Let’s start with the scream. We tend to define our singers by how “great” their voice is, how deftly they can ascend and descend major and minor scales, and how they can turn up and turn down the emotion inherent in their voices. But when considering Wilson Pickett, it begins and ends with his scream. He could take you on a journey, he could butter you up, he could make you feel things in your vital organs, but you don’t get a nickname like “Wicked Pickett” because you’re a crooner.
Pickett’s “Hey Jude” forms the spiritual centerpiece and title track of hisfinal trip up to the mountain-top, his last true masterpiece LP. He’d take forays to Philadelphia for the new sound of soul, and even go vaguely disco in the late ’70s. But for his final album of the ’60s, a decade where he dominated the soul charts, he’d unwittingly help start southern rock, and scream his way across one of the most recognizable tunes in the history of song. Not bad for 31 minutes and eight seconds worth of music.