Percy Sledge, the legendary R&B crooner who brought us, “When A Man Loves A Woman” has died at 73. CNN is reporting that Sledge passed away on Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to his agent of 35 years, Percy’s cause of death was his long battle with cancer.
He went from hospital orderly to R&B singer who impacted the range of heart-tugging love ballads. Sledge was a hustler who wanted a singing career, so he would tour the southeast with the Esquires Combo on weekends and worked at the hospital during the week. We’re all familiar with that hectic schedule.
Sledge recorded his biggest hit, “When A Man Loves A Woman” in 1966. The song was inspired by Sledge’s girlfriend, who left him for a modeling career after he was laid off from a construction job in 1965. He generously gave all the credits to this popular song to his bassist Calvin Lewis and his organist Andrew Wright because they helped him write the song.
He proved to be a consummate performer, averaging 100 performances a year. Sledge was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2005.