About Solomon Burke
Solomon Burke (March 21, 1940 – October 10, 2010) was an American singer-songwriter, entrepreneur, mortician, and an archbishop of the United House of Prayer For All People. Burke was known as "King Solomon," the "King of Rock 'n' Soul," and as the "Bishop of Soul," and described as "the Muhammad Ali of soul," and as "the most unfairly overlooked singer of soul's golden age." Burke was "the founding father of what was defined as soul music in America in the 1960s," and "a major architect of 1960s soul, infusing post-World War II R&B with [his] gospel roots." and "a key transitional figure bridging R&B and soul," Burke's "sound was a bold merger of orchestrated sophistication and countryish, down-home grit, and his best singles built a Gothic sense of drama and heartbreak. These tracks bridged the gap between the more mannered mainstream rhythm and blues of the Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller songwriting team of the 1950s, as exemplified by the Coasters and Drifters, and the gruffer Southern styles of the later '60s, as heard on the Stax Records sides of Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. At one time considered by Jerry Wexler to be "the greatest male soul singer of all time," Burke was "a singer whose smooth, powerful articulation and mingling of sacred and profane themes helped define soul music in the early 1960s." Burke drew from his roots: gospel, soul, and blues, as well as developing his own style at a time when R&B, and rock were both still in their infancy. Artistically, Burke was influenced by the music of the church, as well as by Little Richard. Described as both "Rabelaisian" and also as a "spiritual enigma," "Perhaps more than any other artist, the ample figure of Solomon Burke symbolized the ways that spirituality and commerce, ecstasy and entertainment, sex and salvation, individualism and brotherhood, could blend in the world of 1960s soul music."