The One That Made Sally’s Ride So Famous: C.C. Rider on Wilson Pickett

This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.

wilson-pickettWILSON PICKETT

(March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006)

Wilson Pickett. An Alabama gospel singer who climbed the charts and altered the course of music history. You know the song Mustang Sally? He’s the one that made Sally’s ride so famous. Wilson hit it big in the mid-sixties at Stax Records with songs like “In the Midnight Hour.” And he beat Tommy Tutone to the punch with the first phone number jam “634-5789 (Soulsville, USA).” But my favorite of his was recorded in 1966. Story goes that Mr. Pickett was pissed about 634-5789. Didn’t like the song. His songwriters, Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper, were drivin’ to meet Wilson to calm him down and drum up some new material. They didn’t have much to offer right then—till they noticed a billboard for Coca Cola. It said “Ninety Nine and a Half Won’t Do.” The ad was right. It won’t do. So they wrote this killer track. Here it is. Wilson Picket and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section “Ninety-Nine and a Half.”

The Veneration of Wilson Pickett Continues at

J. Howard Rosier

J. Howard Rosier

J. Howard Rosier has a journalism degree from Columbia College. He is currently studying writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he also serves as News Editor for FNews.

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