Rock says goodbye to Percy Sledge; singer dies of liver cancer

percy-sledgeSoul balladeer Percy Sledge died today at his home of complications related to liver cancer. Percy’s agent Steve Green confirmed the death with the Washington Post.

“Mr. Sledge, a 2005 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, possessed one of the most distinctive tenor voices in the Southern soul genre. With the ability to shift from a powerful shout to a softer, beseeching quaver, he gave each song an anguished delivery that suggested the lyrics — no matter how trite or cliched — conveyed matters of life and death,” the Post writes.

Sledge was most famous for his song “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Sledge gave credit for the song to Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, both men who helped him write it in 1966 when Sledge’s girlfriend left for a modeling career. Sledge recorded and released the song on April 16, 1966 — nearly 49 years ago. Rolling Stone magazine pegs the song at No. 53 on its list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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After my girlfriend left me, “I had a couple of Jack Daniels, and my eyes were as big as hen eggs,” Sledge recalled with Rolling Stone in 1988. I started singing, and “I was feeling light as a feather, and I just wanted to speak my mind.” He later polished the words with his friends into “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Check out Sledge’s song below.

Photo credit: By Gene Pugh [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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