Percy Sledge (November 25, 1940 - April 14, 2015) was a highly acclaimed soul singer who became famous during the late 1960s. He is best known for his pleading and heartfelt romantic ballad, "When A Man Loves A Woman," an era-defining oldies classic that he performed with his trademark powerful and wailing, anguished vocals. Born in Leighton, Alabama, he began singing in his church's choir as a child and launched his music career in the early 1960s as a member of the Esquires Combo while working as a hospital orderly.
Sledge made his debut on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts in 1966 with "When A Man Loves A Woman" which shot to the top of both charts and soon after became Atlantic Record's first million-seller. Other top hits on both charts included "Warm And Tender Love" (1966), "It Tears Me Up" (1966), and "Take Time To Know Her" (1968). His long string of hits, which continued through the early 1970s, also included "Out Of Left Field" (1967), his cover of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender" (1967), "Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Empty Arms)" (1967), "Cover Me" (1967), "Sudden Stop" (1968), and "My Special Prayer" (1969). Sledge had his final chart entry in 1974 with "I'll Be Your Everything."
Percy Sledge's popularity had a resurgence in the late 1980s when "When A Man Loves A Woman" re-entered the U.K. charts in 1987, peaking at #2. Over the years, he toured and recorded actively and had a wide international following. His many honors and accolades included receiving the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award in 1989 and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. He was one of a number of top performing artists featured in the 2013 documentary, "Muscle Shoals."
- Percy Sledge discusses his musical influences and other topics in an interview for the PBS series, "American Masters," which took place on the evening of his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
- The New York Times remembers Percy Sledge.
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- It Tears Me Up 1966
- Take Time To Know Her 1968
- Warm And Tender Love 1966
- When A Man Loves A Woman 1966
(This classic oldies love song topped both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts and also became a hit (as "When A Woman Loves A Man") for both Esther Phillips (1966) and Bette Midler (1980). "When A Man Loves A Woman" later also topped the charts for Michael Bolton (1991).)
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