Sunday, October 10, 2010

Solomon Burke dies at Amsterdam airport at 70

Soul singer Solomon Burke, who wrote "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and recorded the hit "Cry To Me" used in the movie "Dirty Dancing," has died at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. He was 70.

Airport police spokesman Robert van Kapel confirmed the death of the "King of Rock and Soul" on Sunday, and referred further questions to his management.

Dutch national broadcaster NOS said Burke died on a plane early Sunday after arriving on a flight from Los Angles. The cause of death was not immediately clear.

Burke, who was both a Grammy winner and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had been due to perform at a well-known club in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

A Philadelphia native highly acclaimed by music critics, fellow musicians, and many loyal fans, Burke never reached the same level of fame as soul performers like James Brown or Marvin Gaye.

He wrote "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" in 1964 and it was quickly recorded by the Rolling Stones and Wilson Pickett, and later and perhaps most famously by the Blues Brothers.

Legendary Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler once called Burke, "the best soul singer of all time."

Burke joined Atlantic in 1960 and went on to record a string of hits in a decade with the label.

According to his website, Burke was born March 21, 1940, "to the sounds of horns and bass drums" at the United Praying Band The House of God for All People in West Philly.

"From day one, literally God and gospel were the driving forces behind the man and his music," his website said.

Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and won a Grammy a year later.

Those honors sparked a renewed interest in the singer and he toured extensively around the world in recent years.

Burke and his band would play without set lists, instead performing whatever the audience wanted to hear.

"It's like turning back the hands of time instantly," he said on his website. "We can be in the middle of singing something from my recent 'Like A Fire' album, and they'll call out 'Stupidity' from 1957 and we're back 50 years!"

Burke combined his singing with the role of preacher and patriarch of a huge family of 21 children, 90 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

"Loving people," he said at a recent performance in London, "is what I do."

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