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Soul legend
Wilson Pickett

lesson plan

Preliminary information

Time: 60 >> 90 minutes

Level: Upper intermediate

Aims:
To give intensive reading practice
To extend the stds' store of vocab connected to music
To give listening for pleasure
To review language from the text
To give freer speaking practice

Assumptions:
That the stds will like Wilson Pickett's music & be motivated to find out about him.
That the language in the text will not be too difficult.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary may be challenging - stage 4 will help with this.

Aids:
The lyrics to 'Midnight Hour'
The text for the article from the Guardian Online.
Song - 'Midnight Hour' & another you might find interesting to use.
Board

Procedure

Stage 1 - Intro to Wilson Pickett - the lyrics to Midnight Hour
15 mins (??) tch<>stds.....
1. Handout or put the lyrics below on an OHT - elicit the singer. If the stds don't know & you have the song, play it through for pleasure - ask them if they like it, at the end.

In The Midnight Hour

I'm gonna wait till the midnight hour
That's when my love comes a-tumbling down
I'm gonna wait till the midnight hour
When there's nobody else around
I'm gonna take you girl and hold you
Do all the things I told you
In the midnight hour
Yes I am

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 when my love begins to shine
'Cause you're the only girl I know
That can really love me so
In the midnight hour

Stage 2 - Reading - see text below
10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, stds<>tch
1. Put the title to the article on the board 'Soul legend Wilson Pickett dies aged 64' & elicit questions that the stds would like answering - write up the questions.
2. Handout the texts & stds read to answer their own questions. Give a time limit - eg 2 minutes - telling them to only look for answers to the questions 6 not get bogged down with the language in the text.
3. Read >> stds compare >> feedback, clarifying.

Stage 3 - Vocab analysis
15-20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, stds<>tch
1. Handout the table below & ask the stds, in pairs, to find & discuss the meanings. Encourage them to look at the whole chunk of language, the context in the text & you could have dictionaries on hand.
2. Pairwork - go round & help out giving clues for the more difficult ones.
3. If time, you could double up pairs to compare answers.
4. Feedback. You will need to look at the chunks carefully & work out the meanings in preparation for your stds' questions.

 

hard-driving hits

is already travelling towards the greater place."

Dubbed "Wicked" Wilson Pickett

one of the leading exponents of the hard-edged Memphis sound

far grittier than the singles then being churned out by Motown

roughened the texture of soul, imbuing it with a rasping force and intensity that rivalled another legend of that generation, James Brown.

fleeing beatings at home to sing gospel with the local choir

with whom he scored the hit I Found a Love in 1962

broke through to the big time

forging the connection with Atlantic in 1963

A chain of hits followed

with steadily fewer hits and a shrinking reputation

when disco came in, it really impacted their careers

After a decade increasingly adrift, he hit what many described as rock-bottom in the early 1990s

But a turnaround was quietly under way, inspired in part by the release of the movie The Commitments

the 1999 Grammy-nominated It's Harder Now, was widely acclaimed


Stage 4 - Further language noticing & analysis

??mins
Choose the areas to examine to suit. There is the expression '
"He will absolutely be missed."' which we hear more & more in US english. There could be some tense analysis; present perfect, past simple, present continuous, past passives etc..

Stage 5 - Follow up
Song - If the beginning didn't contain the playing of a song, now would be the appropriate stage. Even if you did play it earlier, why not another one by Wilson Pickett, lovely listening practice -Midnight Hour is very straightforward so here a more challenging one.....
Speaking - roleplay interview WP at one of the stages in his career.
Writing - letter to the editor praising WP.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,,1691201,00.html

Soul legend Wilson Pickett dies aged 64

Friday January 20, 2006

Wilson Pickett, the soul pioneer best known for hard-driving hits Mustang Sally and In The Midnight Hour, has died of a heart attack in Virginia, his management company said last night. He was 64, and had been in declining health for the past year.

"We've lost a giant, we've lost a legend, we've lost a man who created his own charisma and made it work around the world," soul singer Solomon Burke, a close friend of Pickett's, told Reuters. "It's just hard for me to really grasp that Wilson is already travelling towards the greater place."

Dubbed "Wicked" Wilson Pickett by Jerry Wexler, the co-founder of Atlantic Records, where he enjoyed his greatest success, Pickett was one of the leading exponents of the hard-edged Memphis sound, far grittier than the singles then being churned out by Motown.

Along with fellow artists Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson, Pickett roughened the texture of soul, imbuing it with a rasping force and intensity that rivalled another legend of that generation, James Brown.

Aretha Franklin said in a statement last night: "Wilson Pickett was one of the greatest soul singers of all time," adding: "He will absolutely be missed."

Born March 18, 1941 in Prattville, Alabama, Pickett grew up in a poor household, one of 11 children. Like so many vocalists of his background, he began his career in church, fleeing beatings at home to sing gospel with the local choir.

He moved to Detroit as a teen, but remained more or less unknown until joining R&B group the Falcons, with whom he scored the hit I Found a Love in 1962. He went solo a year later, and broke through to the big time after meeting Jerry Wexler and forging the connection with Atlantic in 1963.

In the Midnight Hour made the top 25 on the Billboard pop charts in 1965 and Mustang Sally did the same the following year. A chain of hits followed, including 634-5789, Funky Broadway and Land of a Thousand Dances.

But the 1970s were to prove a more difficult decade for Pickett, with steadily fewer hits and a shrinking reputation. "Like all these great legends of R&B, when disco came in, it really impacted their careers," journalist Roger Friedman, a friend of Pickett's, told Reuters.

After a decade increasingly adrift, he hit what many described as rock-bottom in the early 1990s, arrested in 1991 for yelling death threats while driving a car over the mayor's front lawn in Englewood, New Jersey, where he lived at the time.

Less than a year later, he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend, before being convicted of drunk driving in 1993 after hitting an 86-year-old man with his car. He spent most of 1994 in jail.

But a turnaround was quietly under way, inspired in part by the release of the movie The Commitments, which told the story of a Dublin band for whom Pickett was a hero. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and given the Pioneer award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation two years later.

His final album, the 1999 Grammy-nominated It's Harder Now, was widely acclaimed, receiving three much-prized WC Handy awards, and Pickett continued to perform regularly into 2005.

"If I wasn't in showbusiness, I don't know what I would have been - a wanderer or something, you know?" he said in 2001. "But God blessed me with the talent and the chance. I knocked on enough doors, and this is what I can give myself credit for."

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