Soul singer Solomon Burke dies aged 70

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US soul singer Solomon Burke, who wrote the classic song Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, has died at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport aged 70.

The former preacher turned singer had been due to perform at a well-known club in the city on Tuesday.

The self-proclaimed King of Rock & Soul was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and won a Grammy in 2003.

Burke leaves behind 21 children and 90 grandchildren.

Dutch national broadcaster NOS said he died on a plane early on Sunday after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles.

The cause of death has not yet been announced.

Dirty Dancing

Born in Philadelphia, he began his adult career as a preacher and hosted a gospel radio show.

In the 1960s, he signed with Ahmet Ertegun's Atlantic Records - home to Ray Charles. His first hit record was a cover version of the country song Just Out Of Reach.

In 1962, he had another hit with the single Cry To Me, famously used 25 years later in the film Dirty Dancing.

Two years later in 1964, Burke wrote and recorded arguably his most influential song Everybody Needs Somebody to Love. It went on to be covered by artists including The Rolling Stones and Wilson Pickett.

Image caption,
Burke performed at Glastonbury in 2008

It was also performed by Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.

Burke was inducted into the the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the same year as Michael Jackson, Aerosmith and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.

His career had something of a revival the following year with his record Don't Give Up On Me, where he sang songs written by artists including Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson and Van Morrison.

It was named best contemporary blues album at the 45th Grammy Awards in 2003.

Burke, dubbed by legendary Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler as "the best soul singer of all time", continued to perform and played Glastonbury's Jazz World stage in 2008.

Earlier this year, he performed in Gateshead, Exeter and London's Jazz Cafe, spending all of the gigs seated in his specially made throne.

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

Your comments

I worked security at two gigs for Solomon and I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to be paid to listen to this guy, superb voice and even the chair became part of the show. He interacted with the crowd and really drew them in. David Brown, from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

The one track I and many others would remember from the eighties is 'Rising To The Top'. It also became a massive reggae hit and can produce a busy dance floor within seconds of the first bars being played. R.I.P Solomon. Stanga Boi, from London, UK

I had the pleasure of seeing Solomon live in Newcastle around the time of his 'Don't Give Up On Me' album. He was an absolute star - asking the audience what they wanted to hear and handing a rose to every woman in the audience that night. A great soul star, may he rest in peace. Mal Adams, from North Shields, UK

Brilliant songs - one of those that you hum or sing all day. Larry Green, from Redcar, Cleveland, UK

Yet again one of the great voices of the past century has departed this world. The tragedy is that so few singing voices remain. Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandros, Barry White, Sam Cook and many more have gone and there is no one good enough to replace or follow them. Anthony, UK

Solomon Burke is certainly one of the greatest and most influential artists ever. He has left a great deal of legacy behind and songs such as 'If You Need Me', 'The Promise', 'Everybody Needs Someone', 'Out Of Reach' and many, many more will live on in the hearts of his adoring fans forever. May his soul rest in peace. Gladstone Virgo, London, UK

Your music was my education in soul music and I'm gutted to have missed the Jazz Cafe session in the summer. Martin, from Southampton, UK

We saw Solomon Burke and his band two years ago at Pohoda Festival in Trencin, Slovakia. He was amazing and had so much energy and his voice was soulful. He had two female assistants who mopped the perspiration from his brow - fantastic. Rest in peace. John Rice, from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, UK

I was due to go travel to Amsterdam on Tuesday for Solomon's concert with De Dijk, I will never forget meeting him in Belgium in 2007. He was an absolute gentleman and a great man. There will never be another singer like Solomon Burke! The King of Rock 'n' Soul. David Hall, from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, UK

I bought Solomon Burke's Greatest Hits LP after hearing 'Down In The Valley' on a jukebox in the early sixties. I've been a fan ever since. I saw him perform and got his autograph in Bexley in 1965. I recently caught him again - magnificent - at the New Orleans Jazzfest last year. A truly larger than life performer. Thanks, Solomon. Derek, from Southampton, UK

R.I.P Solomon, fantastic singer/songwriter! Mel King, St Helens, UK

What sad news. A great singer who transcended genres and trends. A magnificent voice, great manner and a master of soul. I came to appreciate him late into his career when I came across some of the most amazing and beautiful country soul imaginable. A great loss to music. Ian, from Essex, UK

Solomon Burke was one of the all time soul greats of my youth along with Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett. We enjoyed and learned. Thank you Solomon, may you rest in peace. I am sure you will still be making soul music in a better place. Ray Welsh, London, UK

Sad, sad news. RIP Solomon, your legend lives on in your music. Christine Moore, Northumberland, UK

I like to listen to Solomon's smooth and relaxing voice. So deep and full of feelings. Thanks Sol, I've been a fan of yours since that day back in the sixties when I was a squaddie in West Germany. A friend and I walked into a record shop in Amsterdam and picked up your Soul album. The track 'Just Out Of Reach' was on it, though a favourite country and western song, you gave it the old soul treatment, and it has been my favourite since. Really so sad now that in that very town, Amsterdam, you have chosen to leave us. Thanks again Solomon, and rest in peace. Matt Stone, London, UK

About a year ago I was at my daughter's house after going to a concert. We played Solomon Burke's music and I danced my heart out. It was so nice! I am 53, so it was quite an evening. We will keep on enjoying his great music! Henni Van Dijk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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