Solomon Burke, one of the greatest singers of the soul era, passed away on Sunday, the 10th. For those who don’t know he was an Atlantic artist famed for his brilliant voice, outlandish Regal outfits, and also his bold entrepreneurial spirit. He owned a chain of funeral parlours (and was a Doctor of Mortuary Science), drugstores and a limousine service in Philly and was known to sell concessions on the road, making his best money by inflating sandwich prices to the other artists while on the bus. According to Otis Redding’s brother, “I remember one tour…and Solomon was selling his ice water for ten cents, sandwiches for a dollar-everybody just laughed at him. By the time they got about halfway there, he was selling that water for a dollar, sandwiches for $7.50!” (excerpt from Peter Guralnik’s ‘Sweet Soul Music’). He was a true soldier of the road, performing right until the end.
The King of Soul is dead…Long live the King of Soul.
His first hit, a veritable country song.