Percy Sledge
Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge

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.

  • HOMETOWN
    Leighton, AL
  • BORN
    November 25, 1941

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