Jimi Hendrix playing at an Atlantic Records release party
with Wilson Pickett,
King Curtis, Percy Sledge,
Cornell Dupree and
Esther Phillips at the Prelude Club in Harlem on May 5, 1966.
Before forming his own band Jimi worked with various R&B acts such as the Isley Brothers, King Curtis and Ike and Tina Turner. Tina Turner has denied that Jimi was in her band; Ike Turner claimed Jimi was in his band and that he owned a guitar played by Jimi. Jimi confirmed that he did play with Ike and Tina Turner in a few interviews including one with
Gus Gossert at the Winterland Arena in 1968 when he was asked if he started in San Francisco.
Jimi: “No, I started all over the place… I came out here before. Yeah. I played here at the Fillmore with Ike and Tina and Little Richard about 4 or 5 years ago”
Also, the liner notes of the 1967 UK Track Records LP pressing of “Are You Experienced” mentioned that Jimi played with Ike
On this day in music history: September 17, 1966 – “Land Of 1,000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on September 10, 1966. Written by Chris Kenner, it is the third chart topping single for the R&B vocal icon from Prattville, AL. After less than a year of working successfully with musicians at Stax Studios in Memphis, Wilson Pickett has a major falling out with the studios house band and label co-founder Jim Stewart. As a result, Stewart tells Atlantic Records executive and producer Jerry Wexler that he is banning all non-Stax recording artists from working at the labels Memphis studio. Wexler instead sends Pickett to work with producer Rick Hall at his FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. While deciding on material to record, one of the songs chosen is “Land Of 1,000 Dances”. Written and originally recorded by New Orleans born singer Chris Kenner (“I Like It Like That”) in 1963 (#77 Pop), the song becomes a party anthem and is covered numerous times including versions by Thee Midniters (#67 Pop) and Cannibal & The Headhunters (#30 Pop), the latter being the most successful version to date. Wilson Pickett records his version of the song on May 11, 1966 with members of the Muscle Shoals rhythm section including Roger Hawkins (drums), Spooner Oldham (keyboards), Junior Lowe (bass), Jimmy Johnson (guitar) along with Memphis based musicians Chips Moman (guitar), and horn players Charlie Chalmers, Andrew Love (tenor sax), Wayne Jackson (trumpet) and Floyd Newman (baritone sax). As soon as recording is completed, all agree that they have a hit on their hands. Released in late July of 1966, Pickett’s high octane version of “Land Of 1,000 Dances” quickly rises up the R&B and pop singles charts simultaneously, becoming one of Wilson Pickett’s signature songs, and a highlight of his frenetic live performances.
On this day in music history: August 7, 1965 – “In The Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart, also peaking at #21 on the Hot 100 on September 4, 1965. Written by Wilson Pickett and Steve Cropper, it is the first chart topping single for legendary soul singer from Pratville, AL. Having begun his recording career in 1959 as a member of The Falcons along future star Eddie Floyd (“Knock On Wood”) and songwriter Sir Mack Rice (“Mustang Sally”, “Respect Yourself”), Pickett begins recording as solo act shortly after the group have a hit with “I Found A Love”. Bouncing around to various labels including Correc-Tone and Cub Records, Pickett finally scores a big R&B hit with “It’s Too Late” (#7 R&B,#49 Pop) for Double L Records in 1963. Atlantic Records becomes interested in the singer, and buy him out of this contract with Double L in early 1964. Label exec Jerry Wexler initially has Wilson work with producer Bert Berns (“Twist And Shout”). But when the results don’t produce any hits, Wexler comes up with the idea of taking Pickett down to Memphis to work with the musicians at Stax Records. Working with the core rhythm section of Booker T. & The MG’s members Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn and Al Jackson, the singer quickly develops a rapport with the musicians. Pickett and Cropper write “In The Midnight Hour” while hanging out at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. The track is recorded at Stax Studios on May 12, 1965. During the session, Wexler suggest the songs signature back beat to the band, showing them what he’s looking for by doing the then popular dance “the jerk”. After the musicians stop laughing at Wexler’s attempt at demonstrating the dance, they’ll realize he’s on to something, and begin playing the song with the emphasis on the two and the four. Released as a single in June of 1965, “In The Midnight Hour” is an instant smash. Widely recognized as an R&B classic, the song has been covered by many different artists, across numerous musical genres. “In The Midnight Hour” has been recorded by The Chambers Brothers, Johnny Rivers, James Taylor, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, The Rascals, The Righteous Brothers, Mary Wells, The Jam, Razzy Bailey, Cross Country, and Samantha Sang to name a few. Wilson Pickett’s original version of “In The Midnight Hour” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.
On March 6, 1971 some of the biggest Soul, R&B, Jazz and Gospel acts of the day played a 14 hour concert in Accra, Ghana, celebrating its 14th anniversary of independence. Performers included Wilson Pickett, Ike & Tina Turner, Santana, Roberta Flack, Les McCann, The Staple Singers, Willie Bobo and Eddie Harris. This was captured on film and subsequently released as Soul to Soul; a documentary of the concert intercut with footage of the performers rediscovering their roots and heritage.