“When a Man Loves a Woman,” hit maker Percy Sledge dies at 74

New York – Soul singer Percy Sledge, best known for his recording of “When a Man Loves a Woman,” died at his home in Louisiana at age 74 after battling cancer, his agent said on Tuesday.

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The song recorded by Sledge for Atlantic Records in 1966 was his first single and is considered one of the greatest of all soul songs. Sledge was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

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“I got a call this morning,” said his agent Steve Green, confirming the death. “He had been suffering from cancer.”

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Green initially said Sledge was 73 but found out he was mistaken. “Percy always said he was 73, but he was actually 74,” he explained.

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Born in Leighton, Alabama, Sledge began performing with the group the Esquires in local clubs in 1965. He was known for his distinctive vocals and recorded a string of hits, including “Warm and Tender Love,” “It Tears Me Up,” and “Take Time to Know Her.”

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But “When a Man Loves A Woman” was his signature song. He said the inspiration was a woman leaving him for someone else.

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Sledge received the first career achievement award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 1989 and was also an inductee into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

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Although Sledge was best known in the United States for “When a Man Loves a Woman,” he was popular in other places like the Caribbean and Scandinavia.

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“They knew every song,” Green said of Sledge’s global audience. “They knew it just like they knew ‘When a Man Loves a Woman.’“

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Sledge is survived by his wife, Rosa, and several children.

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Reuters