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Sledge replaces Seals at GPAC Feb. 2By Erica Vaught
Asst. Around The Town Editor
Percy Sledge performed before a full house Feb. 2 as part of Homecoming week at UNCP.
The 66-year-old singer and songwriter performed several of his classics including “Warm and Tender Love” and “Take Time to Know Her.”
Sledge sang “In the Midnight Hour” in honor of his late friend whom he “performed with many times,” Wilson Pickett.Dedications
Sledge also sang “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” in remembrance of a man he called “his idol,” Otis Redding.
Sledge also dedicated the song “Love Comes Knocking” from his album “Blue Night” to a little boy that he met at the Fayetteville Regional Airport before the concert.
“If Percy ain't grinnin', there's something wrong,” he told the audience.
Sledge ended the concert, down on his knees, with the famous song “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Towards the end of the song, Sledge said a prayer to thank Jesus for blessing him throughout his career.
“I grew up in the south,” Sledge said, “so I was around country music a lot, like Hank Williams, Sr. and Marty Robbins.” Sledge said that he was also inspired by the Temptations, the Drifters, and the Platters when he was a teenager.As for the music of today, Sledge said that even though he has met different people of different genres, he is “still the same ‘ole guy.” “I never change styles,” Sledge said. Sledge also noted that his fans were his strongest inspiration and that he is still having fun playing music.
This is actually Sledge’s second appearance at UNCP; he performed in GPAC in 2002. He said that he has noticed the area has grown, but the people and their smiles are still just as warm.
Most fans know Sledge for his hit “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which reached number one on the Billboard Music Charts in 1966.
“The reason it is a timeless classic,” Sledge said, “is because it is a true song from my heart.”
“It’s a family thing,” said Amanda, a 22-year-old who attended the event with her family. “My parents introduced me to his music.”
Phillips also saw him when she was 18 at Cagney's in Fayetteville. “I was sitting on the steps by the stage,” she said, “and Percy sat down beside me and we sang 'Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay.”