Who could ever forget the sound of Percy Sledge? He will forever be known for “When a Man Loves a Woman,” a pleading and soulful ballad he sang with so much passion. Sledge had a voice that will always be remembered as that of the deep Southern soul.
Sledge was born in the deep south on November 25, 1940, in Leighton, Alabama. Before breaking into the music business, he worked a series of agricultural jobs in the fields in Leighton. He later took a job 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 former patient and mutual friend of Sledge and record producer, Quin Ivy, introduced the two. An audition followed, and Sledge was signed to a recording contract.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” became a huge hit in the summer of 1966, topping both the pop and R&B charts. It was quickly followed that year by two Top Ten R&B hits: “Warm and Tender Love” and “It Tears Me Up. Sledge died in April 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the age of 73.