renowned soul singer WILSON PICKETT dead at 64.

Wilson Pickett, the impassioned, raw-voiced soul singer who brought a hard-edged, sensuous urgency to a string of rhythm-and-blues hits of the 1960s, died Thursday of a heart attack at Reston, Va., Hospital Center. He had lived in Ashburn, Va., since 1999. He was 64. One of the most exciting performers of his era, Pickett helped define the sound of classic soul music in the 1960s, along with Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, James Brown and Smokey Robinson. He often punctuated his songs with shouts, screams and grunts, giving his music a visceral quality that few other performers could match.
He imbued his leading hits, including “In the Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally,” “Funky Broadway” and “Land of 1,000 Dances,” with a rough, sweaty undertone that contained more than a hint of danger and lust. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and received a further career boost that year when his music was featured in the film “The Commitments,” about an Irish soul band. Pickett performed at the New York premiere of the movie and gained a new generation of fans. Pickett was born in Prattville, Ala., on March 18, 1941. The youngest of 11 children, he grew up in a stern home with a mother he called “the baddest woman in my book.” “She used to hit me with anything, skillets, stove wood,” he told Gerri Hirshey in “Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music.” Survivors include his fiancee, Gail Webb of Ashburn; and four children.

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