Driving to Louisiana for the Baton Rouge Blues Festival, music writer Sean Michaels learns that his beloved Percy Sledge is a regular in Baton Rouge car dealership commercials. When he hears this, he writes at the MP3 blog Said the Gramophone, a small corner of an imaginary world turns to ash. “The Percy Sledge in my mind,” Michaels writes, “the one who sings ‘When A Man Loves A Woman,’ is too distracted by love to ever do something so commercial. He is always staring out the window, or across the street, or over the butcher counter at a pretty girl. He stumbles on the sidewalk, neglects his chores, forgets to call his mum–all because of a passing woman’s perfume, her smile, her lovely knees.”
It’s a beautiful snapshot on its own, but the up-from-the-ashes moment at the end of Michaels’ tale–when Sledge appears on stage in a royal blue suit, sunglasses, and a Hawaiian shirt–is even better.
Michaels marvels: “The gap-toothed singer glows. He is grinning wider than I have ever grinned in my life. He is grinning so wide that his grin cannot possibly be fake.” Sledge, he writes, brings “the self-confidence of a man who was once at the top of the world, and who has decided to never leave. Like all the best soul singers, Percy Sledge’s greatest talent is the vitality of his mind’s eye.”
Friends, there’s only one place to go from here:
Source: Said the Gramophone