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Solomon Burke

While Solomon Burke never made a major impact upon the pop audience -- he never, in fact, had a Top 20 hit -- he was an important early soul pioneer. On his '60s singles for Atlantic, he brought a country influence into R&B, with emotional phrasing and intricately constructed, melodic ballads and midtempo songs. At the same time, he was surrounded with sophisticated "uptown" arrangements and was provided with much of his material by his producers, particularly Bert Berns. The combination of gospel, pop, country, and production polish was basic to the recipe of early soul. While Burke wasn't the only one pursuing this path, not many others did so as successfully. And he, like Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett, was an important influence upon the Rolling Stones, who covered Burke's "Cry to Me" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" on their early albums.

Burke came by his gospel roots even more deeply than most soul stars. He was preaching at his family's Philadelphia church and hosting his own gospel radio show even before he'd reached his teens. He began recording gospel and R&B sides for Apollo in the mid- to late '50s. Like several former gospel singers (Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett), he was molded into a more secular direction when he signed with Atlantic in the '60s. Burke had a wealth of high-charting R&B hits in the early half of the '60s, which crossed over to the pop listings in a mild fashion as well. "Just Out of Reach," "Cry to Me," "If You Need Me," "Got to Get You Off My Mind," "Tonight's the Night," and "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)" were the most successful of these, although, unlike Franklin or Pickett, he wasn't able to expand his R&B base into a huge pop following as well. He left Atlantic in the late '60s and spent the next decade hopping between various labels, getting his biggest hit with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary" in 1969, and recording an album in the late '70s with cult soulster Swamp Dogg as producer.

From the '80s through the first decade of the new millennium, Burke became one of the most visible living exponents of classic soul music, continuing to tour and record albums in a rootsy, at times gospel-ish style. Although these were critically well-received, their stylistic purity also ensured that their market was primarily confined to roots music enthusiasts, rather than a pop audience. His live and later recorded work, however, is a favorite of those who want to experience a soul legend with his talents and stylistic purity relatively intact. Burke's 2002 release Don't Give Up on Me was hailed as a major comeback for the legendary soul man. Great songwriters like Elvis Costello, Dan Penn, Nick Lowe, and Tom Waits contributed songs, and Joe Henry produced the album, which has been compared to Johnny Cash's landmark American Recordings.

After the critical success of Don't Give Up on Me reaffirmed Burke's status as one of the greatest living exponents of classic soul, the singer teamed up with producer Don Was for Make Do with What You Got, an updated variation on his classic style that was released in spring 2005. A year later, Burke released an interesting country and soul hybrid, Nashville, on Shout! Factory. A second album on the label, Like a Fire, followed in 2008. Burke next reunited with producer Willie Mitchell for Nothing’s Impossible, which was released shortly after Mitchell’s death in 2010 by Koch Records’ E1 Music. In October of 2009, Burke teamed up with Dutch Soul band De Dijk for recording sessions that would become his final album: Hold on Tight. Sadly, Burke died on October 10, 2010 upon arrival at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where the soul legend was scheduled to perform at a sold-out show at the city's Paradiso concert hall with De Dijk. Hold on Tight was eventually released in March 2011. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

mbb30705
<3
Great music for sure and yes it was played in Dirty dancing.
THE SOUND TRACK THE MOVIE DIRTY DANCING SMILE..
Year seen for me
nullmark72
Well you sure made an impact on me honey!!! Your one of the Greats.
What can I say great music
Great music I agree
What
danbrower1
httyuiiiiuyj y r y :) :D :(D:
it's just a matter of time...no truer words have been spoken
Send me some Loving by Solomon
Burke is mildly ok BUT Little Richard's is MUCH better!
kimdmartin3
I hate to say that old cliche, 'they don't make'em like they use to'....but, wow, how true it is!! THIS is music....whe n one man's words (that you actually understand) sung with such meaning, affects sooo many ppl for various reasons, that's a true artist! Need more like Carr, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding...I could listen (& do) to this all day, 24/7!
I didnt know he had died either. R.I.P
Did not know he had died. A great singer. We all now we are going to die and great it is to die doing what one truly enjoys.
Simply put, one of the BEST!
Live at The House of Blues is awesome .. You just let the whole album play...My fave song of his is "Got to Getcha Off of My Mind".
Again,Yes Cry to Me WAS His Best Song. This is from Key West,Fla.
athomesusieq
love this man. is he the one who sings Candy? any one?
Man slow dancing at someones house party..remem b e r oakland,ca
mrivers370
I Agree with wxgal7
wxgal7
Cry to me is one if the greatest songs ever. A cover in itself, but like so many covers its the artist that puts just the right touch. On this one its Solomon Burke.
My first time listening to his songs &love it
He rocks !!!!!
i love all solomon burke songs
Solomon Burke rocks! No top 10 hit, EVER?! What's wrong with America???
I absolutely *love* this song...Cry to Me.....
candicecorne r 7 7
I was thinking the same thing... first time i heard this song was in that Dirty Dancin' scene lol
Such a sexy song!
He sounds so much like John Fogerty. I wonder if John listened to him before he started Creedence Clearwater.
jachearts14
I really like this guy's talent! Too bad the Stones didn't continue to do Solomon Burke covers!
dmfreeman5
A tremendous and soulful artist......
these are old school music , im so happy to here these songs ones again thank you for all the work you all do for these songs
smooth as silk
my mama and daddy would listen to this ,great stuff!!!!!!
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE KING SOLOMON BURKE! <3
This is the day Soul Music died. This is the day that many of us cried. We lost the Pontiff and he is at peace. We love you Solomon, see you at the gates....of the Soul Charger lounge!
robin.lattin
R.I.P. Mr. Burke
One of the greatest (in my opinion). My God bless his soul.
barjeanrose
Another great one gone, but leaving a legacy of real music that can never be duplicated. Thank you. R.I.P. Solomon.
docebony
R.I.P., my brother
vburton6
I LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT THE 60'S. THAT IS MY TIME WHEN SINGING WAS REALLY WHAT THE ARTIST DID IN THOSE DAYS. WISH WE CAN TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME!!!!!!
My favorite scene from Dirty Dancing :)
Got to get ya off of my mind! Now thats a classic!
one of the greatest soul singer. real class guy also
Love this song "Feel like cryin". Great song.
ermamckinney 9 3 3
PLEASE AD DARK STREET SOUNDTRACK TO THOS DISCOGRAPHY. SOLOMON BURKE SINGS THE DARK STREET SONG ON THIS MOTION PICTURE RELEASE.
soulful and jamming
michaelmross
Wow! Must have hugely influenced Van Morrison. We think of Morrison as being a one-of-a-kin d artist, but his vocal style must be credited to Solomon Burke. (In fact, I think Morrison does pay homage to him in one song... now I know why....)
mbushousehoc k e y
Oh Solomon, You are so Great, the feeling you have the voice...abso l u t e l y Mr Wonderful!!
Solomon has one of the great soul voices of all time.

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