Solomon Burke was an American R&B and soul singer whose career lasted from 1955 to 2010. He revolutionized the R&B sound and was one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960s. According to All Music, he changed R&B by bringing country elements into it through emotional phrasing and melodic ballads.
Before he focused on R&B and soul, he was a gospel singer. That was because he was also a preacher. On top of that, he had his gospel show. Most of his songs from the 1950s were mainly gospel songs. However, he went into a more secular direction after signing up with Atlantic in the 1960s.
Whether gospel or secular, you cannot deny that Solomon was a talented singer. In memory of him, it is only fair to mention his best songs. Here are the ten best Solomon Burke songs of all time.
10. Tonight’s the Night (1965)
There is nothing as beautiful as a couple about to make love. However, the song points out that there are certain things that may disrupt the lovemaking process. In the song, a man urges her not to have friends around, cut off the stereo and lock the doors.
Solomon manages to describe sex without sounding too filthy. He asks the woman to hold and squeeze him. His request has a double meaning since it could refer to a hug. Its double meaning thus makes it less filthy.
9. Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (1964)
In the introduction, Solomon demonstrates his preaching abilities before he starts singing. He dedicates the song to people who desire love. If you do not have someone to love you, you will feel worthless or lonely.
The artist manages to convey the feelings that come when you lack love. Due to the song’s relatable message, it is no wonder it did well in the music charts. According to Rate Your Music, the song reached number 58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.
8. Just Out of Reach (1961)
This song cleverly uses metaphors to illustrate why a certain person cannot find the love they seek. He mentions dreams holding him back. Dreams can mean many things depending on the listener. They could be career aspirations that get in the way of love.
Or, they could be as a result of psychosis. According to Bright Quest, people with psychosis have trouble falling in love due to their inability to express their emotions. Next, he talks about chains that won’t set him free. Though not mentioned, we surmise that the chains could refer to addictions that hinder him from finding love.
7. None of Us Are Free (2002)
This song encapsulates the importance of being each other’s keepers. In the chorus, he mentions that people cannot be free if one of them is chained. Technically, the unchained people could leave behind the chained person.
However, such a move would even destroy relationships. The chained person would never forgive them. Nevertheless, we should help each other out of empathy and not guilt.
6. Goodbye Baby (1964)
Solomon conveys his sadness by opening the song by screaming, “Goodbye, baby.” Before you listen to the rest of the song, you already feel bad for him.
That demonstrates how good of an actor he is. In this song, Solomon’s characters bids goodbye to a woman. Before he leaves, he asks to touch her one more time. Perhaps, he is asking for breakup sex.
5. Cry to Me (1962)
In this song, a woman is all alone after her boyfriend breaks up with her. As if the pain of the breakup is not enough, she receives infrequent phone calls. Fortunately, Solomon’s character comes to comfort her. Before he comforts her, it is implied she is self-medicating with wine. However, she was still experiencing loneliness. The man urges her to walk with him so that she does not overindulge.
4. Someone is Watching (1965)
The song begins disappointingly when a man tells a woman that he may not grow to love her. Hearing such words, you would feel intense loneliness if you were the woman. However, he reassures her that someone is always watching over her, even if he himself does not watch over her. It is not clear what the singer means when he tells her that someone is watching over her.
Could the person watching her be God? Or is he referring to a literal person watching over her? Either way, you will feel less lonely if you realize someone out there cares for you.
3. If You Need Me (1963)
Here is a song about a man who urges a woman to call him when she needs him. Too often, people seek help when they are in more serious trouble. Their problem would have been tackled had they called earlier.
That is why the man urges the woman not to call when it is too late. The man reassures her that he will come home promptly after she calls. That means he will not let other things deter him from returning home in time.
2. Fast Train (2002)
Solomon illustrates the concept of love with a fast train. For instance, he talks about a fast train that goes off the rails. Once that happens, it becomes difficult to put the train back.
In this case, he refers to how hard it is to reconcile after a breakup. Also, he likens the train’s movement to people moving on after a breakup. A fast train implies how first the person has moved on.
1. The Price (1964)
Sometimes the people we love can cost our other relationships. In this song, a man laments to a woman about how his love for her caused her to lose his parents and siblings. To make matters worse, his friends mock his predicament because they had warned him earlier about her.
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