Percy Sledge Biography

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Born: 1940/11/25
Birth Place: Leighton, Alabama, United States
Genres: R&B, Soul


Percy Sledge was born on November 25, 1941, in Leighton, Alabama and is an R&B/Soul singer. Working blue-collar jobs as a teen and young adult, he later worked as an orderly at Colbert County Hospital in Sheffield, Alabama. Through the mid-1960s, he toured the Southeast with the Esquires Combo on weekends, while working at the hospital during the week. A patient at the hospital introduced Sledge to record producer Quin Ivy who signed him to a recording contract.

Sledge's first professional release was the 1966 single, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart and was a hit twice in the U.K., reaching #6 in 1966 and on reissue at #2 in 1987. The song prompted Atlantic Records to buy out Sledge from his contract with Ivy, and a string of hits, including “Warm and Tender Love,” “It Tears Me Up,” “Take Time to Know Her,” “Love Me Tender” and “Cover Me,” followed.

Sledge charted with, “I'll Be Your Everything” and “Sunshine,” in the 1970s, and became an international concert favorite throughout the world. Sledge's career enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s upon the re-entry of, “When a Man Loves a Woman,“ on the U.K. Singles chart, peaking at #2 after being used in a Levi's commercial. In 1989 Sledge became an inaugural Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award honoree. In 1991, Michael Bolton released the album, “Time, Love & Tenderness,” which featured his Grammy Award winning cover version of “When a Man Loves a Woman.”

Sledge’s album, “Blue Night,” was released on the Sky Ranch label and Virgin Records in 1994. The album featured Bobby Womack, Steve Cropper, and Mick Taylor and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Vocal or Instrumental.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2005 and in 2007 Sledge was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In December, 2010, Rhino Handmade issued a four-disc retrospective “The Atlantic Recordings” which covered all of his originally issued Atlantic masters, as well as many of the tracks not previously issued in the U.S.





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