Legendary crooner Percy Sledge passed away yesterday due to a long bout with liver cancer. Percy Sledge is most widely known for his first song, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which became a worldwide hit and the first album to go gold by producer Atlantic Records. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer continued to create new music and perform from his 1966 debut right up until 2013, when he released a gospel CD, the “Gospel of Percy Sledge.”
The music world lost a legend today- RIP Percy Sledge He wrote this after his girl left him to be a model… https://t.co/62gjRuE1oz
— Tyson Ritter (@tysonritter) April 15, 2015
His start in the music business was certainly not typical. A biography on IMDB details the odd circumstances that led to Percy’s career as a popular R&B singer.
“Alabama-born Percy Sledge had a somewhat unusual introduction to the music business. Working as an orderly in a local hospital, he was touring with a local band called the Esquires Combo on weekends and working at the hospital during the week. A former patient at the hospital who knew both Sledge and local record producer Quin Ivy introduced them to each other. Ivy was impressed with Sledge’s emotional style of singing and signed him to a recording contract. Sledge hit it big with his first record, the classic ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’, released by Atlantic Records, which went on to become a worldwide hit (and, incidentally, the first Atlantic record to go gold). Although Sledge never had another hit as big as ‘When a Man Loves a Woman,’ he did manage to place several follow-up records on the charts.”
Percy Sledge has gained many honors throughout his epic music career. Sledge was inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame, Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. In 2005, Percy Sledge was bestowed with the honor of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The following video shows Percy Sledge accepting the award.
In 1991, pop singer Michael Bolton covered the Sledge hit “When a Man Loves a Woman”. The remake saw great success. ABC News reports that Bolton took to Twitter to honor the late Percy Sledge.
“An inspiration as an artist & one of the most gracious human beings. We sang together. Forever grateful! Love MB”
The music of Percy Sledge has comforted and entertained fans through the past five decades, and will certainly live on to charm generations to come. Percy Sledge, you will be missed.
[Image via NNDB]