Soul singer Percy Sledge dead at 73
Prior to becoming a recording artist, Sledge worked as a hospital nurse. He caught his big break when he recorded “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Sledge took the track, his debut single, to number-one on both the Billboard Hot 100, where it spent two weeks at the summit, and on the Billboard R&B Chart, where it held the top spot for six weeks. The song also reached the Top 10 in the United Kingdom twice–going to number-four upon its original release and reaching #2 when it was re-released in 1987. The song found new life in the United States in 1991 when Michael Bolton’s cover of “When a Man Loves a Woman” topped the Billboard Hot 100.
Thursday will mark the 49th anniversary of the release of “When a Man Loves a Woman” as a single.
His other hits included “Warm and Tender Love” (Pop #17, R&B #5), “It Tears Me Up” (Pop #20, R&B #7), and “Take Time to Know Her” (Pop #11, R&B #6).
Even after his chart success fizzled, Sledge remained a fixture in the music industry, releasing albums and touring the United States to perform live in concert.
His contributions to the music industry earned him a number of awards, including a Blues Music Award, a Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award, and induction into the Delta Music, Louisiana Music, and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.
“He was a wonderful guy in a terrible business,” said Steve Green with Artists International Management, Inc., the talent agency that represented Sledge. “He was truly a standout.”
Sledge is survived by his wife and children. Funeral arrangements are pending.