RIP ‘King of Rock & Soul’ Solomon Burke
Philly-born soul-shouter Solomon Burke called it quts early this morning at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, according to various reports, including this one from the BBC. The one-tiime gospel radio-show host, who was a Philidelphia preacher just prior to his secular soul career, died on a flight from L.A., en route to a sold-out show at a church converted into a venue. Burke’s family noted on his website that he died of natural causes.
Burke, whose career began to hit heights in 1964, mostly on the back of the “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” single, which the Rolling Stones tellingly covered, always packed houses in Detroit. His voice and overall elán informed many locals, from Jackie Wilson to Timmy Vulgar. Don Was produced his winning and underrated 2005 album Make Due With What You Got.
Burke landed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and his comeback album, Don’t Give Up on Me, which saw contributions from Elvis Costello, Dan Penn, Van Morrison and Tom Waits and others, snagged a deserved Grammy in 2002. Producer Jerry Wexler once called Burke the best soul singer ever.
MT spoke to Burke just before his Campus Martius appearance in 2008, which we believe was his last visit to the areal.