Solomon Burke Biography
Solomon Vincent McDonald Burke (born James Solomon McDonald) was an American vocalist who, as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960s, defined the sound of rhythm and blues. He was noted for his “prodigious output” and was dubbed “a major transitional figure spanning R&B and soul.”
According to some sources, he was born on March 21, 1936, in the upper story of his grandmother Eleanor Moore’s West Philadelphia row house. Other sources offer the same date and month, but the year is given as 1939 or 1940. Burke founded and led the Gospel Cavaliers quartet in high school. His grandma gave him his first guitar, and he later wrote his first song, “Christmas Presents.” The Cavaliers started playing in churches. Burke met Kae “Loudmouth” Williams, a famous Philadelphia DJ, around this time, thanks to Viola Williams, who watched Burke and the Cavaliers perform at church. The group separated up before entering a gospel talent contest with a record deal as the grand prize.
Burke entered the event as a solo artist and won against eleven other participants at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Several labels, including Apollo, Vee-Jay Records, and Peacock Records, became interested in the 15-year-old. Burke hired Kae Williams as his manager before pursuing the offer. Williams then brought him to Apollo Records, where he met Bess Berman, who signed him to the label. The change was made when Williams added four years to Burke’s age, which led to misunderstanding from the press about his age.
“Cry to Me,” “If You Need Me,” “Got to Get You Off My Mind,” “Down in the Valley,” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” were among his many hits. Burke was honoured as “King Solomon,” “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul,” “Bishop of Soul,” and “Muhammad Ali of Soul.” Burke has been called as the genre’s “most unfairly ignored singer” of its golden age due to his lack of chart success in comparison to other soul music greats such as James Brown, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding.
Burke was dubbed “the greatest male soul vocalist of all time” by Atlantic Records CEO Jerry Wexler.
Burke’s most famous records bridged the gap between mainstream R&B and grittier R&B throughout a five-year period in the early 1960s. Burke was a “singer whose smooth, forceful articulation and blending of religious and profane themes helped define soul music in the early 1960s,” according to the New York Times.
He relied on his influences, including gospel, jazz, country, and blues, while also crafting his own style at a period when R&B and rock were still in their infancy. “Perhaps more than any other musician, the enormous figure of Solomon Burke typified the ways in which spirituality and business, pleasure and entertainment, sex and redemption, individualism and fraternity, could mingle in the world of 1960s soul music.”
Burke released 38 studio albums on at least 17 record labels during his 55-year career and had 35 singles chart in the United States, including 26 on the Billboard R&B charts. Burke was elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a performer in 2001. At the 45th Annual Grammy Awards in 2003, his album Don’t Give Up on Me received the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Burke was credited with selling 17 million albums by 2005. Burke was voted No. 89 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” in 2008.
Burke died on October 10, 2010, at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, while on a plane returning from Washington Dulles International Airport. On October 12, he was scheduled to perform with De Dijk in Amsterdam. Burke died of natural causes, according to his family, but the cause of death was not immediately known. Burke’s manager/companion of 16 years, Jane Margolis Vickers, testified at a 2012 probate court hearing of Burke’s will that doctors at Reston Hospital feared Burke had a pulmonary embolism and advised him not to go.
Burke chose to leave the hospital “contrary to medical advice” and fly to Dulles for his flight to Amsterdam. There was no autopsy performed after his death, however it is widely assumed that Burke died from a pulmonary embolism.
Solomon Burke Discography
|The Last Great Concert |
|Back To My Roots|
|We’re Almost Home|
|If You Need Me|
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Is Solomon Burke From?
Solomon Burke, (born March 21, 1940, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.
How Many Album Solomon Burke’S Has Released?
Solomon Burke has released a total of 24 albums over the course of his career. This includes both studio and live albums, as well as compilations. He is considered to be one of the most influential soul musicians of all time.
What Is The Biggest Hits OfSolomon Burke?
Some of the biggest hits of Solomon Burke include “Cry to Me,” “Down in the Valley,” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love.” Burke was a highly influential figure in the development of soul music, and his work has been cited as an inspiration by many subsequent artists.
What Is The Best-Selling Album By Solomon Burke?
The best-selling album by Solomon Burke is “Don’t Give Up on Me.” This album was released in 2002 and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. It has been certified gold by the RIAA.