Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge

Birth
Leighton, Colbert County, Alabama, USA
Death 14 Apr 2015 (aged 74)
Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, USA
Memorial ID 144998457 · View Source
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American R&B and Soul Singer. Born Percy Tyrone Sledge, he is best known for the song "When a Man Loves a Woman", a No. 1 pop and soul hit in 1966. It was awarded a million-selling, Gold-certified disc from the RIAA. Having previously worked as a hospital nurse in the early 1960s, he achieved his strongest success in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a series of emotional soul songs. In later years, Percy received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Career Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. In his early years, he worked in a series of agricultural jobs in the fields in Leighton 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. According to Sledge, the song's inspiration came when his girlfriend left him for a modelling career after he was laid off from a construction job in late 1965, and, because bassist Calvin Lewis and organist Andrew Wright helped him with the song, he gave all the songwriting credits to them. It reached No. 1 in the U.S. and went on to become an international hit. "When A Man Loves A Woman" was a hit twice in the UK, reaching No. 4 in 1966 and, on reissue, peaked at No. 2 in 1987. 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" (covered by British singer Elkie Brooks in 1981), "It Tears Me Up", "Take Time to Know Her" (his second biggest U.S. hit, reaching No. 11; the song's lyric was written by Steve Davis), "Love Me Tender", and "Cover Me". Sledge charted with "I'll Be Your Everything" and "Sunshine" during the 1970s, and became an international concert favorite throughout the world, especially in the Netherlands, Germany, and on the African continent; he averaged 100 concerts a year in South Africa. Sledge's career enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s when "When a Man Loves a Woman" re-entered the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 2 behind the reissued Ben E. King classic "Stand by Me," after being used in a Levi's commercial. In the early 1990s, Michael Bolton brought "When a Man Loves a Woman" back into the limelight again on his hit album Time, Love, & Tenderness. On the week of 11/17/1991 to 11/23/1991, Bolton's version also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, exactly 25 and 1/2 years to the week after Percy's did in 1966. In 1994, Saul Davis and Barry Goldberg produced Sledge's album, Blue Night, for Philippe Le Bras' Sky Ranch label and Virgin Records. It featured Bobby Womack, Steve Cropper, and Mick Taylor among others. Blue Night received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Vocal or Instrumental, and in 1996 it won the W.C. Handy Award for best soul or blues album. In 2004, Davis and Goldberg also produced the Shining Through the Rain album, which preceded his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Songs on the CD were written by Mikael Rickfors, Steve Earle, the Bee Gees, Carla Olson, Denny Freeman, Allan Clarke and Jackie Lomax. In May of 2007, Percy was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in his home city of Baton Rouge, LA. In December 2010, Rhino Handmade issued a four-CD retrospective, The Atlantic Recordings, which covers all of the issued Atlantic masters, as well as many of the tracks unissued in the United States (although some were simply the mono versions of songs originally issued in stereo; Disc 1 comprises Sledge's first two LPs which were not recorded on stereo equipment.) In 2011 Sledge toured with Sir Cliff Richard during his Soulicious tour, performing "I'm Your Puppet". Sledge married twice and was survived by his second wife, Rosa Sledge, whom he married in 1980. He had 12 children, two of whom became singers. Sledge died of liver cancer at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Bio courtesy of: Wikipedia


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: David Qualls
  • Added: 14 Apr 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 144998457
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Percy Sledge (25 Nov 1940–14 Apr 2015), Find a Grave Memorial no. 144998457, citing Heavenly Gates Cemetery, Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .