Wendy Jane’s Weekend Sounds On A Monday Because (There’s No Such Thing As) Writer’s Block

20 Apr

Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge

Two major artists passed away recently: soul singer, Percy Sledge and 80’s r & b singer, Johnny Kemp.

Percy Sledge, who was born in 1940 in Leighton, Alabama, was a hospital orderly when he started singing at local clubs and frat parties at universities.  His epic love ballad, When A Man Loves A Woman, was a tune Sledge said he hummed to himself for years–he said even when he was younger and working the cotton fields–before penning the lyrics during his early singing days.  The song is said to be about his girlfriend at the time leaving him for a modeling career after Sledge was laid off from a construction job.

It was at a frat party performance that he was casually offered the opportunity to record his love ballad at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama in 1966.  The song was of course a huge hit, and Sledge continued to have a career with follow-up hits like Warm and Tender Love and Tear Me Up, and to tour extensively in Europe and South Africa up until his death last week.

Listen to When A Man Loves A Woman and try not to feel anything.  You can’t, right?


Jonny-KempI was shocked to hear of Johnny Kemp’s untimely death several days ago in Jamaica.  Kemp, who is originally from the Bahamas, moved to the States in 1979 with his band, Kinky Fox.  His breakout hit, and definitely his most memorable, was Just Got Paid, which hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Chart in 1988.

Just Got Paid came out during my New York City clubbing days, and it was the feel-good dance anthem of the day.  When I revisited the song’s video this past weekend, I realized I loved it then and still do because it totally captures the essence of late-eighties NYC energy, and no matter where you lived, you saw yourself as part of that energy–that feeling of “yeah, I just got paid, it’s Friday, it’s the weekend, and I’m putting on my coolest, sexiest, clubwear–my biggest, dangliest earrings, highest heels that I can still dance in, my black spandex skirt–and grabbing my wallet, and heading out the door to dance, dance, dance.

It is sad that Kemp, 55 this year, mysteriously passed away en route to perform on a cruise ship in Jamaica with Teddy Riley who produced the famous hit.  But, Kemp’s classic hit, and his energetic performance won’t be forgotten.








Photo credit, Percy Sledge: www.artspecialday.com

Photo credit, Johnny Kemp:  www.timorworld.com

2 Responses to “Wendy Jane’s Weekend Sounds On A Monday Because (There’s No Such Thing As) Writer’s Block”

  1. Sherry Gordon April 20, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    Dear Wendy Jane,

    Hi, there, my dearly special and precious white friend and sister!!!!!! Wow, sister, wow, wow, wow, and wow-what great and uplifting music and singing you have so, so very graciously and generously provided for all of us to add greatly to our Monday, sisterfriend!!!!!! I so enjoyed this great music and singing by both of these men!!!!!!! I did not know the great info which you provided about Percy Sledge. I knew of his classic song but I did not know much about him as a person, sister. Thank-you so for providing this info about him-it proved to be very interesting and gave to me a better idea of who he was as a person and how diligently he had to overcome obstacles in order to gain his success. The only thing, though, Wendy Jane, as I sing along to his song, I would substitute the words to be “When a woman loves a woman,.” (SMILE!!!!!!) I just have a good sense of humor, sister!!!!!!! It really is a very moving and heart touching and moving song, Wendy Jane, even to this 100% fully and completely lesbian black woman who I am For Always, Wendy Jane (SMILE!!!!!!) Sisterfriend, I have always also loved the song by Johnny Kemp!!!!!! I, too, was very surprised when I heard this weekend that he had died at such a young age-how sad and heartbreaking, Wendy Jane!!!!! I loved seeing those chic 1980s hairstyles and clothing-I remember when I had the jheri curl from 1981 to 1989, Wendy Jane!!!!!! My precious white friend and sister, you have brought such joy and blessings to me as I know that you have also brought to your very many other gratefully appreciative readers, Wendy Jane!!!!! I just so love cool music and great singing, and I really enjoyed this grand blast from the past, sister!!!!!! It was fun to see stuff from the 1980s, Wendy Jane!!!!!! Thank-you so, my white sisterfriend!!!!!! I just loved this-greatly added to my Monday being magnificently marvelous, sister!!!!!!

    Wendy Jane, I am also going to read through your archives more and joyfully respond to them, sisterfriend!!!!!! My friend, you are such a spectacularly gifted and brilliant writer so full of the Spirit, and what a great thrill it is for me as it is as well for your many other gratefully appreciative readers!!!!!! And you are such an eternal blessing to me as being my wondrously wonderful friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much, Wendy Jane!!!!!! Thank-you so For Always, my dearest white sisterfriend!!!!!! Wendy Jane, please have a marvelous and magnificent Monday, and a wondrously wonderful week to you and to you, sister!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my dearly special white sisterfriend, Wendy Jane, with Peace and Love To You For Always with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my precious white sister,

    Your lesbian black friend and sister For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

    • Wendy Jane April 20, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

      Hey Sherry,

      I do like your sense of humor, and am picturing you singing, “When A Woman Loves A Woman…”:) I so remember the jheri curl and am glad you rocked that style back then. I wrote a piece about the time I worked for a black-owned beauty salon at the height of the jheri-curl popularity.

      Thanks so much for commenting and for sharing the post on fb!

      your sisterfriend-in-crime,
      Wendy Jane

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