Born: Nov. 25, 1940 in Leighton, Ala.
Died: April 14, 2015
Percy Sledge began his career in his mid-teens by performing at dance parties in his hometown area. By age twenty he had joined the Esquires and performed throughout the southeast U.S., though continuing his full-time position as a hospital orderly in Sheffield, Alabama. In 1965, while working as a hospital orderly, Percy auditioned with and was signed to a recording contract with a DJ-turned record producer, Quinn Ivy. This studio time led to a succession of hits, including "A Whiter Shade of Pale", and "When a Man Loves a Woman," which went right to the top of the charts in 1966.
This was followed by other notable songs, such as "It Tears Me Up," "Warm and Tender Love," and "Take Time to Know Her." In the 1970's "I'll be Your Everything" and "Sunshine" that likewise made the charts.
Percy's career took an upswing in 1987 when the hit single, "When a Man Loves a Woman," made the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film, "Platoon." This again hit the charts and led to personal appearances on "Saturday Night Live" and "Entertainment Tonight." A more recent collection, "Blue Night," features new material along with his older classics. Having earned five gold and two platinum albums, mostly at Atlantic Records, Percy was the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's first recipient of the Career Achievement Award.