Historical marker brings Wilson Pickett’s family to Prattville

Wilson Pickett - File photo
Wilson Pickett - File photo

Prattville – The City of Prattville plans to honor R&B, rock and roll, soul artist Wilson Pickett with a historical marker to be unveiled at 3:00 PM on December 8 at the Creative Arts House Garden behind City Hall.

The marker was decided upon by public input and by a committee consisting of Council President Dean Argo, Councilman Willie Wood, Councilman Ray Boles, and three members of the community, and approved by the Alabama Historical Commission.

“It is appropriate that we pause and honor a native son of Prattville,” said Mayor Jim Byard Jr. “Beginning as a youngster singing gospel music at local churches, to finding fame as a rhythm and blues artist, Wilson Pickett’s music continues to be enjoyed by people of all ages.”

“I look forward to honoring his legacy, and I invite folks out to this historic unveiling,” the mayor added.

Maxwell Pickett and his sister, Louella New, will be traveling from Atlanta, Georgia, to attend the event honoring their famous brother.

“The fact that Mayor Byard and the City Council have decided to do this is just tremendous,” Pickett said. “We are just so grateful that they have chosen to honor him in this way.”

Wilson Pickett, born in Prattville, Alabama on March 18, 1941, had two sons and two daughters: Lynderrick, Veda Lynn Neal, Michael Wilson, and Saphan. The singer was the youngest of 11 children and according to Maxwell Pickett, the entire family has a deep-rooted history in the Fountain City.

“We all worked on the farm in southwest Prattville and whenever we’d get paid we would come to Prattville to shop,” Pickett said. “I graduated from North Highland High School in the city and have great memories from great moments in Prattville. I remember that early in his career, Wilson gave a concert at my school.”

Wilson Pickett will be further recognized next year as the 2010 Fountain City Arts Festival’s honoree and will be honored at a dinner, tentatively scheduled for March 24 at the Marriott in Prattville. Plans are also being discussed for a music festival featuring the Midnight Movers, the band that played with the entertainer for over 25 years.

“The band has already been contacted and they are sitting on ready,” Pickett continued. “They said if we bring them down, they’d give us a show that we will not quickly forget.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s career spanned over 45 years. His musical breakthrough came with the recording of his third Atlantic single, “In the Midnight Hour,” which peaked at #1 on the R&B charts. “Land of a Thousand Dances” was his biggest pop hit in 1966 and other well known singles are “Mustang Sally” and “Funky Broadway.”

Also a talented songwriter, Pickett’s songs were recorded by artists like Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Credence Clearwater Revival, and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

Article by Melissa Parker

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