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Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge (born November 25, 1940, in Leighton, Alabama) is a US-American R&B and soul performer.


Percy Sledge worked in the fields in Leighton before he worked as an orderly at Colbert County Hospital in Sheffield. By the mid-1960s, Sledge was touring the Southeast with the Esquires Combo on weekends and working at the hospital during the week. A former patient who was a friend of record producer Quin Ivy introduced the two, an audition followed, and Sledge was signed to a recording contract.

Sledge's smooth 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 the first song recorded under the contract (released in 1966), and it became not only an international hit (it reached #1 in the U.S.) but 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 UK songstress Elkie Brooks in 1981), "Take Time to Know Her", and "Cover Me".

Sledge charted with "I'll Be Your Everything" and "Sunshine" during the 1970s, and has become an international concert favorite throughout the world, especially in the Netherlands, Germany, and on the African continent.

His career enjoyed a renaissance in the 1980s when "When a Man Loves a Woman" re-entered the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart after being used in a Levi's commercial.

Sledge was an inaugural Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award honoree in 1989. In 2005, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Lee Atwater, a Republican political strategist who worked for Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush and was Karl Rove's mentor, briefly played backup guitar for Percy Sledge during the 1960's.

Selected discography


  • 1966 "When a Man Loves a Woman" - U.S. pop #1, U.S. R&B #1, UK #4
  • 1966 "Warm and Tender Love" - U.S. pop #17, U.S. R&B #5, UK #34
  • 1966 "It Tears Me Up" - U.S. pop #20, U.S. R&B #7
  • 1967 "Baby, Help Me" - U.S. pop #87, U.S. R&B #44
  • 1967 "Out Of Left Field" - U.S. pop #59, U.S. R&B #25
  • 1967 "Love Me Tender" - U.S. pop #40, U.S. R&B #35
  • 1967 "Cover Me" - U.S. pop #42, U.S. R&B #39
  • 1968 "Take Time to Know Her" - U.S. pop #11, U.S. R&B #6
  • 1968 "Sudden Stop" - U.S. pop #63, U.S. R&B #41
  • 1968 "You're All Around Me" - U.S. pop #109
  • 1969 "My Special Prayer" - U.S. pop #93, U.S. R&B #44
  • 1969 "Any Day Now" - U.S. pop #86, U.S. R&B #35
  • 1969 "Kind Woman" - U.S. pop #116
  • 1969 "True Love Travels On A Gravel Road" - did not chart
  • 1969 "Silent Night" - only issued in the UK and in South Africa (where it was a hit)
  • 1970 "Many Rivers To Cross" - did not chart
  • 1970 "Help Me Make It Through The Night" - did not chart
  • 1971 "Stop The World Tonight" - did not chart
  • 1972 "Raindow Road" - did not chart
  • 1972 "Sunday Brother" - did not chart
  • 1973 "Sunshine" U.S. R&B #89
  • 1987 "When a Man Loves a Woman" (re-issue) - UK #2

Compilation album

  • 1987 When a Man Loves a Woman (The Ultimate Collection) - UK #36



  1. ^ Percy Sledge at Oldies.about.com, accessed July 30, 2007.

General references

  • Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 19th Edition - ISBN 1-904994-10-5
  • The Book of Golden Discs - 2nd Edition - ISBN 0-214-20512-6

See also

  • Sledging (cricket), which in part got its name from Percy Sledge