Nope. No way. Wilson Pickett cannot be dead at age 64.
In case you don't remember me rhapsodizing about Stax soul pioneer/genius Pickett and his performance in Soul to Soul, here's my thoughts. And fittingly, I had just watched this moment again (and for probably the 50th time) a few nights ago.
One of the many remarkable (and my favorite) moments of Soul to Soul , the 1971 concert film chronicling a group of R&B, Jazz and Rock stars visiting Ghana, Africa for a history-making concert, features a joyous, somewhat amazed Wilson Pickett singing “Land of a Thousand Dances” to a crowd of spellbound Africans. Letting young men jump on stage and dance with the beatific, screaming Pickett, these kids are getting down like nothing you’ve ever seen. One, clad in tight black pants and turtleneck looks like some Greenwich Village hipster. The other, in baggy yellow suit takes his shoes off to do some knee twitching, the other just funks out in plaid pants. But before that, another pop cultural contribution can be cited as originating in Africa—the Stage Dive. One kid, grooves with Pickett and then (I am supposing) thinks, Fuck it. I’m jumping in. Given the ease and comfort this guy leaps into the crowd I’m guessing the jump was either commonplace or because of Pickett's awe-inspiring lungs. So I will theorize that the stage dive did not start in the punk scene, it actually began in Africa and probably because of Wilson Pickett hollering: “Shake whatcha brought witcha!”
Rest in Peace "Wicked Pickett."
*Wilson picture photo courtesy Photo Features