Steve Green from talent agency Artists International Management Inc said in a statement, “He was one of my first acts, he was a terrific person and you don’t find that in this business very often,” said Green. “He was truly a standout.”
Sledge had surgery for liver cancer in January 2014 but soon resumed touring. The legend passed away in his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on the 14th of April 2015.
The singer of the timeless classic ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’, scored huge success in the 60’s but left his mark on the music industry for an eternity, as his classic ballads were covered time and time again, reviving over decades.
Sledge’s debut single When a Man Loves a Woman reached the top 10 twice in the UK and topped the US Billboard chart for two weeks in 1966, when it also got to number four in the UK chart. The track reached number two when it was re-released in the UK in 1987 after appearing in Oliver Stone’s film Platoon, and featuring in several other films like The Big Chill, The Crying Game and a 1994 drama named after the song itself. It was also featured as the soundtrack for a Levis advert in 1987.
It remained Sledge’s biggest hit and helped sustain a long touring career in the US, Europe and South Africa, averaging 100 performances a year. His other chart successes included Warm and Tender Love, It Tears Me Up and Take Time to Know Her.
Born on the 25th of November 1940, before his music career, Sledge worked in the cotton fields around his hometown of Leighton in northwest Alabama, before taking a job as a hospital nurse in the early 1960, where a patient heard him singing while he worked and recommended him to record producer Quin Ivy.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” was Sledge’s first song recorded under the contract, and was released in March 1966. According to Sledge, the song’s inspiration came when his girlfriend left him for a modelling career after he was laid off from a construction job in late 1965
The singer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and was a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
He is survived by his wife and children.
Sledge’s soulful 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”.