Blues News

Solomon Burke – Photo of The Week

Solomon Burke – Photo of The Week

Solomon Burke learns about music at an early age through his family’s church. Also, at an early age he becomes a preacher and by age 12, he even has his own gospel radio show. He’s definitely a motivated twelve-year-old! As a preacher, he would wear a crown and cape while preaching his sermons from a soapbox.

Shortly after when he’s a teenager, he starts recording gospel records before having his first R&B hit, “Just Out Of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)”, for Atlantic Records in 1961. Although the church has issues with him performing secular music instead of the gospel. Shortly, after he’s recording all styles of music which he calls music for the soul.


But really, he could cover a lot of different styles of music. Even country and blues! While his career is booming, so his is family life. Which includes being married four times and even fathering 21 children and 90 grandchildren. Not only is he a singer, he’s also the entrepreneur owning several restaurants, drug stores, while being an undertaker!

What starts these career moves besides child support? Well, touring in the south in the 1960s back in the day, many of the restaurants in the south refuse to serve blacks. So, he has a portable cooker to prepare food for himself and to sell to his fellow tour artists.  When it comes to performing live? 

Since he starts out a preacher, it’s no surprise that he would add some extra magic to his songs. By adding some gospel along with some rhythm and blues. Topping it with his emotional phrasing and melodic ballads. Making people hang onto his every word. Basically, taking people to church. Either way his sound was pretty smooth and welcoming, and it got him the moniker of being an important pioneer in the early developments of soul music. Plus, he had his own crown and sang from his throne on stage. 

His Accomplishments!

Over the years he releases 38 albums and 35 singles. Receives an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a performer. Along with his album “Don’t Give Up on Me” winning the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album. At the 45th Annual Grammy Awards in 2003. By 2005 Burke is credited with selling over 17 million albums. Sadly, he left this earth in 2010 at age 70.

As for the Picture, it’s a stock photo from his early days in music – Circa 1965.

Keeping the Blues Alive

To learn more or donate to Keeping The Blues Alive, visit our website at’

Credits: Alamy – AN7CKE

Share this post