Solomon Burke, the great soul legend, with the big powerful voice has passed away at the age of 70 from an apparent heart attack. Burke was a preacher, turned mortician, turned legendary singer, and was responsible for some great classic R&B classic songs and awesome live performances. From 1961 until 1978, the singer was responsible for a long string of hit singles on the R&B charts reaching #1 and#2 , although none of his singles peaked higher than #22 and #24 on the mainstream pop charts. As late as 2007, he made a rare U.S TV appearance on LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O’BRIEN. The singer appeared to be very overweight and performed from an ornate chair.
Besides performing original songs, Solomon Burke was also responsible for some great remakes of classic rock songs that he issued as singles, such as CCR’s, “Proud Mary” in 1969, and Three Dog Night’s, “Shambala” in 1973. It is often a common practice for many pop hits to re-emerge as covers on the country and R&B charts by other artists. And Burke could produce some powerful covers of rock songs as well pen some fantastic classic original hits.
Reports claim that Burke died while traveling on a flight to Amsterdam to perform an October 12, show with the Dutch rock band De Dijk. De Dijk is an R&B oriented rock band that recorded a new album, HOLD ON TIGHT, with Solomon Burke that was only recently released, and Burke was on tour with the band to help promote the new album. Some powerful videos of Burke performing with De Dijk exist on YouTube. They are indeed awesome.
Solomon Burke leaves behind a fantastic legacy of music that has found respect among many White R&B community musicians such as The Rolling Stones and De Dijk. The Rolling Stones performed a memorable show with Solomon Burke once before, where Burke proclaimed them as the “crowned kings of rock and roll”, and had his crew dress Mick Jagger with his famous king’s cape cloak. The Rolling Stones absolutely loved him. For many years, Solomon Burke had been regarded as a living legend among so many great rock acts and a deep inspiration to them. Some musicians belovingly respected him as the “King of rock and soul” and “King Solomon”. He will be so deeply missed. Legends like this only come once a lifetime.