This Day in 2002: Solomon Burke Day in Philly
16 years ago today, the city of Philadelphia officially declared it to be Solomon Burke Day in the city.
2002 was a good year for Solomon Burke, who’d found considerable success in the 1950s and 1960s with singles like “Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms),” “Cry to Me,” “If You Need Me,” and “Got To Get You Off My Mind,” but hadn’t experienced much in the way of media attention in recent years. Upon the release of his album DON’T GIVE UP ON ME, which featured songs that had either been written for or given to him by folks like Van Morrison, Brian Wilson, Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and Tom Waits, Burke was once again the spotlight.
Jonathan Valania, a freelance music writer who interviewed Burke for the Philadelphia Weekly in conjunction with the album’s release, teamed with the paper to successfully talk Mayor John Street to declare Solomon Burke Day on July 19, 2002, with a proclamation at City Hall. "Ever since then,” Valania told Philly.com when Burke died in 2010, “I got a Christmas card from him every year.”
It’s no wonder: the last line of Valania’s interview with Burke shows just how excited he was to talk to him. “I feel like my time has come again,” said Burke. “I'm talking to a reporter in Philadelphia! My hometown! I can't remember the last time I talked to a reporter from Philadelphia.”
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