Percy Sledge – When A Man Loves A Woman (1966)

FrontCover1Percy Tyrone Sledge (November 25, 1940 – April 14, 2015) was an American R&B, soul and gospel singer. He is best known for the song “When a Man Loves a Woman”, a No. 1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts in 1966. It was awarded a million-selling, Gold-certified disc from the RIAA.

Having previously worked as a hospital orderly in the early 1960s, Sledge achieved his strongest success in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a series of emotional soul songs. In later years, Sledge received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Career Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Sledge was born on November 25, 1940, in Leighton, Alabama. He worked in a series of agricultural jobs in the fields in Leighton before taking 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.

PercySledge02Sledge’s soulful voice was perfect for the series of soul ballads produced by Ivy and Marlin Greene, which rock critic Dave Marsh called “emotional classics for romantics of all ages”. “When a Man Loves a Woman” was Sledge’s first song recorded under the contract, and was released in March 1966. According to Sledge, the inspiration for the song came when his girlfriend left him for a modelling career after he was laid off from a construction job in late 1965, and, because bassist Calvin Lewis and organist Andrew Wright helped him with the song, he gave all the songwriting credits to them. It reached No. 1 in the US and went on to become an international hit. “When a Man Loves a Woman” was a hit twice in the UK, reaching No. 4 in 1966 and, on reissue, peaked at No. 2 in 1987. The song was also the first gold record released by Atlantic Records. The soul anthem became the cornerstone of Sledge’s career, and was followed by “Warm and Tender Love” (covered by British singer Elkie Brooks in 1981), “It Tears Me Up”, “Take Time to Know Her” (his second biggest US hit, reaching No. 11; the song’s lyric was written by Steve Davis), “Love Me Tender”, and “Cover Me”.

Sledge charted with “I’ll Be Your Everything” and “Sunshine” during the 1970s, and became an international concert favorite throughout the world, especially in the Netherlands, Germany, and on the African continent; he averaged 100 concerts a year in South Africa.

Sledge’s career enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s when “When a Man Loves a Woman” re-entered the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 2 behind the reissued Ben E. King classic “Stand by Me”, after being used in a Levi’s commercial. In the early 1990s, Michael Bolton brought “When a Man Loves a Woman” back into the limelight again on his hit album Time, Love, & Tenderness. On the week of November 17 to November 23, 1991, Bolton’s version also hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, exactly 25 and 1/2 years to the week after Percy’s did in 1966.

In 1994, Saul Davis and Barry Goldberg produced Sledge’s album, Blue Night, for Philippe Le Bras’ Sky Ranch label and Virgin Records. It featured Bobby Womack, Steve Cropper, and Mick Taylor among others. Blue Night received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Vocal or Instrumental, and in 1996 it won the W.C. Handy Award for best soul or blues album.

Percy Sledge performing on tour in 1974

In 2004, Davis and Goldberg also produced the Shining Through the Rain album, which preceded his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Songs on the CD were written by Mikael Rickfors, Steve Earle, the Bee Gees, Carla Olson, Denny Freeman, Allan Clarke and Jackie Lomax.[10] The same year Percy recorded a live album with his band Sunset Drive entitled Percy Sledge and Sunset Drive – Live in Virginia on WRM Records produced by Warren Rodgers.

In May 2007, Percy was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in his home city of Baton Rouge, LA.

In December 2010, Rhino Handmade issued a four-CD retrospective, The Atlantic Recordings, which covers all of the issued Atlantic masters, as well as many of the tracks unissued in the United States (although some were simply the mono versions of songs originally issued in stereo; Disc 1 comprises Sledge’s first two LPs which were not recorded on stereo equipment). In 2011 Sledge toured with Sir Cliff Richard during his Soulicious tour, performing “I’m Your Puppet”.

Sledge married twice and was survived by his second wife, Rosa Sledge, whom he married in 1980. He had 12 children, two of whom became singers.

Various single covers

Sledge died of liver cancer at his home in Baton Rouge on April 14, 2015, at the age of 74. His interment was in Baton Rouge’s Heavenly Gates Cemetery. (by wikipedia)

And this is the album, that changed the world:
A country-soul masterpiece. The title track remains among the most beloved, anthemic explanations of love’s impact and travails ever written or performed. Had Sledge never made another song, he would still deserve kudos just for that one. But he continued to score with more simple, heartfelt, unsophisticated stories about disappointment, pain, rejection, and perseverance. (by Ron Wynn)



Larry Cartwright (bass)
Billy Cofield (saxophone)
Marlin Greene (guitar)
Roger Hawkins (drums)
Spooner Oldham (organ)
Jack Peck (trumpet)
Don „Rim“ Pollard (saxophone)
Percy Sledge (vocals)
Don Srygley (guitar)
unknown background vocals



01. When A Man Loves A Woman (Wright/Lewis) 2.55
02. My Adorable One (Thompson/Berger) 2.42
03. Put A Little Lovin’ On Me (WIlkins) 2.43
04. Love Me All The Way (Montgomery) 2.30
05. When She Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters) (Varga) 2.32
06. You’re Pouring Water On A Drowning Man (McCormack/Baker) 2.22
07. Thief In The Night (Jones) 2.27
08. You Fooled Me (Penn) 2.34
09. Love Makes The World Go Round (Jackson) 2.40
10. Success (Lowe/Penn) 3.00
11. Love Me Like You Mean It (Gist/Greene) 2.26



When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world
For the good thing he’s found
If she’s bad he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down

When a man loves a woman
Spend his very last dime
Trying to hold on to what he needs
He’d give up all his comfort
Sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way it ought to be

Well, this man loves a woman
I gave you everything I had
Trying to hold on to your precious 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
Loving eyes can’t ever see

When a man loves a woman
He can do no wrong
He can never own some other girl
Yes when a man loves a woman
I know exactly how he feels
‘Cause baby, baby, baby, you’re my world

When a man loves a woman


Percy Sledge – Blue Night (1994)

FrontCover1Percy Sledge, who had a worldwide hit with When a Man Loves a Woman, has died today aged 73.

Sledge died at his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He recorded When a Man Loves a Woman in 1966 at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, under the direction of producers Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene. It reached No 1 on both Billboard charts.

When a Man Loves a Woman was Sledge’s first single, and it was a melody he said that he carried with him for a long time. “I hummed it all my life, even when I was picking and chopping cotton in the fields,” he once said.

PercySledge2Alabama-born Sledge, a former hospital orderly, improvised words to go with his tune one night while performing at a frat party at the University of Mississippi. Ivy, who was then a college student, told him: “If you ever think about cutting a record, come on by, because I love that melody.” Sledge gave the songwriting credits to two Esquires bandmates, bassist Calvin Lewis and organist Andrew Wright, who helped him with the song.

Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler called the song “a transcendent moment” and “a holy love hymn”.

Between 1966 and 1968, Sledge used his forlorn, crying vocal style to record a series of Southern soul standards, including Warm and Tender Love, It Tears Me Up, Out of Left Field and Take Time to Know Her. He returned to the charts in 1974 with I’ll Be Your Everything. Sledge, with his rich soulful voice, was a fine singer of cover versions, including a wonderful take on The Dark End of the Street.

In later years, Sledge continued to be an in-demand performer in the United States and Europe. When a Man Loves a Woman was used in several films, including The Big Chill and The Crying Game and provided a hit for Michael Bolton in 1991.

PercySledge3He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

He had been battling liver cancer for more than a year when he died. Steve Green, head of Artists International Management, said: “What a nice person in a miserable business. Percy was just a decent, decent person.”(Martin Chilton, The Telegraph)

In the early 1990s Sledge signed a three-record deal with a new label, and his first full-length album since the early 1970s was released in 1994. Entitled Blue Night PercySledge4(produced by Barry Goldberg !), the album earned praise from the man who helped propel Sledge to his early success, Jerry Wexler. Wexler wrote the liner notes to the comeback album, which appeared on France’s Sky Ranch Records. The label is devoted to releasing recordings by American rhythm and blues artists; it entered into a distribution deal with Virgin Records for Blue Night.

Sledge recorded Blue Night in a Los Angeles studio, a first for him, and was joined by a host of other performers for the session. Contemporary rhythm-and-blues singer Bobby Womack and former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor were guest musicians, and Bee Gees Barry and Robin Gibb and Swedish singer Mikael Rickfors—former Hollies vocalist—also contributed tracks. In addition, Blue Night contains Sledge and Rickfors’s duet on a cover of “I Wish It Would Rain,” originally recorded by the Temptations.

Blue Night received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Blues Album, Vocal or Instrumental, and in 1996 it won the W.C. Handy Award for best soul or blues album.

And indeed: A wonderful album … listen and enjoy the beautiful voice of Percy Sledge !

Eddie Baytos (accordion)
Bob Glaub (bass)
Barry Goldberg (piano on 09.)
Ed Greene (drums, percussion)
Lili Haydn (violin)
Greg Leisz (guitar)
Darry Leonard (trombone)
Tom Jr Morgan (saxophone)
Mikael Rickfors (background vocals on 05., vocals on 04.)
Percy Sledge (vocals)
Greg Smith (saxophone)
Cameron Stone (cello)
Joe Sublett (saxophone)
Mick Taylor (guitar on 07., slide-guitar on 09.)
Mike Thompson (keyboards)
Julia Waters (background vocals)
Maxine Waters (background vocals)
Oren Waters (background vocals)

01. You Got Away With Love (Robinson/Burnette) 4,15
02. Love Comes Knockin’ (Malloy/Sutton) 3.42
03. Why Did You Stop (Olson) 4.40
04. I Wish It Would Rain (Strong/Whitfield/Penzabene) 3.12
05. Blue Night (Huss/Rickfors) 4.48
06. These Ain’t Raindrops (Claunch) 2.48
07. Your Love Will Save The World (B.Gibb/R.Gibb) 3.47
08. First You Cry (Flett/Egan) 3.56
09. Going Home Tomorrow (Young/Domino)
10. The Grand Blvd.(Olson/Green) 5.40
11. I’ve Got Dreams To Remember (Rock/O.Redding/Z.Redding) 4.09


PercySledge5Percy Sledge (November 25, 1941 – April 14, 2015) 

RIP and I have to thank so much, not only for your masterpiece
“When A Man Loves A Woman”