R.I.P. Percy Sledge

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Southern soul singer Percy Sledge, who became famous for his eternal torch song, When A Man Loves A Woman died today of liver cancer in hospice care at the age of 74. Sledge became a soul star in 1966 when the song became a hit and the first Gold record for Atlantic. Sledge was the frontman of The Esquires in his Alabama hometown and together with co-members Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright “When A Man Loves A Woman” was born. Sledge later revealed that he made the mistake of not taking songwriting credit for the song to ensure a better future for his kids. He’s been famously quoted oftentimes for placing the origins of the song back to a melody he hummed when he worked in the cotton fields. Sledge transitioned from a job as a hospital attendant into singing professionally after a patient introduced him to producer Quin Ivy who took him to Atlantic Records. He had other hits during the ’60’s but nothing with the emotional expanse of “When A Man Loves A Woman.” Sledge convincingly conveyed the tender rawness of a brokenhearted man because his own girlfriend had left him by the time he co-wrote the song. Bette Midler and Michael Bolton would later record their own versions and the song would appear on movies like The Big Chill and Platoon. Sledge received a Grammy nomination in 1994 for his Blue Night album and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2005.