Monday, November 25, 2013

Nov. 25: Percy Sledge, "When a Man Loves A Woman," is 72-years-old today.

Born in Leighton, Alabama in 1940, Percy Sledge is an American R&B and soul performer. His biggest hit was "When a Man Loves a Woman" in 1966. Critics have described Percy's voice as "perfect for soul ballads."

Percy worked in a series of blue-collar jobs in the fields in Leighton, Alabama before taking a job as an orderly at Colbert County Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama. Through the mid 1960s, he toured the Southeast with the Esquires Combo on weekends, while working at the hospital during the week. A former patient and mutual friend of Sledge and record producer Quin Ivy introduced the two. An audition followed, and Sledge was signed to a recording contract.

Sledge's soulful voice was perfect for the series of soul ballads produced by Ivy and Marlin Greene, which rock critic Dave Marsh called "emotional classics for romantics of all ages."
"When a Man Loves a Woman" was Sledge's first song recorded under the contract, and was released in March 1966. The song's inspiration came when Sledge's girlfriend left him for a modeling career after he was laid off from construction job in late 1965. Because bassist Calvin Lewis and organist Andrew Wright helped him with the song, he gave all the songwriting credits to them. It reached #1 in the U.S. and went on to become an international hit. The song was also the first gold record released by Atlantic Records.

The soul anthem became the cornerstone of Sledge's career, and was followed by "Warm and Tender Love," "It Tears Me Up", "Take Time to Know Her" (his second biggest U.S. hit, reaching #11,) "Love Me Tender," and "Cover Me."

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Sledge charted with "I'll Be Your Everything" and "Sunshine" during the 1970s, and has become an international concert favorite throughout the world, especially in the Netherlands, Germany, and on the African continent, and South Africa in particular.

Sledge's career enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s once "When a Man Loves a Woman" re-entered the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart after being used in a Levi's commercial.

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HIGHLY Recommended (Links to Amazon):

 Ultimate Collection - When a Man Loves a WomanIt Tears Me Up: Best ofWhen a Man Loves a Woman: Warm & Tender SoulShining Through the Rain

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In 1994, Sledge released his new album Blue Night. It earned a Grammy nomination for "Best Contemporary Blues Album, Vocal or Instrumental." In 1996 Blue Night won the W.C. Handy Award for best Soul/Blues album.

In 2004, Sledge released his Shining Through the Rain album which led to his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

In May 2007, Percy Sledge was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame for his contributions to the state's music. Sledge is also an inductee of the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday, Louisiana. In November 2004, he was inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall Of Fame.


For more about Percy, visit his Website at -


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