Remembering Wilson Pickett: Recording ‘Hey Jude’ With Duane Allman

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Acclaimed R&B singer Wilson Pickett passed away at the age of 64 following a heart attack on this date in 2006. Pickett’s soulful, visceral singing style brought him worldwide attention on the basis of such successful hits “In The Midnight Hour,” “Mustang Sally” and “Funky Broadway.” In honor of Wilson’s career, here’s a look back at a recording Pickett made in 1968 of a classic song originally issued by The Beatles.

Pickett went to Muscle Shoals, Alabama at the end of 1968 to record a new album at the renowned FAME Studios. Working with successful producers Rick Hall and Tom Dowd, Pickett opted to not only record a version of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” but the song became the LP’s title track as well. The pair of engineers were not the only legends involved in the recording as it also featured a young Duane Allman on guitar.

A session musician at the time, Allman would go on to form The Allman Brothers Band with his sibling Gregg Allman soon after the 1969 release of Hey Jude. Duane is known to have suggested to Pickett that the R&B star record “Hey Jude,” and the resulting recording by Skydog became the thing of legend. The November 27, 1968 session for the track also featured storied FAME musicians including drummer Roger Hawkins, keyboardist Marvell Thomas and bassist Gerald Jemmott, along with Pickett and Allman who ended up toe-to-toe during the recording.

“He stood right in front of me, as though he was playing every note I was singing,” Pickett stated only months later. “And he was watching me as I sang, and as I screamed, he was screaming with his guitar.”

Veteran guitarist Eric Clapton was blown away by Skydog’s fretwork, he went so far as to seek out Dowd to find out who was on the track. Here’s Clapton on Allman and Pickett:

The complete Hey Jude album is filled with standout performances by Pickett and his supporting cast of FAME players. Give the full record a spin below:

[Originally Published: January 19, 2017]

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