Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Mack Rice

Mustang Sally

Written and first recorded by “Sir” Mack Rice (R&B #15 1965).
Other hit versions by Wilson Pickett (US #23/R&B #6/UK #28 1967 |UK #62 1987), The Commitments (UK #63 1991).

From the wiki: “According to music historian Tom Shannon the song started as a joke. Mack Rice wrote a song called ‘Mustang Mama’ after visiting his friend, the actress/singer Della Reese, in New York City. Reese told him that she was thinking about buying her drummer a new Lincoln for his birthday, which Rice, being from Detroit, thought was a great idea. When Rice mentioned this to Shields, the drummer replied, ‘I don’t want a Lincoln, I want a Mustang.’

“As Rice then explains, on the 2007 Rhythm & Blues Cruise, he had never heard of a Mustang before but Shields filled him in. Rice couldn’t believe Shields wanted such a small car instead of a big ol’ Lincoln. When he returned to Detroit, Rice started writing the song, with the chorus ‘Ride, Sally, ride.’ Rice’s publisher knew Aretha Franklin well, and brought Rice by her house for a visit; he sang some of the song for her; Franklin suggested he change the title to ‘Mustang Sally’ to better suit the chorus.