Legendary R&B singer Percy Sledge died today at 74. He is best know for his #1 pop and soul hit “When a Man Loves A Woman” released in 1966. The song earned a million-selling, Gold-certified disc.
Born November 25,1940 in Leighton, Alabama, Sledge worked as a hospital orderly before his rise to fame. “When a Man Loves a Woman” was his first song recorded under a contract with producers Ivy and Marlin Greene. A series of ballads produced by that pair and recorded by Sledge were called “emotional classics for romantics of all ages” by rock critic Dave Marsh. Sledge’s inspiration for his first hit came when his girlfriend left him for a modeling career after he was laid off from a construction job in 1965. The song was a #1 hit in the US and hit twice in the UK (#4 in 1966 and #2 upon reissue in 1987.)
Sledge also charted in the 1970s with “I’ll Be Your Everything” and “Sunshine”. He was particularly popular in the Netherlands, Germany and the African continent. He typically did 100 concerts per year in South Africa.
Sledge is survived by his second wife, Rosa Sledge, whom he married in 1980. Of his 12 children, two became singers.
He died of liver cancer at his home in Baton Rouge, LA. on April 14, 2015. He will be missed by music lovers everywhere.