As I’m sure you’ve heard, Percy Sledge has died. He had liver cancer and was 74 years old. Not a bad run, but sad just the same. I’ve always liked him for two reasons. First: he has a really distinctive voice. Second: he was a really ugly man. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Actually, I mean it just the opposite. Being a short and ugly man, I have a great admiration for other short and ugly men. I can’t really be objective, but I think I’m slightly more attractive than Sledge, but he was slightly taller than I am. So that’s a wash. And he was, of course, ridiculously talented.
He is best known for the song, “When a Man Loves a Woman.” But I think it isn’t that great a song. What makes it work is his performance. I think this is why the song hasn’t been covered that much. It’s hard to make it work and no one is ever going to make it work the way he did. But ever since The Big Chill, no one needs to listen to the song.
Back in 1968, Percy Sledge released an album, Take Time to Know Her. The title song was one of the first by the legendary songwriter Stephen Allen Davis. And it is a great song. So let’s listen to Sledge perform it live back in 2006: