Mack Rice, composer of ‘Mustang Sally,’ dies at 82
DETROIT — Mack Rice, the composer of ’60s hit “Mustang Sally” and cowriter of the Staple Singers’ landmark “Respect Yourself” has died in Detroit. He was 82.
Laura Rice told The Associated Press that her husband died at their home Monday of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
“Sir” Mack Rice was best known for writing “Mustang Sally,” which he initially recorded but singer Wilson Pickett popularized. They had been in a group together called the Falcons, which recorded in Detroit.
“When he wrote ‘Mustang Sally’ and he saw that royalty check, he started writing,” Laura Rice said. “He never thought ‘Mustang Sally’ would ever be as big as it became. … He used to tell me, ‘Honey that Mustang has rolled a long time.”’
Rice was a songwriter for Memphis, Tennesseebased Stax Records and split his time between there and Detroit, where he moved from Mississippi as a teen.
He wrote “Respect Yourself” with late R&B singer-songwriter Luther Ingram for the Staple Singers, which became Stax’s biggest hit. His wife said he wrote it in about 15 minutes after talking with other musicians in the studio about the need for people to respect themselves in order to be respected by others.
Laura Rice and singer Pat Lewis, a longtime friend and collaborator, say he was kind, humble and embodied his other, Memphis-given nickname, “Gentleman.” Both delivered the word in a drawn-out, southern accent, sounding more like “Gentlemain.”
Lewis, a fellow Detroit resident who went to Stax with Mack Rice in the 1960s and remained close with him until his death, said he was a “gentle soul” who was loved by all — including ex-bandmates. She said he remained friends with Pickett, who died in 2006, and the other Falcons, even though for a lot of groups, “when they fall out, they fall out.”