Amsterdam Solomon Burke, the larger-than-life “King of Rock and Soul” who was revered as one of music’s greatest vocalists but never reached the level of fame of those he influenced, died early Sunday at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. He was 70.
Born to the sound of music in an upstairs room of a Philadelphia church, Burke was acknowledged as one of the greatest soul singers of the 1960s, but his popularity never matched that of contemporaries like James Brown or Marvin Gaye.
Two of Burke’s best-known songs reached a wider audience when they were featured in hit movies.
He wrote “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” in 1964, and it was later featured in the Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi movie “The Blues Brothers.” The Rolling Stones and Wilson Pickett also recorded it.
A bare-chested Patrick Swayze danced seductively with Jennifer Grey to Burke’s “Cry To Me” in one of the most memorable scenes from the movie “Dirty Dancing.”
Legendary Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler once called Burke “the best soul singer of all time.”