Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images Mick Jagger will perform at this year's Grammy…
- Posted on Oct 10th 2010 9:38AM by Liz Colville
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Burke rose to fame at Atlantic Records, the same label as Ray Charles, in the 1960s, recording numerous hits in a ten-year span with the label, including his first, 'Just Out of Reach,' a country song. Two later hits were prominently featured in films decades after their release: 'Cry to Me,' in 1987's 'Dirty Dancing' starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, and 'Everybody Needs Somebody to Love,' in 1980's 'The Blues Brothers,' starring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
Though Burke didn't achieve the status of contemporaries like James Brown and Marvin Gaye, Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler deemed him "the best soul singer of all time," and the range of Burke's music -- combining elements of rock, R&B, pop and blues -- made him stand out.
Burke was born March 21, 1940 in a Philadelphia church to the sound of the church band, according to his website biography. Both the church and music would become a huge part of Burke's life. Alongside his singing career, which continued into this decade, Burke was also a preacher and a family man. In 2000, he performed for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
Burke's career had a renaissance in the early 2000s after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2001. He was then awarded a Grammy in 2002 for his album 'Don't Give Up On Me,' which won the Contemporary Blues Album category. The newfound publicity led to touring, which Burke and his band preferred to do without set lists, instead turning to the audience for requests, blending new songs with decades-old hits.
Burke is survived by 21 children, 90 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.
Watch Burke perform his hit 'Everybody Needs Somebody to Love' on the UK's 'Top of the Pops' in 2003 below.