posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
Soul Music icon, Percy Sledge, after being taken off the road late last year and hospitalized has died.
it was announced on Tuesday, April 13, by a spokesperson for the family. The Southern Soul singer recorded one of the “biggest” records of 1966, When a Man Loves a Woman.
Released on Atlantic in 1966, “When a Man Loves a Woman” topped the R&B and pop charts for multiple weeks and raised the bar for soul balladeering for all time. Yet Sledge’s career didn’t end with that momentous first single. Over the years he racked up a dozen hits at Atlantic, including “Warm and Tender Love,” “It Tears Me Up,” “Out of Left Field” and “Take Time to Know Her.”
Sledge, who was born in Leighton, Alabama, was working as a hospital orderly when he began playing clubs and frat parties with the Esquires, a locally popular group, in 1965. As he recalls, “I was singing every style of music: the Beatles, Elvis Presley, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Motown,Sam Cooke, the Platters.” That broad exposure gave him a soulful versatility as a singer that is evident on his Atlantic recordings.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” was Sledge’s first single, cut by producers Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene at their modest studio in Sheffield, Alabama. Sledge had carried the song’s melody with him for a long time.“I hummed it all my life, even when I was picking and chopping cotton in the fields,” Sledge recalls.