The King of Rock ‘N’ Soul is gone.
Solomon Burke—who penned such classic tunes as Cry to Me and Everybody Needs Somebody to Love—died of natural causes earlier today at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport after a flight from his hometown of Los Angeles. He was 70 years old.
The legendary soul singer had been due to perform with Dutch rock band De Dijk this Tuesday.
Just six months ago, Solomon dropped by BlogTalkRadio to chat about his then-just-released album, Nothing’s Impossible, which was masterminded by Memphis producer Willie Mitchell—the man behind all of Al Green‘s hits during the ‘70s.
Just 10 days after Solomon and Willie completed Nothing’s Impossible, Willie passed away at age 81.
Interviewed May 4 of this year on Icon Fetch, Solomon chatted for 20 minutes about his storied career and the making of his final album.
“We had a relationship over the phone and through conversations of other people for, like, 30 years-without meeting each other,” Solomon told host Tony Peters of Willie.
“I had been in Memphis several times and missed him. He was out of town, or I got there too late to call him—those kinda things. And a year and a half ago, I played a casino in Philadelphia, Miss.
“And I took my kids on this ride by car to give them the great lesson of riding through the South. And the last time I performed in Philadelphia, Miss., was 1961. So of course they heard this great history lesson all the way there.
“When we got there we performed, and on the way out, I’m sayin’ to them, ‘Listen, Memphis is less than 100 miles away. We’re on our way back to California, and I want to stop by Memphis and see this guy—I’ve never met him—and he promised me he was gonna come down and see me in Mississippi. But he didn’t. So let’s go by and see him, because I owe him.’
“To make a long story short, I got there and we hooked up so cool—like lost brothers. And before the day was over—eatin’ pizza, chicken, bar-b-que; orderin’ all the ‘non-fat’ food—he says, ‘You ain’t leavin’ this place ‘til you record something here! Cause I don’t know when I’m gonna see you again.’
“I said, ‘There’s no band.’ And he said, ‘Man, I can get a band in 30 minutes!’
So he got on the phone and within an hour, nine musicians show up like fireman.”
Solomon, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, also recalled why Nothing’s Impossible had special meaning for him.
“This album was a great dream for me, in my lifetime, that will never happen again. Because 10 days after the recording Willie died. It was like boom, boom boom boom.
“And he wasn’t sick. He was just so strong. He was fighting something, but nobody knew about it. And so determined. His determination was so powerful.
After we recorded those first three songs on the album, I was on my way back to L.A. and I’m getting calls on my mobile phone, ‘Man, you gotta get back here! I’m writin’ songs left and right. I haven’t worked for 10 years!’
“I got back to L.A., I said, ‘I can’t just get back on a plane.’ My brother said, ‘Fly back!’ My son said, ‘Let’s do this.’
“We went back to Memphis, recorded the rest of this record. It took us eight days.”
Click here to hear Solomon Burke’s full interview.