Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Originally published April 15, 2015

I cried a little when I read that the great Percy Sledge had passed away.  He was 73 and died peacefully at his home in East Baton Rogue Parish, Louisiana.

Back in the late 1960’s I was working as a Top 40 rock jock, my first job in the biz. I loved new 45s from Atlantic Records.  Atlantic discs felt  “heavier” than releases on other labels. They had an aura of loving warmth. Percy Sledge’s When A Man Loves A Woman was an Atlantic release. The song is part of one of my most vivid radio experiences.  I invite you to listen to it while I tell my story:

My story:

I had just started my first radio job as a KISD Good Guy in Sioux Falls.  KISD’s air studio was in a large glass display window on a busy street. We called it The Window on Main Street.

Me in The Window on Main Street

People would walk and drive by the showcase window all day and night. Folks liked to see the DJ live on the air.  I felt sort of like a monkey in a zoo.

The Window on Main Street was located in a seedy neighborhood close to several notorious strip clubs. 

I worked the graveyard shift, so sometimes the people watching got interesting after the bars closed at 2:00am. Sometimes drunk bar patrons would pee on the window.

That night I decided to play When A Man Loves A Woman. As usual, I walked the ramp, a DJ term for introducing a song by talking over the instrumental intro. Then I got up for the air chair and walked by the The Window on Main Street.

A beautiful young Native American woman appeared on the other side of the glass, just inches from me. I think she was a dancer at one of the bars.

There was a speaker playing outside the window and she was singing along with Percy while looking through the glass at me. I went with my vibe and started singing along with Percy too. She and I were both mouthing the words and sorta dancing with each other.  We both sang passionately. She and I both craved every word that Percy sang. We lived the song together. For a brief moment we had lonely connection. We were both crying as we sang together.

The song began to fade and I leaped back behind the control board. I hit a station jingle, and played the next record – Pushin’ To Hard by The Seeds. When I looked up, she was gone. But still think of her whenever I hear When A Man Loves A Woman. Thank you, Percy.

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