Percy Sledge has died at age 73.
If you haven’t yet, you should check out the Muscle Shoals documentary Anne-Laurie wrote about last year. Sledge got his start with a record cut at Muscle Shoals (“When a Man Loves a Woman”) and it’s also where Aretha started recording her breakthrough album “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You”. There’s an amazing number of songs you hear on the radio that have a certain sound that is just somehow distinctive that were all cut in Muscle Shoals: “Never Loved A Man”, “When A Man Loves A Woman”, “Brown Sugar”, “I’d Rather Go Blind”, “Kodachrome”, just to name a few.
The movie should come with the label “Trigger Warning: Bono” because there’s way too much Bono. He’s so self-important and pretentious that he makes big egos like Mick Jagger and Aretha seem like regular people who just walked in off the street.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
You know the joke they tell in Ireland, what’s the difference between Bono and God?
I love Percy Sledge. My late husband and I used to dance to his music and that of Otis Redding when we were first courting. Our favorite was “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Their music makes me feel young again.
ETA: 2nd favorite: “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”
If only we could have Muscle S session man Duane instead of Bono
I’ll second that recommendation of the Muscle Shoals documentary! It’s available on Netflix streaming.
One of the best parts of the documentary is the interaction between the lilly white and very “southern” studio band and the various black artists that came in to record there.
Shows amazing possibilities.
I for one have never understood the appeal of Bono.
Boz Scaggs also recorded one of his great early albums there. Duane Allman played on this one.
@schrodinger’s cat: He got Jesse Helms to give a shit about poor people.
“All newspaper editorial writers ever do is come down from the hills after the battle is over and shoot the wounded.” — too soon?
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: God doesn’t think he is Bono.
Karen in GA
For some reason I was always under the impression that Bono’s arrogant preening was just an elaborate act — he always seemed a little too self-aware for it to be real. When I see him I think “pushy salesman” rather than “delusions of grandeur.” Then again, I haven’t really paid enough attention to form an educated opinion about him, so there’s that.
There’s an amazing number of songs you hear on the radio that have a certain sound that is just somehow distinctive that were all cut in Muscle Shoals
A ballsy sound. Powerful rhythm section and bass. Sounds great no matter what you hear it on: a cheap sound system or the most expensive speakers in the world.
WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved legislation granting Congress a vote on the Iran nuclear accord, sending the legislation to the full Senate after President Obama withdrew his opposition rather than face of a bipartisan rebuke.
Republican opponents of the nuclear agreement on the committee sided with Mr. Obama’s strongest Democratic supporters in demanding a congressional role as international negotiators work to turn this month’s nuclear framework into a final deal by June 30. The bill would allow Congress a vote to disallow the lifting of congressionally imposed sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. It passed 19 to 0.
I have a close friend, a hall of fame drummer, in fact, who played with Percy back in the day. Chittlin circuit. He told me Percy was the only band leader that paid him well enough to actually have money at the end of a tour. My friend held him in the highest regard. RIP Mr Sledge, you were one of the great ones.
I’m sad to read about Sledge’s death. I’ve always like his “Take Time To Know Her”, from 1968.
I don’t really like the Senate’s move on the Iran negotiations.
I just saw Graham’s comment at #13. That makes his death even sadder to me.
@Graham: According to what I’ve read, Percy gifted the songwriting credits to “When A Man Loves A Woman”, essentially giving away millions.
Percy Sledge, and almost anyone out of Muscle Shoals, is fucking awesome. Such a distinctive sound, with that rhythm section that kicks every other rhythm section in the world’s ass. And Percy…damn.
Fuck Bono. I can’t remember a rock musician I hated as much as I hate Bono. And I hate him even more because I really liked him and his band waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when. Been a long time since I felt that way, though. Now I just want to punch his entitled, pretentious asshole face.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
God may be an asshole, but at least he’s not as arrogant as Bono?
Sorry, not very funny, but I really hate Bono.
From the CNN (and others obit) on “When a Man Loves a Woman.
The song was recorded on February 17, 1966, in Sheffield, Alabama. Atlantic Records picked it up and wanted to redo the slightly out-of-tune horns, but the original version ended up being released.
It hit No. 1 on May 28, 1966.
“Southern soul had at last entered the mainstream of pop in the unlikely guise of the ultimate make-out song,” music historian Peter Guralnick wrote. Producer Jerry Wexler called it “a holy love hymn.”
I have no idea what the Dems are thinking here. I’d like to think they are just trolling the republicans, forcing them to take a “real” vote on the issue. But it seems that the republicans are pretty close to picking up enough dems to override a veto. It’s no wonder polls consistently indicate that the public trusts republicans on foreign policy more than dems. When a significant number of dems are will to scrap their president’s major foreign policy achievement, it’s pretty obvious that the party has no foreign policy philosophy.
@germy shoemangler: Why not just make Netanyahu co-commander in chief at this point?
I can’t say I really hate Bono, but he does deserve to be mocked. I’d love to see Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake do a number on him.
I don’t know if this is really true, or even if it is, reality is more complicated. The public may “trust” the GOP more, whatever that means, but they elected Obama twice and clearly wanted him to be the architect of foreign policy. They rejected McCain and Romney, and all their foreign policy pretensions.
The present Iran situation is a big mess, with some Dems jumping in on one side or another to cover their asses. I don’t think most Dems ever wanted to have to make any firm stand on any foreign policy issue.
@dogwood: I have a feeling that the senate version will not survive the house, since it does not demand that Iran recognize Israel. This may be why President Obama says he will sign it and the senate Dems are voting for it; they know it will never pass in the house.
@germy shoemangler: I never heard that, Germy. I can tell you he was damn near worshiped here in Macon by the old school musicians. We genuflected. Literally. I was in a bar one night, playing good southern music, and he walked in…talk about pucker factor. You couldn’t have pulled a ten penny nail out of our butts with a tractor. It was such an honor to meet him and to play When a Man Loves a Woman with him…I think I will have to light a candle.
I love that song “When a man loved a woman.” It’s the only song I learned to play on keyboard (I play guitar). RIP Percy.
Speaking of guitar playing, I saw U2 a bunch of times in the 80s. They were a great band, but their music turned sour in the 90s, and I lost interest.
I’m enough of a contrarian—and a genuine fan from U2’s 80s and 90s heyday—that I roll my eyes at Bono bashing, but man, he kicked his insufferability up 10 notches in that documentary.
I can’t say Bono’s excessive presence ruined it. I learned a ton, enjoyed great music, and it was a well-told story of betrayal and redemption, but my immediate reaction when the documentary finished was “Man, is Bono a giant turd or what?”
@dogwood: Well, South Park made him out to be the world’s biggest pooper, so, there’s that.
@Karen in GA: It isn’t. He and his pal Dale Evans (“the Edge”) are two of the most arrogant, greedy motherfuckers to walk this planet.
@dogwood: The Dems who would vote to override a veto on this are working in the interests of a foreign power, to the detriment of America. As is virtually all of the GOP.
I hope they take that vote, and it had better not be a voice vote, I want that shit on record. I want to know who is going to have to be primaried out next cycle.
fix’t or Roy Rogers fans will getcha ;-)
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Arclite: Percy Sledge was a force out of Muscle Shoals and will be missed. RIP indeed.
I liked U2 back in the day as well; they had some very good stuff. Then, well, they got sidetracked into being mega rockstars with overproduced music and insanely overproduced performances.
@Josie #24, interesting. I haven’t seen that anywhere else, but it sounds kind of logical.
I always heard fine things about Mr. Sledge, and he was certainly a wonderful artist and a force for good.
May his transition be one of peace profound.
A Percy Sledge story. A couple years ago I was in South Africa. I can speak some Zulu, and I was listening to a Zulu language radio station. They were talking about how a man had been arrested for bestiality with his cattle. Then the radio station had a guy sing “Um’ indod’ ithand’ inkomo” (“When a man loves a cow”) to the tune of and in the style of Percy Sledge’s signature song. Sort of a “Morning Zoo” thing to do.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Calouste: this was the punch line I was thinking of, but this is funnier, @geg6:
But their cowboy movies are such fun! And I really like how Evans plays his guitar, Buttermilk. Happy trails.
@Graham: Great story. Thanks.
As a pirates fan the only sledge I recognize are the didters
Just Some Fuckhead
Finally, something I completely agree with from Balloon Juice’s music blogger.
The REAL mind bomb in the Muscle Shoals movie is that Donna Jean Godchaux got her start singing on When a Man Loves a Woman. I had to pause the movie and ponder the infinity.
The Republic of Stupidity
Loan me A Dime…
Came across the album 40 years ago and never forgot it…
The Republic of Stupidity
If y’all liked the Muscle Shoals film and you haven’t seen this yet, you’ll love it…
Tom Dowd and the Language of Music
There’s a scene where Dowd, who recorded Layla, cues up the master of that song and listens to it for the first time since he recorded it, as I recall…
He starts playing w/ the sliders and bringing Clapton and Allman forward, so you can hear their individual parts better… made the hair on my arms stand up…
Also has the best atomic bomb footage in it that I’ve ever seen…
As a teenager, Dowd was part of the Manhattan Project…
Dead thread, I am sure, but damn it. Another icon gone. This one one has always been one of my favs.
You Don’t Miss Your Water — William Bell (at White House)
The documentary on Stax Records is on youtube, too.
(But the link is for William Bell, not the doc. because I messed it up.)
But … Percy Sledge I’ve Been Loving You Too Long