If there was ever a song that was made to be played in a funeral parlour, it’s When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge. Not only does it feature a morbid – but beautiful – Farfisa organ intro played by Spooner Oldham, the mood of the song is one of heartbreak – the perfect fodder to soundtrack a casket advancing into the flames of the cremation chamber.
The rest of the record is of a similar theme, with Sledge’s lyrics recounting the loves he’s lost – all driven by that wonderful organ. Spooner’s organ that it, not Sledge’s problematic member.
Quite a few of these ‘60s soul albums by male artists feature a generic female model on the cover; a couple of Otis Redding’s spring to mind. I wonder how many children saw Sledge’s debut record in their parents’ collections and figured that this pretty white lady was called Percy, or that the blonde lady on the cover of Otis Blue / Otis Sings Soul was named Otis.
Not only did Percy Sledge live to the ripe old age of 74 (passing away just a few years ago in 2015), he had no less than twelve children – three of which went on to become singers in their own right.
Hit: When A Man Loves A Woman
Hidden Gem: Thief In The Night