Soul Legend Percy Sledge Passes At The Age Of 73
Percy Sledge, who graced the world with one of its most adored romance records "When A Man Loves A Woman," passed today at the age of 73 after a long battle with liver cancer. Percy's debut record may have landed him on top of the charts in 1966 and as the score to countless first dances between bride and groom ever since, but the Bama-born crooner's legacy cannot solely be measured by those six little words and a trademark squall.
Recorded at Norala Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (the southern hub for burly soul anthems in the mid-to-late '60s) "When A Man Loves A Woman" jumpstarted a long-standing relationship between Atlantic Records and Rick Hall's little riverside recording getaway FAME Studios, eventually bringing the sessions of some of r&b and soul's mantel pieces to his doorstep, including Aretha Franklin's cornerstone record I Never Loved A Man and Wilson Pickett's own icono-cut Mustang Sally, all of which were backed by the famed Swampers rhythm section AKA the funkiest white boys that may have ever lived. The success of those three records alone provided that rhythm section with the roll to build their own equally legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, which became a massive commodity to A-listers looking to tap into the muddy musical wellspring that seemed to ooze from each and every one of those sessions, drawing the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Staples Singers, Bob Dylan, Lynyrd Skynyrd and god knows how many others to that legendary studio space.
And while The Swampers and Hall seem to be the major monetary benefactors of the all-timer's successes (due to an ill-advised decision to omit himself from the writing credits of his exemplary debut) the Sledge family can be proud to be part of a lineage that claimed a talent rarely seen or heard and opened the doors for so many. Rest in peace, Percy Sledge, you will sorely be missed and forever cherished as one of the best to ever do it.