R&B singer Solomon Burke recorded his groundbreaking song “Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms),” today (December 13, 1960).
The song is significant to black music, because it was recorded and released almost a full year before Ray Charles released his groundbreaking 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume 1.
Solomon Burke’s song, as well as Ray Charles’s album, successfully married the genres of R&B and Country music together.
For a number of years, Solomon Burke a.k.a. “The Wonderboy Preacher” recorded a number of gospel and secular tunes for the Apollo label.
After Apollo, Solomon Burke went to mortuary school in the late 1950’s, before he returned to the music industry and signed with Atlantic.
Solomon Burke was signed by Jerry Wexler, as soon as he arrived at Atlantic’s New York office unannounced.
On December 13, 1960, Solomon Burke recorded “Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms),” which was written and recorded by Virgil “Pappy” Stewart.
The tune was a hit for Faron Young and Patsy Cline, but it was Burke’s version that found the most chart action.
Solomon Burke’s version of “Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms),” shot up the charts, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #7 on the R&B charts.
“The changes, the structure, the whole feel are just about identical and gospel and country music,” Atlantic President Jerry Wexler said of Solomon Burke’s version.
The song, which was Burke’s first million seller, was a prelude of things to come for the singer.
The hits kept rolling with songs like “Cry to Me,” “If You Need Me,” the classic “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” and his only #1 song, “Got to Get You Off of My Mind.”
Waxfact: Solomon Burke claims to have coined the term “Soul Music” in a 1996 interview with the Hartford Courant.