I have stated time and time again that when push comes to shove, “In the Midnight Hour” is my favourite song of all time. It’s a celebratory jam with classic Atlantic Record horns and slightly pervy lyrics, but Wilson Pickett sells it.
Despite my unflinching love for noise and unapologetic love for shiny sparkly pop, the music I return to frequently is sixties soul. It was the music of the family radio, but not of the family record collection. It clearly inspired the disco and 80s dance pop of my childhood, and respected by everyone of my adolescence. I’m a sucker for Motown, Stax, and Atlantic records, and the more soulful the voice, the more likely I am to love you.
I love Wilson Pickett. His rich, rough vocal verges on the edge of collapse at points, as that legendary Stax studio band plays memorable brass lines and deeply perfect rhythms underneath. He never gets the credit of an Otis, a Jackie, or a Stevie, but he sang three of the greatest pop songs of all time and deserves to be remembered. I mean, is “In The Midnight Hour” the greatest song ever written, bar none, without question? Probably not. But few songs make me want to get up and dance, and because I feel Pickett is grossly underrated as a soul singer and as an inspiration for modern dance and R&B music, I will maintain that it certainly is one of the greatest songs of all time. It is cleverly structured- there is no chorus, it’s just verses followed by a lot of horns. Sometimes that is all I need to get through the day.