Mustang Sally (song)

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"Mustang Sally"
Single by Wilson Pickett
from the album The Wicked Pickett
B-side"Three Time Loser"
Songwriter(s)Mack Rice
Producer(s)Jerry Wexler, Rick Hall
Wilson Pickett singles chronology
"Land of a Thousand Dances"
"Mustang Sally"
"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"

"Mustang Sally" is a rhythm and blues (R&B) song written and first recorded by Mack Rice in 1965.[1] It was released on the Blue Rock label (4014) in May 1965 with "Sir Mack Rice" as the artist.[2] The song uses an AAB layout with a 24-bar structure.[3]

It gained greater popularity when Wilson Pickett covered it the following year on a single, a version that was also released on the 1966 album, The Wicked Pickett.[4] Also in 1966, John Lee Hooker recorded an entirely different song with a similar title — "Mustang Sally & GTO".


According to music historian Tom Shannon the song started as a joke when singer Della Reese wanted a new Ford Mustang. Rice called the early version "Mustang Mama" but changed the title after Aretha Franklin suggested "Mustang Sally".[5]

The song is influenced by the children's game song (recorded by various artists) "Little Sally Walker", versions of which include the lyrics "Rise Sally rise, wipe your weepin' eyes", with variations.

In the liner notes for The Rascals Anthology, Felix Cavaliere states that The Young Rascals recorded "Mustang Sally" and "Land of a Thousand Dances" before Pickett and that Atlantic Records "copped those two songs from them and gave them to Pickett" to record. When Cavaliere does his flashback concerts, he also recounts how Rice thanked him for having been the B-side of the Young Rascals' hit, "Good Lovin'", explaining that the royalties were paid by records sold — thus, the B-side writer was paid for an equal number of sales as the A-side.[citation needed]

Popular versions[edit]

Rice's version made it to #15 on the U.S. R&B charts in 1965. Pickett's version climbed to #6 on the R&B charts and #23 on the Pop charts in 1966, #4 in Canada on the (RPM) charts, and #28[6] in the UK Singles Chart on its original release and #62, when it was released again in 1987.[7]

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Wilson Pickett's recording of the song at #434 on a list of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[8] The song dropped seven spots to #441, when the magazine published its 2010 update of the list.[9]

Popular culture and covers[edit]

The song featured prominently in the 1991 film The Commitments and appears on the film's soundtrack album, sung by Andrew Strong.[10] It was released as a single from the album and reached #63 in the UK Singles Chart, #43 on the Australian charts and #17 on the New Zealand charts.[11]


  1. ^ "Sir Mack Rice Discography". Archived from the original on 2013-06-01. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  2. ^ Singles reviews Spotlights. Billboard Mar 27, 1965 page 65
  3. ^ "AAB Song Form — Songstuff". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  4. ^ "The Wicked Pickett by Wilson Pickett on Apple Music". 1941-03-18. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  5. ^ "'Mustang Sally' by Wilson Pickett". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 434/6. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2004-12-09. Retrieved 2008-04-10.
  9. ^ "'Rolling Stone' Updates '500 Greatest Songs' List Archived June 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.". (June, 2010). CBS. Retrieved 2010-5-29
  10. ^ Commitments. "The Commitments - The Commitments: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  11. ^ " - The Commitments - Mustang Sally". Retrieved 26 August 2015.