When he returned to Detroit after the trip to New York, Bonny Rice started work on the song which he initially called 'Mustang Mama.' That catchy hook, "ride Sally ride" was in place at that point and Rice's publisher suggested that they should visit Aretha Franklin, who he knew well. The plan was to play the song to her, perhaps with a view to her recording it.
In May 1965, Bonny Rice released the song as a single himself under the name of Sir Mack Rice. It did quite well, reaching No.15 in the American R&B chart.
Wilson Pickett and Bonny Rice had previously worked together in a vocal group called The Falcons along with soul legend, Eddie Floyd and it was when Pickett stepped in at the last minute to stand in for a singer who didn't show at a concert that he first heard 'Mustang Sally' and knew he just had to have the song himself.
A year and a half after Rice's original hit, Pickett too, took it into the charts in America. It was a hit in the UK also. Pickett's version of the song is the one that is most remembered and most often played on radio.
'Mustang Sally' has been covered by many artists over the years including, Eric Clapton, BB King, Bruce Springsteen, Haim and Creedence Clearwater Revival, but it was probably the 1991 film, The Commitments that gave it a new lease of life and introduced it to a whole new generation.
'Mustang Sally' has to be one of the most popular karaoke choices and a staple at parties, even now.
In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine listed 'Mustang Sally' at No. 441 in the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.