This Day in Rock History – Solomon Burke

September 4th, 1961

Solomon Burke’s second single for Atlantic Records, the country-flavored “Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms),” becomes his first to make the charts. It reaches #7 on the R&B chart and #24 on the pop chart.

Concert promoters in Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama, who were unaware that Burke was an African-American, accidentally booked him to sing at Ku Klux Klan picnics and rallies, with up to 30,000 hooded Klansmen in attendance. In a 2002 interview Burke recalled: “Way down in the South somewhere, I showed up and the promoter said to me, “Is Solomon Burke here yet?” I said, “Yeah, I’m right here.” His eyes grow wide and he walks away. The guy comes back with the sheriff and he says, “Boy, don’t play games. Show me some I.D.” So he looks at it and pulls the promoter aside and says, “You got a problem. You can’t let him go out there.” So they called the doctor and had him cover my face in bandages and made it look like I had an accident. That’s how I performed that night.” (Wikipedia)

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Ben

Exiled New Englander now living in Canada. I dream in Spanish but can’t speak it. I wish I’d grown up as an old black man playin’ the blues just like my father.

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