Percy Sledge, the voice behind the immortal lover’s anthem “When A Man Loves A Woman,” passed away this morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was 73 years old.
According to ABC, the legendary soul man had been battling with cancer at the time of his death. Sledge got his start singing as a member of the Esquires back in his hometown of Leighton, Alabama. Soon after being introduced to record producer Quin Ivy, he was offered a recording contract and released the immortal “When A Man Loves A Woman” in 1966.
The single climbed to the top of the Billboard charts, and became Atlantic Records’ first ever gold release. Twenty five years later, the song would take on another life, when singer Michael Bolton covered the classic ballad on his 1991 album, Time, Love & Tenderness. Bolton’s version would go on to win a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, rekindling the world’s love affair with Percy’s timeless classic. It was used to touching effect in the final scene of the pilot for TV’s coming of age classic, The Wonder Years.
Although “When A Man Loves A Woman” would become Sledge’s calling card — he would release other notable songs such as, “Take Time To Know Her,” “Warm and Tender Love,” and “It Tears Me Up.” In 2005, Sledge received one of music’s highest honors when he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, joining the ranks in a class that included The O’Jays, U2, and Buddy Guy.
[Photo: Getty Images]