About Percy Sledge
Southern soul singer Percy Sledge cemented his place in music history with his very first single, the raw and passionate 1966 classic “When a Man Loves a Woman.”
• Born in Leighton, Alabama, Sledge began his music career in the vocal group The Esquires Combo while working as a hospital orderly and nurse.
• In 1965, Sledge caught the eye of DJ and producer Quin Ivy. There are varying accounts of how they met, but Ivy invited Sledge to come and record at his Alabama studio.
• The initial session yielded “When a Man Loves a Woman,” a song Sledge later claimed he co-authored, though fellow Esquires Combo members Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright received full writing credit.
• “When a Man Loves a Woman” reached No. 1 on the pop and R&B charts and climbed to No. 4 in the UK. It returned to the UK charts thanks to a jeans advertisement in 1987, peaking at No. 2. In 1991, pop singer Michael Bolton scored a No. 1 pop hit in America with his cover.
• Sledge followed up his smash debut with two more super-emotional 1966 R&B ballads: “Warm and Tender Love” and “It Tears Me Up.” Both were Top 20 pop hits.
• While his chart success fizzled after a few years, Sledge remained a successful touring musician in the following decades. He also continued recording music—his final album was 2013’s The Gospel of Percy Sledge.
• In 2005, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He died on April 14, 2015, at the age of 74.
BORNNovember 25, 1941