Solomon Burke performing on April 19, 2008
|Birth name||James Solomon McDonald|
|Also known as||Solomon Vincent McDonald Burke|
March 21, 1940
|Died||October 10, 2010
Solomon Burke (born James Solomon McDonald, March 21, 1940 – October 10, 2010) was an American preacher and singer who shaped the sound of
He had a string of hits including "
Burke's most famous recordings, which spanned five years in the early 1960s, bridged the gap between mainstream R&B and grittier R&B.
 Burke was "a singer whose smooth, powerful articulation and mingling of sacred and profane themes helped define soul music in the early 1960s."
 He drew from his roots—
During the 55 years that he performed professionally, Burke released 38
Burke was born James Solomon McDonald
 on March 21, 1940, in the upper floor of his grandmother Eleanor Moore's home,
Burke credited his grandmother as his main spiritual and musical influence.
 He learned how to sing all forms of music from his grandmother's coaching him to listen to music on the radio.
 Burke began preaching at the age of 7 at the Solomon's Temple.
 He was described in his young preaching years as a "frantic sermonizer" and "spellbinding in his delivery";
 and was soon nicknamed the "Boy Wonder Preacher" for his
Burke had six younger siblings – a sister, Laurena Burke-Corbin (born 23 June 1946),
 and five brothers: Elec Edward "Alec" (born 16 February 1948),
 Vladimir H. "Laddie" (born 31 July 1949),
 Mario "Chuck" (born 13 September 1953),
 Daniel S. "Danny" (born 10 March 1955),
 and Jolester R. M. Burke (born 24 September 1958).
 From an early age Solomon Burke worked to supplement his family's income. He recalled: "I used to deliver grocery orders in a little wagon I made out of fish boxes. When I was seven, I sold newspapers out of my own newsstand on the corner of 40th and Lancaster. I had the first 99-cent car wash, which was located at 40th and Wallace outside Al's Barber Shop. We had it there because he was the only one who would let us use his water. We could wash your car in 20 minutes. I had four or five guys, gave 'em each a nickel for each car."
 Another briefly held early job was as a
During high school, Burke formed and fronted the quartet, the Gospel Cavaliers.
 He received his first
Burke entered the contest, held at Cornerstone Baptist Church, as a solo artist and won the contest against eleven other competitors.
 Soon, several labels including