My father told me Solomon Burke stories when I was a kid. He was Solomon's agent in the '60s when he was at the William Morris Agency. Years later, I met Solomon as an adult. I was an A&R exec at Shout! Factory and I had the honor of overseeing three albums -- Make Do With What You Got, Nashville, and Like a Fire.
Solomon quickly became very much a father to me (as if he needed more children; he had 21 of his own). And like a good father, he was there at nearly every crossroads of my life. Solomon was there to mourn the suicide of my mother. Solomon was there at the hospital when my three-year-old daughter (his "princess," he called her) had open-heart surgery. And Solomon was there in Nashville when my marriage was on the verge of falling apart. Without telling me, he flew my wife to Nashville, put her in the front row of his show, then brought me onstage to perform with him. In that one night, he saved my marriage.
Solomon gave me unconditional love before I even knew the meaning of the words. He had a huge body which finally couldn't stand him up as his plane landed this morning in Amsterdam. But his voice was bigger and his heart overshadowed them both.
I love you, dear Solomon. Thank you for that big heart. I don't know who's gonna protect my ass with you gone.