Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blues/Soul Legend Solomon Burke Passes Away In Amsterdam

The man known as the "King of Rock and Soul" has died. Police say Solomon Burke died on a plane today at Schiphol Airport after flying from Los Angeles to Amsterdam, where he had been scheduled to perform in a sellout show at Paradiso. Burke was 70. According to his family, Burke died of natural causes.

During the half-century that he performed, he drew from his roots: gospel, soul, and blues, as well as developing his own style in a time when R&B, and rock were still in their infancy. Burke was considered a pioneer and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1940, Burke, influenced by artists such as Little Richard, signed with Atlantic Records in the early 60's.  His best known song, "Cry To Me" was a favorite of the British beat groups, inspiring cover versions by The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, and later on by The Animals' Eric Burdon in 1980. The song gained new popularity in the 80's with its inclusion in the blockbuster film 'Dirty Dancing' in 1987.

His 1964 hit "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" was also recorded by The Rolling Stones, The Thirteenth Floor Elevators and Led Zeppelin were known to perform the song live as part of the medley in "Whole Lotta Love" during the late 1960's.

He won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2002 for "Don't Give Up On Me." Burke's new studio album 'Hold On Tight', a collaboration with Dutch rock band De Dijk was  released September 24th.

1 comment:

Steve Sauer said...

Very fitting to cover him. And I didn't know about the 13th Floor Elevators covering that song! Thanks for pointing that out.

Indeed, he had a great influence on Led Zeppelin, more than just that one song. It's said that Bonham and Jones were the guys of the group who were heavily into R&B, but Plant could be a soul singer when he wanted to, and Jimmy Page had worked with Bert Berns, Solomon's producer. When Led Zeppelin got together, it was a year after Bert died, and they rewrote one of his songs that Solomon Burke had sung and gave Bert co-writing credit. It became "Baby Come On Home." You can hear samples of both songs here.

RIP, Solomon Burke.

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