Percy Sledge is dead. The American soul singer died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Tuesday morning US time. The cause of death was liver cancer.  He was 74.

I’m sure Percy did many wonderful things in his life, but we remember him for 3 minutes….well 2 mins 49 to be exact.

His 1966 hit single is a part of the soundtrack of so many lives.

When a Man Loves a Woman…what a song ?sledge

He’d give up all his comforts, sleep out in the rain

If she said that’s the way it ought to be

He would do anything for her. You can hear it in his voice.

Percy didn’t personally write the song, well not according to the credits.  When A Man Loves A Woman is credited to Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright.  Calvin played the organ on the hit single and Andrew the bass and in reality they wrote the song with Percy.

The pain in his voice is real, because this song was written about an ex girlfriend who left him for a modelling job after he’d been sacked from a construction job.  For whatever reason, Percy gave all of the songwriting credits to his two friends.  He sounds like a top bloke.

Well, this man loves a woman
I gave you everything I had
Tryin’ to hold on to your high class love
Baby, please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a woman, down deep in his soul
She can bring him such misery
If she plays him for a fool, he’s the last one to know
Lovin’ eyes can’t ever see

Percy Sledge worked quite a number of blue collar jobs in Leighton Alabama before taking a job as an orderly at the Colbert County Hospital in the early 1960’s.  He combined this work with his budding musical career.  He played with his band the Esquires Combo on the weekends while working the hospital during the week.
sledge 2

The original recording doesn’t have an attached video, so I’ve tracked down a 1994 live version of Percy Sledge singing his signature tune.  You can see by the look on his face that he’s in love with this song as much now as he was in love with the subject with the song.

RIP Percy.