Love Comes Tumbling Down

This was a challenging one for me and I thought about going with ‘Minute By Minute’ by The Doobie Brothers and then ‘Time After Time’ by Cyndi Lauper because she says “The second hand unwinds”, but I finally went with ‘Midnight Hour’ by Wilson Pickett.  Pickett wrote this in 1965 with guitarist Steve Cropper at the Lorraine Motel, which was where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot three years later.  This song was produced by Jerry Wexler with Steve Cropper, Al Jackson and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn from the Stax house band Booker T. & the MG’s.  This was Pickett’s first hit on Atlantic Records, it reached number one on the R&B charts and peaked at number 21 on the pop charts.  In 2017, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant”.

Pickett went on to become a soul music legend and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.  Picket is waiting in a car with his girl on the eve of her 16th birthday, waiting for midnight, so then its legal for him to go on a romantic rendezvous and get his way with her, or maybe that is how he stays undetected, because she is underage.  Either way, his love will come tumbling down.  When Pickett and Booker T and the MG’s first tried to record the song, nobody liked the result, so Wexler had the idea to change the rhythm and that enabled teenagers to dance ‘The Jerk’ along with this song, which was a big dance craze at the time.  To do this, Wexler had the rhythm section stress the ‘two’ beat, which simulated the dance.  Wexler also demonstrated the dance, which the band found amusing.

Pickett was the ultimate soul screamer and righteous lover, but others might give this title to James Brown.  Pickett gained popularity throughout the 1960s, as African-American music migrated from churches and black radio stations into the mainstream.  He brought the fire-and-brimstone rawness of black-gospel singing to countless songs about sweet seduction and restless love.  Pickett was handsome and he always dressed to impress, which helped him to steamroll his way through these songs with the brashness of a man who’s been around the block more than once but possesses a passion that was so deep and sincere it’s almost scary.  Wilson Pickett passed away, dying of a heart attack on January 19, 2006, at the age of 64. The Grateful Dead also did ‘Midnight Hour’ which in the early days was sung by Ron Pigpen McKernan and his vocals are absolutely incredible on this song.

I’m gonna wait ‘till the midnight hour
That’s when my love come tumbling down
I’m gonna wait ‘till the midnight hour
When there’ no one else around
I’m gonna take you, girl, and hold you
And do all things I told you, in the midnight hour
Yes I am, oh yes I am
One thing I just wanna say, right here
I’m gonna wait till the stars come out
And see that twinkle in your eyes
I’m gonna wait ‘till the midnight hour
That’s when my love begins to shine
You’re the only girl I know
Can really love me so, in the midnight hour
Oh yeah, in the midnight hour
Yeah, all right, play it for me one time, now
I’m gonna wait ‘till the midnight hour
That’s when my love come tumbling down
I’m gonna wait, way in the midnight hour
That’s when my love begin to shine, just you and I
Oh, baby, just you and I
Nobody around, baby, just you and I
Oh, right, you know what?
I’m gonna hold you in my arms, just you and I
Oh yeah, in the midnight hour
Oh, baby, in the midnight hour

Written for 6/10/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is “seconds/minutes/hours”.

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