Prattville – Due to inclement weather, the ceremony honoring soul singer and Prattville native son, Wilson Pickett, was moved inside the Creative Arts House on Tuesday afternoon and members of Pickett’s family and the committee responsible for the homage to the legendary entertainer unveiled a photo of the marker.
Mayor Jim Byard Jr. welcomed all of Pickett’s family and thanked them for coming.
“Right now Prattville is famous for a lot of athletes, but I think it’s exciting we’re unveiling a plaque for someone who is not an athlete … for someone who has another God-given talent, Wicked Wilson Pickett,” Byard said to the crowd.
Councilman Willie Wood, a member of the committee, expressed his appreciation to the mayor and to all of the committee members for working so long and hard on this project.
“This wasn’t a one-man effort, but a committee and community effort,” said Wood. “We’ve had a lot of support from all around to state to honor Wicked Wilson Pickett.”
Pickett’s family traveled from several states to honor their famous relative. On behalf of those in attendance, Maxwell Pickett thanked the City of Prattville, the City Councilmen, and all of the citizens of Prattville for recognizing his brother in such a special way.
“Even though Wilson is gone, it is never too late for someone to give back to the community,” Pickett said. “We’re looking forward to starting a foundation in his name to help the communities in and around Prattville … to give back to the city that helped him become what he was.”
The R&B artist’s oldest daughter, Veda Lynn Neal, also interested in singing, came from South Carolina to Prattville for the ceremony honoring her father.
“I’m excited … it’s just not sinking in yet,” said Neal, full of emotion.
One of the fondest memories of her dad was during the mornings as a child.
“He was our alarm clock,” Neal said with a chuckle. “He would sing every morning and that’s how we knew it was time to get up.”
Some of Pickett’s hits were “In the Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally,” “Land of 1,000 Dances,” and “Funky Broadway.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
Byard also confirmed that Wilson Pickett will be honored at the 2010 Fountain City Arts Festival in the Spring. Past honorees were Charlie “Tin Man” Lucas, Daniel Wallace (author of Big Fish), and Jack Warner. The chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will also be in attendance, as well as Pickett family members, during that weekend.
“It is just so exciting that we’re able to honor one of our native sons for not only Prattville folks, but for people traveling through that didn’t know Pickett spent some time here,” said Byard. “Remembering our history is vitally important and I’m excited to be able to do that today.”
Article by Melissa Parker
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