In this current era of well-mannered-semi-acoustic-blandness-as-the-new-vitality, Wilson Pickett's work sounds like something from the Bizarro World. It's as if he was a time-traveler who heard Wilco, Jack Johnson (the singer, not the brilliant Miles Davis album), and any random assortment of bands that misleadingly and erroneously identify themselves as "indie," and said to himself, "I must do everything I can now, in 1965, to prevent that music from taking hold in the future; or at least to show it up as deeply embarrassing by comparison." Not for nothing did the New York Times headline on his obituary read, "Soul Singer of Great Passion" -- it's no longer a forgone conclusion that musicians will approach their work with passion.
One of the more intriguing lists I encountered when I first read The Book Of Rock Lists was "Best Screams." The only song on the list I hadn't heard was Wilson Pickett's version of "Hey Jude." When I finally listened to it, it was with all the weight of impossible expectations; "OK, show me something here. Justify your presence on that list." I can't recall too many other instances in which my expectations were so ridiculously surpassed.
(Although once I played Pickett's "Hey Jude" for a friend who, after hearing the screams at the end, said, "Those chords aren't interesting enough for him to be screaming like that." I don't think I've ever experienced such a dramatic misapprehension of a work and its context before -- it was like watching someone swing at a ball thrown in the opposite direction.)
So here's Pickett's rendition of "Hey Jude."