Rusty's waltz wednesday presents: When a Man Loves a Woman, by Percy Sledge
Wellsir, it's valentine's week here at Rusty's waltz Wednesday, and as it happens, in the world at large. So I could not resist the urge to feature this smoocher: When a Man Loves a Woman (WAMLAW), by Percy Sledge.
Mr. Sledge is from Alabama, and began playing gigs while working as a hospital orderly. His musical roots are in southern gospel, and when WAMLAW was released in 1966, he became the first southern soul artist to top the charts: 2 weeks at the top, in May 1966.
Imagine if it were today, people:
Mix 96 Virgin Radio playing this song 12 times a day; second cup embroiled in an ill-fated bidding-war with starbucks for the musical rights; background music for a Fido Mobile ad; and young people gyrating on the dance floor to the slick 1-2-3-1-2-3 set out by the hi-hat.
I'm deliberately choosing to share the live version of WAMLAW, found on Mr. Sledge's VEVO channel, because he sings with great feeling and effort, it sort of revived my appreciation for the song.
For you see, I - like you, dear reader - had become sort of numb to this song. And that is to the singer/songwriter's own credit, a reflection of how huge this song is: I - like you - have likely heard this song upwards of fifty times without ever having pressed a "Play" button.
This was the first song he recorded for his first ever record contract, in 1966. This recording is from 1966 or 1967, because Otis redding introduces the song, and poor Otis died in late 1967.
He sings this song in such a high register without breaking or going falsetto, it's stupefying. Fellas, try it at home tonight in the shower, you will sound like an idiot, and your partner might break up with you.
He also brings some great motifs from the souther gospel tradition, like the "hah!" (0:42), and ending some words with "wronggg...AH!" (3:42). On that note, this one goes out to my special lady Sarah, whom I encourage to visit each page multiple times to increase my page count.........................
Alright, enough text, enjoy! Happy love day babies....AH!