since the celebrity deaths go in threes - one more

'Midnight Hour' Singer Wilson Pickett Dies

POSTED: 5:34 pm EST January 19, 2006
UPDATED: 6:44 pm EST January 19, 2006

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RESTON, Va. -- The man who sang the classic hits "Mustang Sally" and "In The Midnight Hour" has died.

Wilson Pickett died of a heart attack Thursday, according to his management company.

He was 64.

Chris Tuthill of the management company Talent Source said Pickett had been suffering from health problems for the past year.

A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1991, Pickett -- known as the "Wicked Pickett" -- became a star with his soulful hits in the 1960s.

Born March 18, 1941, in Prattville, Ala., Pickett got his start singing gospel music in church. After moving to Detroit as a teen, he joined the group the Falcons, which scored the hit "I Found a Love" with Pickett on lead vocals in 1962.

As a solo artist, Pickett's fiery tune "In the Midnight Hour" made the top 25 on the Billboard pop charts in 1965, and "Mustang Sally" did the same the following year. Pickett recorded the tunes on the legendary Stax Records label in in Memphis.

Pickett was one of the soul legends featured in the 2002 documentary "Only the Strong Survive." In an interview with @ The Movies' Tim Lammers about the film's release on DVD, Pickett, who performed throughout his later years, shared the secret to his longevity.

"When I was out there performing, I did the best that I could," Pickett said. "I ate right and tried to keep away from things that would be harmful to me. That's why I can say I'm among the number of artists in 'Only the Strong Survive,' because sometimes you have to be as strong to stay away from things that you know are going to take you under."

Pickett's other hits included "Land of 1,000 Dances," which turned up in such films as "The Full Monty" and "Forrest Gump."

As an actor, Pickett had cameos in "Blues Brothers 2000" and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."