b. Percy Tyrone Sledge, 25th November 1941, Leighton, Alabama, U.S.A.
d. 14th April 2015, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Born in Leighton, Alabama, his early career covered several roles (in farming and in health), before becoming a touring vocalist in the early Sixties.
He toured with the likes of the Esquires Combo whilst still working in hospital, which was where he was introduced (through the recommendation of a patient at the hospital) to the record producer Quin Ivy.
Quin signed Percy, and his recording career began.
when a man loves a woman b/w love me like you mean it - 1966 / warm & tender love b/w sugar puddin ep - 1966
Percy’s debut single ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ b/w ‘Love Me Like You Mean It,’ was subject to a response record, this time round to another 1966 single from Esther Phillips entitled ‘When A Woman Loves A Man’.
Percy’s single reached number 1 in the U.S.A., and reached number 4 in 1966 and number 2 in 1987 in the U.K.
It was also the first gold record released by Atlantic Records.
The follow up single, ‘Warm and Tender Love’ b/w ‘Sugar Puddin’ was previously recorded in 1964 by Joe Haywood.
when a man loves a woman - 1966 / warm & tender soul - 1966 / take time to know her - 1968 / my special prayer - 1969
Further single releases included ‘It Tears Me Up’ b/w ‘Heart Of A Child’ (in 1966),
‘Love Me Tender’ b/w ‘What Am I Living For’ (in 1967), ‘Cover Me’ b/w ‘Behind Every Great Man There's A Woman’ (in 1967), and ‘Take Time to Know Her’ b/w ‘It's All Wrong, But It's Alright’ (in 1968 reaching number 11, U.S.A.).
The Seventies realised further hits, which included ‘Sunshine’ b/w ‘Unchanging Love’ (in 1972), and ‘I’ll Be Your Everything’ b/w ‘Blue Water’ (in 1974).
In the Eighties, Percy saw ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ reaching number 2 in the Top 10 on the U.K. Singles Chart, following the songs inclusion on a jeans television advertisement.
Michael Bolton recorded the song during the Nineties.
sledge in south africa - 1970 / i'll be your everything - 1974 / blue night - 1994 / shining through the rain - 2004
In 1994, Percy released ‘Blue Night’, for the Sky Ranch imprint and Virgin Records, and featured guest appearances from the likes of Bobby Womack, Steve Cropper, and Mick Taylor.
'Blue Night' received a Grammy nomination, and won the W.C. Handy Award for the best Soul/Blues album.
In 2004, Percy released ‘Shining Through the Rain’ album.
He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
the atlantic recordings box set - 2010
In 2010, a 4 CD retrospective was released, entitled ‘The Atlantic Recordings’ which featured several unreleased tracks.
He went on to perform with Sir Cliff Richard on his Soulicious tour.
Percy was was the cousin to the Soul singer Jimmy Hughes.
Percy Sledge died at his home in Baton Rouge on the 14th of April 2015, as a result of liver cancer.
When A Man Loves A Woman (Atlantic Records 1966)
Warm And Tender Soul (Atlantic Records 1966)
The Percy Sledge Way (Atlantic Records 1967)
Take Time To Know Her (Atlantic Records 1968)
I'll Be Your Everything (Capricorn Records 1974)
If Loving You Is Wrong (Charly Records 1986)
Percy! (Monument Records 1987)
Wanted Again (Demon Records 1989)
Blue Night (Sky Ranch Records 1994)
Shining Through The Rain (U.S. Varese Sarabande Records 2005)