Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"Underground Legends"

Solomon Burke (March 21, 1940)

Before acts like Tina Turner, there was King Solomon. "The King of RockNSoul" is a Grammy-award winning Singer-Songwriter who is known for mixing Gospel, Soul and Blues and is a pioneer in RnB and Rock. His great range, which can go from smooth or gitty Soul to howling Rock, and his regal stage presence has been admired by many. Born in Philadelphia, he started out as a preacher and trained mortician (OMG, he deals with dead people) and soon moved into Gospel radio as a host. In 1960, he signed with Atlantic Records and began his secular career. His first hit was "Just Out Of Reach Of My Open Arms" (a cover of a country song). He is best know for his song "Cry to Me," which was featured during the love scene in Dirty Dancing. Also, he recorded "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love," which has become a soul standard, and sung in the movie the Blues Brothers. However, his biggest hit to date was “If You Need Me,” written by Wilson Pickett.

Solomon joined Don Covay, Ben E. King, Arthur Conley and Joe Tex (all on Atlantic Records) in 1968 to record the single, "Soul Meeting," as the "Soul Clan" to show that as Soul legends, they had one another's backs. Although Solomon has not had mainstream success as other RnB and Soul singers, he is respected by and has influenced many other singers and musicians, including Otis Redding (covered "Down in the Valley"), the Rolling Stones (covered "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"), Wilson Picket, (also covered the latter song), Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Ben E. King, Sam Cooke, Percy Sledge, and Sam Moore (from Sam & Dave). Not only that, but he has also worked with many artists, such as Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits,Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, Patty Loveless, Ben Harper and Eric Clapton.

Interesting Fact: Solomon is the father of 21 children, grandfather of 90 children and great-grandfather of 19 chidren. DAMN!!!!! That is a lot of kids!!!! Several of his kids have careers in the music industry, including his grandson, Novel, who I recently wrote about in one of my "Who's That..." posts.

Cry to Me (The first song in my head today!)

Wilson Pickett Version

Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

Down in the Valley

Love Buys Love

Since I Met You Baby

Tonight's the Night

If You Need Me

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