It was 1966. The year was best known for the release of the historic Pet Sounds album, but it also saw the first Number One hit for Simon and Garfunkel, with “Sounds of Silence”; the Monkees, with “Last Train to Clarksville”; and Tommy James and the Shondells, with “Hanky Panky.”
In fact, more than one third of that year’s Number One hits were by artists who had never before charted. One of these, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” would go on to become the most remembered rhythm & blues record of that year. Percy Sledge’s powerful voice, coupled with his Sunday-go-to-meeting innocence, rang true to millions of listeners worldwide.