Hed: Sledge to highlight Redlands festival
By Eileen Bailey
FULTON – Long before pop star Michael Bolton knew what it took for a man to love a woman, Percy Sledge was drawing on experiences from deep within to put feeling into his songs.
On April 27, residents who attend a concert by the Leighton, Ala., native will hear those feelings firsthand as Sledge headlines a concert sponsored by the Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department and the Redlands Festival.
Itawamba County Sheriff Leon Hayes said this is the first time for his department to sponsor such an event. Proceeds from the $20 tickets will be used to purchase equipment not included in his department’s budget, Hayes said.
The concert will close the Redlands Festival, which begins on April 26 with a street dance. There will also be a car show, arts and crafts and entertainment on April 27.
Kathy Ivy of Red Bay and the Muscle Shoals Pickers will open Sledge’s 7 p.m. concert in the Itawamba Community College Fine Arts Center.
Sledge, who was nominated for a Grammy this year, said in a interview with USA Today that “other songs I hate to sing again, but ‘When a Man Loves a Woman’ has always been easy for me.”
Sledge, 56, would not say if he had a particular woman in mind when he first performed the song. “I’m married now. But I’ve always sung it deep from inside,” he said.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” was written by two members of a band Sledge sang with called the Esquires. Originally called “Why did you leave me?,” the song was written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew “Pop” Wright and was recorded in nearby Muscle Shoals, Ala.
The song – which Sledge took to the top of the pop and R&B charts in 1966 – has been heard in such movies as “Platoon,” “The Crying Game” and “The Big Chill.” Most recently, it was featured in a movie titled “When a Man Loves a Woman,” starring Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan.
The song was remade by Bolton, who won a Grammy in 1992 for his version.
Other songs by Sledge include “Warm and Tender Love,” “It Tears Me Up,” “Cover Me,” and “Take Time to Know Her.”
Sledge’s latest album, “Blue Night,” is his first in almost 20 years and was nominated for a Grammy this year in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album.