♫ When A Man Loves A Woman ♫

cute-beeTonight I must admit I struggled with a song to play here.  Given my current mood, I was about to opt for “Make The World Go Away”, but … somehow that didn’t seem quite right.  I apologize that tonight’s is yet another redux from 2019, but hopefully it will bring a smile to your face anyway, for there’s nothing quite like the voice of Percy Sledge to warm the heart.  (I’ve got no idea why the cute cartoon bee is here, but he was on the one I played in 2019 and he’s cute, so he gets to stay!

There are a couple of interesting things in the backstory to this song.  First, this song is a huge part of music history, as it is the first #1 Hot 100 hit recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones and many other famous musicians would later record some of their classic songs.

Second, is the dispute over who actually wrote the song.  Percy Sledge claims that he actually wrote the song one night when he was so upset over a woman that, while performing with The Esquires Combo, he was overcome with emotion and asked the band to play a slow blues backing – any key, their choice – to which he could sing.  The band started to play and Sledge vented in song for about six minutes.

In Sledge’s story, Quin Ivy was at the show and approached the band about polishing the song and recording it. Sledge says he worked on the lyrics with Lewis and Wright, and recorded it at Norala Sound with Ivy producing …

“When I wrote the song at first, it was called ‘Why Did You Leave Me Baby.’ And I changed it from that to ‘When a Man Loves a Woman.’ I just reversed it. Quin told me that if I was to write some lyrics around that melody and the expression I’d put into ‘Why Did You Leave Me Baby,’ he believed it would’ve been a hit record. He was one of the top disc jockeys at that time. Sure enough, he asked me if I had any lyrics for that. He said, “That’s it! Write a story around that title! What a song that would be with that feeling you had!” It was a song that was meant to be. It wasn’t just what I had done; it was the musicians, the producer, the background singers, the right time.”

But, according to Andrew Wright …

“We were set to play a Friday night dance, and we were practicing … I was messing around on the organ when this riff came up out of nowhere. There was no one in the club but us. I told Calvin to go home and write some words.”

According to SongFacts …

In Sledge’s version of the story, he co-wrote the song with his bandmates Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, but let them have sole composer credits, since they gave him the opportunity to sing his heart out. Whether Sledge was acting out of the goodness of his heart or had nothing to do with writing the song is a matter of debate, but the writing credit had huge implications, resulting in a windfall for Lewis and Wright, who get the royalties every time it is played. Since the song went on to be covered by many artists, they get paid for those as well. If it was a goodwill gesture by Sledge, it cost him millions of dollars.

Who knows?  Percy Sledge died in April 2015, at the age of 73, so we will likely never know quite how this song came to be.  It was later recorded by Michael Bolton, among others, but I remain partial to the Percy Sledge version.

When a Man Loves a Woman
Percy Sledge

When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world
For the good thing he’s found
If she’s bad he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down

When a man loves a woman
Spend his very last dime
Trying to hold on to what he needs
He’d give up all his comfort
Sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way it ought to be

Well, this man loves a woman
I gave you everything I had
Trying to hold on to your precious love
Baby, please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a woman
Down deep in his soul
She can bring him such misery
If she plays him for a fool
He’s the last one to know
Loving eyes can’t ever see

When a man loves a woman
He can do no wrong
He can never own some other girl
Yes when a man loves a woman
I know exactly how he feels
‘Cause baby, baby, baby, you’re my world

When a man loves a woman

Songwriters: Andrew James Wright / Calvin Houston Lewis
When a Man Loves a Woman lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

26 thoughts on “♫ When A Man Loves A Woman ♫

  1. Hi Jill, just to say, I lay awake last night and started thinking about hearing Percy Sledge rehearsing When a Man Loves a Woman in Swaziland back in the 80s – and woke up this morning to find you’d posted this! Spooky! Hope you are surviving and keeping well XXX Mary

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    • It’s my old friend Mary!!!! Long time, no see! How have you been??? That is one of those odd things that happens from time to time … perhaps your vibe traveled ‘cross the pond to me! I have so missed you. I’m surviving and keeping relatively well. And you … and the prof??? Love ‘n hugs, dear Mary!


      • Hugs galore back at you Jill! We still haven’t shared that bottle of red – one day! I do keep an eye on what you’re up to but have been trying to be ruthless about writing and trying to get stuff published (succeeding now and again, perhaps not ruthless enough!) – and of course the prof’s still working from home which brings both delights and challenges. I also find the political situation here just so depressing I can barely bear to listen to news of the latest corruption exposed and ignored, codes broken, resignations not happening, money wasted on political cronies – and to watch what’s happening your side of that pond as well is enough to drive a person off a cliff. But so glad to see you still firing on all cylinders and keeping watch on the world. Sending a top up of love an hugs till the next time I check in! Mxxx

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        • My dear sweet Mary! No, we still have that promise to keep, and I’ve a feeling it won’t be a single bottle nor a single night, but we will buy a case and spend a week of nights catching up!!! I do so love you, my friend! You must let me know what you’ve been up to re publishing! How the Prof can work from home when his life is about digging up things, I’m not sure, but I hope you two have enjoyed each others’ company during this year of pandemic.

          Yes, my friend, the political situation there is not good either, though at least be thankful you don’t have Republicans! And Trump, who despite losing ‘bigly’ last year, seems to be the dominating force behind the Republican Party.

          Yes, Dear Mary, I am still managing … somehow … to fire on all cylinders. Some days it comes naturally, other days I wish I could say ‘goodbye’ to this world. But, I keep on keeping on because somebody has to fight the good fight, yes? Lots of love sent from ‘cross the pond, my wonderful friend! I think of you often. Much love and many hugs … J.


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      • Wow! Seems you’d got the full program, nature has to offer, Jill. 😉 Is it really time for thunderstorms? I am sorry for this, and hope we some days will not get em, too. One can see the climate change, with this horrible difference of temperatures just in April and May. Have a beautiful Friday! Michael

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        • Definitely! I love thunderstorms, but unfortunately the cats do not love them! With the first clap of thunder, Oliver came flying downstairs and scrambled to get under the sofa, but since he is rather large, he had to squirm a bit to get under there! I laughed at him, which I don’t think he appreciated very much! Yes, the evidence of climate change is all around us, but some people are wearing blinders and refusing to see what is in front of their face. Happy Weekend, Michael! xx

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          • Yes, cats are not really amused about thunders, too. Our cat always had looked at all of us, as we would be guilty for the thunder and the flashes. Lol Lets hope most of us will wake up, before we only can out without wearing diving masks. ;-/ Thank you, Jill! Have a beautiful weekend as well! Michael xx

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            • Exactly! Ours give us an evil eye, as if we were somehow to blame, before they scurry under the furniture! After all the rain we’ve had this week, today we had a beautiful sunny day, but guess what? A water pipe burst up the street and we have been without water in the house all day long! It is now 2:00 a.m. and they just got it fixed about 15 minutes ago! I’m glad they worked overnight, else we would have backed up toilets, a sink full of dirty dishes, and … worst of all … no showers!!! xx


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