25 November 1941, Leighton, Alabama, USA. An informal, intimate singer, former hospital nurse Sledge led a popular campus attraction, the Esquires Combo, prior to his recording debut. Recommended to Quin Ivy, owner of the Norala Sound studio, Sledge arrived with a rudimentary draft of When A Man Loves A Woman. A timeless single, its simple arrangement hinged on Spooner Oldhams organ sound and the singers homely, nasal intonation. Released in 1966, initially on the Ivy imprint before being licensed to Atlantic Records, it was a huge international hit, topping the US pop chart and setting the tone for Sledges subsequent path. A series of emotional, poignant ballads followed, poised between country and soul, but none achieved a similar commercial profile. Warm And Tender Love (1966), It Tears Me Up, Out Of Left Field (both 1967) and Take Time To Know Her (1968) nonetheless stand among...
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