Without A Net

Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Saying goodbye to soul legend Solomon Burke

I was saddened to read that soul legend Solomon Burke passed away Sunday. I had the pleasure to see him do two sets at the 2003 Bumbershoot festival in Seattle. He also played this year's Bumbershoot just last month, showing his continued vitality until the end.

Here he is performing the title track off his 2002 comeback album, "Don't Give Up On Me":

He was a star in the '60s, left the industry for decades, then made a comeback in the early 2000s. I had received Solomon Burke's Don't Give Up On Me as a gift and hadn't listened to it much or really gotten into it, but seeing Burke live showed me how wrong I'd been.

When I saw him, he sat in a throne as he performed, as he did during his later years due to health issues. Even sitting down, Burke commanded the stage and completely held the audience's attention. Burke's large body filled the throne, but his charisma and confidence made it work.

He would tell stories and preach to the crowd, offering inspiration and uplift between songs. He used hand motions to tell the story of a song and made you understand what these songs were really all about. When a song reached a climax, he would force himself to stand and power through to the end. He sweated profusely as he belted out each number, and a young relative (I believe either his son or grandson) would dab his forehead after each song.

Another soul legend has passed on, but his music lives on. Here he is doing his signature song, "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love":

Link: Solomon Burke's website

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