|Percy Sledge (Photo by Carol Highsmith)|
Southern soul-singer Percy Sledge could have been a rich man early on were it not for what CNN terms “a fit of generosity.”
While “working as a hospital orderly, picking up gigs at night with a group called the Esquires Combo,” Sledge wrote “When a Man Loves a Woman.”
His lyrics came straight “from the heart,” referring back to a “former girlfriend.” The melody was one that Sledge had
hummed as a youth when “picking and chopping cotton in the [Alabama] fields.”
Nevertheless, Sledge turned songwriting credit over to two other Combo members, Andrew Wright and Calvin Lewis, because they had “helped him with a few chords.”
Because of that, Sledge “never saw a dime of songwriting royalties.” This, even though his “holy love hymn” had gone all the way to number one.
When asked by Blues and Soul Magazine if he regretted being so generous, Sledge replied: Worst decision I ever made. But I am not at all bitter. I figure if God wanted me to do what I did… then I’ll leave it that way.
In other words, “Thy will be done…” on earth, and now in heaven too.
Copyright April 15, 2015 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved