Memories Of Solomon Burke
By Art Tipaldi
In 2010, I was fortunate to see the King perform in July and August at two European festivals. When Burke took the stage, holding five-dozen red roses for the women and children, perched in his king’s throne, and fronting his enormous band, he took audiences back to the nostalgic days of soul music revues.
Nothing was more magical then Burke leading the audience in a sing-a-long on “Stand By Me” and his upbeat finale, “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.” Spanish or Norwegian, thousands knew the words. His between song banter was a message of love and peace. And who else in music invites dozens of fans to the stage to dance and sing. On a personal note, I found how large Burke’s heart was. When he and I talked in 2003 and I told him that I was teaching a class about the blues, he immediately put 30 t-shirts in the mail for those students.
Twice he held my hand in prayer. Once was over the terminal cancer that was ravaging a friend. When my wife and I left home to attend the festival, our dear friend was in such poor health, we thought we’d never see her alive again. On her refrigerator, amid all the pictures of family and friends, she had a photo I took of she and Solomon. When I told Solomon of this, he remarked of the healing power of that picture. Then, in the lobby of the festival hotel, Solomon took the hands of my wife and I in his and offered up a healing prayer. We returned to find that somehow, her illness had taken a turn for the better. Whether it worked or not, my friend improved lived on another 18 months. I am a believer in the extraordinary power of this beautiful man.
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