Solomon Burke Legendary King of Soul Dies at 70

The music world lost a legend on Sunday.

Soul music legend Solomon Burke passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 70.

“He was the founding father of what was defined as soul music in America in the 1960s. He was a major player,” Tom Reed, author of the 1992 book “The Black Music History of Los Angeles: Its Roots,” told the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.




His family released a statement on his website that announced that the singer died in the Netherlands of natural causes. Burke reportedly died shortly after arriving at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. He was in Amsterdam to perform a sold out concert with the Dutch group De Dijk.

Burke made incredible contributions to music. In the 1960’s he was signed to Atlantic Records. He recorded  32 singles with the label. One of his most recognized hits was “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” recorded in 1964. Almost instantaneously The Rolling Stones recorded their version of the song. Legendary music icons like Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty have performed Burke’s songs in concert.  Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Burke loved to record music but he had a true passion for performing. In an interview Burke said that “the thing I most enjoy is the people, the audience, just the thrill of being out there making personal contact and having the deeply spiritual experience of sharing music with so many grateful fans.”

Burke was influenced by r&b, country, rock&roll, and gospel music. “Gospel was part of my total career, not just something I started with, but something I live with, as my foundation and 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”. Burke took his love of the gospel literally. He opened and pastored The House of God for All People in Los Angeles.

Burke achieved numerous accolades, awards, and accomplishments that included 14 daughters, 7 sons, 90 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. His family expressed their deep sorrow on Burke’s website.
“This is a time of great sorrow for our entire family. We truly appreciate all of the support and well wishes from his friends and fans. Although our hearts and lives will never be the same, his love, life and music will continue to live within us forever,”

In an interview with The Telegraph, Burke said: “As long as I have breath to do it, I’ll sing, with God’s help.”

By: Nana-Adwoa Ofori