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‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ Singer Percy Sledge Dies at 73

Percy Sledge, the soul singer known for his 1966 smash “When a Man Loves a Woman,” died April 14 of cancer in Baton Rouge, La. He was 73.

Sledge’s longtime agent, Steve Green, confirmed his death to ABC News.

“When a Man Loves a Woman” spent weeks atop the pop and R&B charts in 1966. It’s been a staple on radio and used in film and TV soundtracks ever since, including in the 1994 Meg Ryan-Andy Garcia melodrama of the same title.

Sledge’s raw and plaintive vocal is instantly recognizable in the spare R&B ballad. The singer said he wrote the song after his girlfriend left him for another man.

A native of Alabama, Sledge recorded his early tracks for Atlantic Records. He never scored a hit as big as “When a Man Loves a Woman,” but he had a steady output in the 1960s and ’70s. He continued to perform and record well into his 70s. His most recently release was 2013’s “The Gospel of Percy Sledge.”

Sledge was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.


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