Percy Sledge

Dublin Core


Percy Sledge


Colbert County, Leighton, Music, Alabama Music Hall of Fame


Percy Sledge (November 25, 1940-April 14, 2015)

Percy Tyrone Sledge was born November 25, 1940 in the poor farming town of Leighton, Alabama. Sledge worked on many local farms then was hired as an orderly at the hospital in Sheffield where he delighted patients and staff by singing on the job. On weekends, he sang in an R&B combo called the Esquires.

Sledge was discovered when a patient at the hospital where he was working introduced him to record producer Quin Ivy in 1965. His first recording for Atlantic Records, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” reached No. 1 on the pop charts in 1966 and became the label’s first gold record. After his first album was released, Sledge released three more in the 1960s: “Warm and Tender Soul”, “The Percy Sledge Way”, and “Take Time to Know Her”. Sledge never again reached the success of “When a Man Loves a Woman” which became an early highlight of the Muscle Shoals music scene and was used in several movie soundtracks in the 1980s. Although he said he had hummed the melody of the song all his life, he was not listed as a co-writer, so he never received any royalties for his most successful song. He may not have reached the success of “When a Man Loves a Woman” again, but he did spend the next fifty years recording and performing. Songs like “I’ll Be Your Everything” hit the charts well into the 1970s. He released his final album, “The Gospel of Percy Sledge”, in 2013.

Sledge was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

He died April 14, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at age 74.

Click the link to listen.


Joy Caitlin Monroe, University of North Alabama


Coscarelli, Joe. “Percy Sledge, Smooth Wailer in ‘When a Man Loves a Woman,’ is Dead at 74.” The New York Times (2015).

“Percy Sledge.” Alabama Music Hall of Fame (2016).


Alabama Cultural Resource Survey