Solomon Burke, who was revered as one of music’s greatest vocalists, died early Sunday at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at the age of 70.
Hear Gary Calamar’s tribute, including an interview with Solomon, up now in our archives.
More below from Gary…
“Don’t you feel like cryin’”
It was such a bummer to wake up yesterday morning to hear the news that the great R&B artist Solomon Burke had passed away.
It immediately brought me back to October 2002, the Sunday night when he came down to the KCRW studios for an interview to talk about his new album Don’t Give Up On Me with songs written for him by some of the greatest songwriters in the world including Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and Brian Wilson.
I recall he pulled up in a big towncar and was dressed…well, like the King Of Rock and Soul would be dressed.
He was so sweet and warm, spiritual and soulful. He told beautiful stories about growing up in West Philadelphia, and becoming a preacher at the age of 7 and preaching and singing the gospel. He talked about the early days at Atlantic Records and working with producers Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun as well as joining the Atlantic family of soul greats Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner, Lavern Baker, Wilson Picket, Otis Redding, and Joe Tex.
He told me about performing at a KKK rally in the South, where he had to have his face bandaged up so the crowd wouldn’t know he was a black man. How the Rolling Stones embraced his music and covered several of his songs in album and in concert
His family said he was flying to Amsterdam to spread his message of love as he loved to do. He jokingly said in the interview he loved airplanes…as soon as he gets off of them. Sadly, he never made it off this airplane in Amsterdam yesterday but he is adding his sweet soulful spirit in heaven.
God bless Solomon Burke.
– Gary Calamar