photo caption: The Soul Connection of Taylor Hicks and Percy Sledge was obvious when they connected again at the The Alabama Music Hall of Fame 2008 Induction Banquet and Awards Show.
"One of the highlights of my career before Idol was the night I had the honor of opening up for the amazing Percy Sledge in Tuccaloosa, Alabama.
After Percy sang his soul classics, including "When A Man Loves A Woman" and "Dark End Of The Street", you could put a fork in me, because I was pretty much done.
That night as I stood backstage I remember being struck that I was in the presence of a man who'd been singing some of the same songs for more than thirty years.
Yet somehow he still sang them like he meant every word.
Percy Sledge could do that because he did mean those songs.
He understood that singing your heart out is not about what you get paid or how many people are watching you.
Singing is about passing something on and connecting with whoever is out there in the dark watching".
Percy Sledge will forever be associated with "When a Man Loves a Woman," a pleading, soulful ballad he sang with wrenching, convincing anguish and passion.
Sledge sang all of his songs that way, delivering them in a powerful rush where he quickly changed from soulful belting to quavering, tearful pleas.
It was a voice that made him one of the key figures of deep Southern soul during the late '60s.
Not only did he sing deep soul, but Sledge was among the pioneers of country-soul, singing songs by Charlie Rich and Kris Kristofferson in a gritty, passionate style.
Percy Sledge know as the The Golden Voice of Soul was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1997.
At the 2008 Awards Induction the stars didn't just fall on Alabama ... they thundered in.
From the 'live' jukebox of classic and contemporary songs performed by some of the state’s most decorated musicians, to the pre-and post-party gatherings that rivaled some of Hollywood’s best, the 2008 Alabama Music Hall of Fame was a showstopper.
photo caption: Taylor Hicks performs his self-penned "Soul Thing"
photo caption: Taylor Hicks and Percy Sledge share a smile as they pose for photos on the red carpet.
photo caption: This brick sided nightclub houses the Rhythm and Blues section of it's Hall of Fame Inductees.
Alabama musicians, producers and other achievers are commemorated with memorabilia in the hall of fame's museum in Tuscumbia.
Hicks said he donated his 'infamous purple jacket', which drew applause and criticism from 'Idol' viewers, for his display case at the museum.
Hicks said the last time he wore the purple jacket, he was headlining the "Idol" tour at the BJCC Arena in August 2006.
"I wore it in Birmingham and retired it," he said, laughing.
The Taylor Hicks' display will be unveiled May 10, 2008 between 10 and 10:30 am.
"Rhythm is my Heart,
Groove is my Soul,
GOD is my DJ,
And this is the Soundtrack of my Life."