Wilson Pickett recorded "In the Midnight Hour" at Stax Studios, Memphis, 12 May 1965. The song's co-writer Steve Cropper recalls: "[Atlantic Records president] Jerry Wexler said he was going to bring down this great singer Wilson Pickett" to record at Stax Studio where Cropper was a session guitarist "and I didn’t know what groups he'd been in or whatever. But I used to work in [a] record shop, and I found some gospel songs that Wilson Pickett had sung on. On a couple [at] the end, he goes: 'I'll see my Jesus in the midnight hour! Oh, in the midnight hour. I'll see my Jesus in the midnight hour.'" and Cropper got the idea of using the phrase "in the midnight hour" as the basis for an R&B song. Besides Cropper the band on "In the Midnight Hour" featured Stax session regulars Al Jackson (drums) and Donald "Duck" Dunn (bass). According to Cropper, Wexler was responsible for the track's innovative delayed backbeat, as Cropper revamped his planned groove for "In the Midnight Hour" based on a dance step which Wexler demonstrated in the studio - "(quote Cropper) this was the way the kids were dancing; they were putting the accent on two. Basically, we'd been one-beat-accenters with an afterbeat; it was like 'boom dah,' but here was a thing that went 'um-chaw,' just the reverse as far as the accent goes."
The Mirettes had a Top 20 R&B hit with their version of "In the Midnight Hour" which reached #18 on the R&B chart in Billboard magazine in the spring of 1968, almost crossing-over to the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 with a chart peak of #45.
Cross Country - an outfit which consisted of three members of the Tokens quartet - recorded a ballad version of "In the Midnight Hour" for the group's sole album release which was entitled Cross Country and otherwise consisted of original material: group member Jay Siegel states that Cross Country re-invented "In the Midnight Hour" taking as prototype the recordings of Crosby Stills and Nash. Issued as a single in July 1973, "In the Midnight Hour" debuted at #100 on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine dated 18 August 1973, rising to a peak of #30 in October 1973: the Cashbox Top 100 Singles chart ranked "In the Midnight Hour" by Cross Country as high as #18 besting the #22 peak afforded to the Wilson Pickett original by the Cashbox Top 100 Singles chart. "In the Midnight Hour" by Cross Country also ranked on the BillboardEasy Listening chart with a #6 peak, and was a moderate hit in Canada with an RPM100 peak of #34, also charting in Australia (#63).
"In the Midnight Hour" became a C&W hit in 1984 via a remake by Razzy Bailey which reached #14 C&W. The single was taken from Bailey's The Midnight Hour album recorded in 1983 at producer Bob Montgomery's Soundshop Studio, Nashville. (Bailey followed up "In the Midnight Hour" with another Steve Cropper co-write "Knock on Wood".)
Samantha Sang remade "In the Midnight Hour" for her 1979 album From Dance to Love from which it was issued as the second single: reaching #88, the track would mark her third and final Hot 100 appearance.