Mustang Sally (song)

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"Mustang Sally"
Single by Wilson Pickett
from the album The Wicked Pickett
B-side "Three Time Loser"
Released 1966
Genre R&B
Length 3:08
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Mack Rice
Wilson Pickett singles chronology
"Land of 1000 Dances"
"Mustang Sally"
"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"

"Mustang Sally" is an 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 and 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]

On The Rascals Anthology booklet, Felix Cavaliere claims the Young Rascals actually recorded "Mustang Sally" and "Land of 1000 Dances" before Pickett. He says Atlantic Records "copped those two songs from them and gave them to Pickett" to record.

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 re-released in 1987.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Wilson Pickett's recording of the song at #434 on a list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[7] The song dropped seven spots to #441, when the magazine published its 2010 update of the list.[8]

Popular culture and covers[edit]

The Young Rascals covered the song in 1966, changing the year of the "brand new Mustang" from 1965 to 1966.

The chorus of the song includes the lyrics "ride, Sally, ride"—a phrase which became fodder for newspaper headlines in 1983, when astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. The Lou Reed song "Ride Sally Ride," which quotes these lyrics throughout, is the first track on his 1974 album Sally Can't Dance. The same lyric is found in Dance To The Music and Sally the Camel.

The song featured prominently in the (1991) film The Commitments and appears on the film's soundtrack album, sung by Andrew Strong.[9] 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.[10]

The Coasters released a version of the song that can be found on their greatest hits album, 20 Greatest Hits.[11]

David Lee Roth released his cover of the song in January 2015, as part of his "Happy New Year" video that was posted on his Youtube channel page for The Roth Show.[12]

Other covers[edit]

The song has been performed by many artists, including: The Cavemen, Andy Taylor, BB King and Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck, Gerard Butler, Los Lobos, David Lee Roth, Silver Apples, The Kingsmen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Thomas Pedersen, Phish,[13] and Haim.[14]


  1. ^ Sir Mack Rice Discography at
  2. ^ Singles reviews Spotlights. Billboard Mar 27, 1965 page 65
  3. ^ SongStuff retrieved 01/06.2016
  4. ^ The Wicked Pickett track listing at iTunes Store
  5. ^ "'Mustang Sally' by Wilson Pickett". 
  6. ^ Chart Stats for Mustang Sally Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  7. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2004-12-09. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  8. ^ "'Rolling Stone' Updates '500 Greatest Songs' List". (June, 2010). CBS. Retrieved 2010-5-29
  9. ^ "The Commitments: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  10. ^ " - The Commitments - Mustang Sally". Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "The Coasters, 20 Greatest Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  12. ^ "[1]"
  13. ^ "Duet Spotlight: Bruce and Phish" Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  14. ^ "Haim Is Pop’s Most Brilliant New Cover Band" Retrieved May 5, 2014.