R&B and soul singer Percy Sledge passed away Tuesday morning at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer had been battling liver cancer. He was 73 years old.
Sledge will best be remembered for his classic hit “When a Man Loves a Woman”, originally released in 1966. At the time he recorded the song, he was working as a hospital orderly who toured locally with the Esquires Combo on weekends. He gave Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright of the Esquires songwriting credit for the track even though they only played a minor role in its creation. As a result, he never saw any of the royalties.
His career continued with songs like “Warm and Tender Love” and “Love Me Tender”, releasing new albums through 1974, but nothing quite received the heights of “When a Man Loves a Woman”. He saw a resurgence when the song returned to number one on the charts after being featured in the 1983 film The Big Chill, and again when it was covered by Michael Bolton in 1991. Sledge returned in 1994 with Blue Night and again in 2004 with Shining Through the Rain. His last release was 2013’s The Gospel of Percy Sledge.
Sledge is survived by his wife and children. Below, revisit some of his classic tracks.
“When a Man Loves a Woman”:
“Warm and Tender Love”:
“Love Me Tender”: