Soul performer Solomon Burke dies at 70

Grammy Award winner Solomon Burke, who wrote the hit Everybody Needs Somebody to Love and recorded Cry to Me, made popular with the movie Dirty Dancing, died at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport.

He was in Amsterdam to perform at a club on Tuesday. Although the Philadelphia native never quite made it to the top, like soul singers martin Gaye and James Brown, he was highly regarded in the music industry and was described by Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler as “the best soul singer of all time”.

The “King of Rock and Soul”, who celebrated his 70th birthday in March, said of his website: “The only thing I don’t know is what key I was crying when I came into this world”. Speaking about his songwriting influences, he said: “Gospel was part of my total career, not just something I started with, but something I live with, as my foundation and my rock. I grew up a normal black kid in the ghetto, exposed to all kinds of music that influenced me as a songwriter and recording artist.”

Solomon Burke, who complemented his singing with the role of a preacher, said his greatest achievement was his astounding family of 21 children, 90 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.

“Loving people,” he said, “is what I do”.

The singer died shortly after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles. The cause of death has not been confirmed.

Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Solomon_Burke.jpg, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Solomon_Burke_HagenU.jpg

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