Solomon Burke was an American preacher and singer who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960s. He has been called "a key transitional figure bridging R&B and soul. He had many hits including "Cry to Me", "If You Need Me", "Got to Get You Off My Mind", "Down in the Valley" and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love".
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—gospel, jazz, country, and blues—as well as developing his own style at a time when R&B, and rock were both still in their infancy.
During the 55 years that he performed professionally, Burke released 38 studio albums and had 35 singles that charted in the US, including 26 singles that made the Billboard R&B charts. In 2001, Burke was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a performer. By 2005 Burke was credited with selling 17 million albums. Rolling Stone ranked Burke as no. 89 on its 2008 list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".