Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wicked Pickett

I swear to God, last night I sang Mustang Sally to the little one. That's her name and that's one of her songs.

In the 1980s, I worked as a writer and producer for WNBC-TV News in Rockefeller Center. Our studio, 6B, was across the hall from 6A, where they taped Late Night with David Letterman.

They recorded the Letterman show at 5:30, as we did our live evening newscasts, and often guests from Live at Five would walk across to do the Letterman show, or in the case of Don Rickles, walk out of Letterman’s studio and crash our newscast.

There was a men’s room by the elevators. It was used by staff and guests from both operations.

One evening, after dropping off a script in the control room, I stopped in before heading back up to the newsroom.

I walked in, turned right and headed to the urinals. I unzipped, glanced around-- and realized the man in the sharp suit standing next to me was none other than Wilson Pickett!

I didn't check him out.

I thought about it. I had the argument in my head as I stood there next to the still-powerful and virile performer. He was the Wicked Pickett, the Midnight Mover, standing right there next to me. There could be valid reason to check out the stature of such a legendary soul man. Either way, it would have been a good story to tell. But I did not look down or over.

I kept my eyes straight ahead.

We exchanged nods at the sinks as we washed our hands.

He went off to sing with the Late Night band. I went back to planning my escape from the news business.

That's my
Wilson Pickett story.


elli said...

I woulda looked

fan said...

Hadn't thought about Wicked Pickett in years.

IFC ran D.A. Pennebaker's "Only the Strong Survive" Wed. night. I tuned in late and missed his act.

On the phone with a musician friend the next day "Damn I missed Wilson Pickett last night!"

Hung up the phone. Turned on the TV and heard the news.

Anonymous said...

I have a Wilson Pickett story, too. At the Apollo in the '70's. I was a cop in the 28 Pct., which covers 125 St., so I used to pop into the Apollo for a listen once in a while. I saw WP come out one night, coked and boozed up he was, so he started cracking on the audience. Never sang a note. They booed him out of the place.
What a scene.