at Stax studios in Memphis. The Stax Records house band, including Guitarist Steve Cropper, Bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Al Jackson on drums gave the song its powerful rhythm track. It was his third single release for Atlantic…and went to #1 on the R&B chart by August, reaching #21 on the Hot 100.
It sent the “wicked” Wilson Pickett on to a string of successes into the ‘70s. This lip synched version is from a TV show, not credited on the video. But those dancers are really enjoying the Midnight Hour, and we hope you do too!