Percy Sledge - When A Man Loves A Woman

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"When a Man Loves a Woman"
Single by Percy Sledge
from the album When a Man Loves a Woman (picture sleeve not for sale)
B-side Love Me Like You Mean It
Released April 16, 1966
Format 7" vinyl 45 RPM
Recorded February 17, 1966, Norala Studios, Sheffield, Alabama
Genre R&B, soul, blues, traditional pop
Length 2:51
Label Atlantic
Writers Calvin Lewis, Andrew Wright
Producers Marlin Greene, Quin Ivy
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Percy Sledge singles chronology
"Warm And Tender Love"
"When a Man Loves a Woman"
"Baby, Help Me"


  "When a Man Loves a Woman" is a song written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright which was recorded by Percy Sledge in 1966 at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield Alabama. It made number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts, and was listed 53rd in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.



The precise authorship of the song has been disputed. Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright were members of the Esquires, a band in Sheffield, Alabama fronted by singer Percy Sledge. According to 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.” The next night, they rehearsed the emerging song with Sledge, changed it around, and soon afterwards auditioned the song for local businessman and radio DJ Quin Ivy. He liked the song, but suggested that some of the words be changed to give a more positive message. Wright said that "we kept some of the phrases, worked on it for several weeks, and spent quite a bit of time in the studio.”

Although the writing of the song is credited to Lewis and Wright, Sledge later claimed that he should have received a co-writing credit. In one story, Sledge said that one night he was upset over a broken relationship, and asked Lewis and Wright to play a slow blues over which he improvised lyrics describing his emotions; Quin Ivy was at the show and asked the band to refine the lyrics so that it could be recorded. Sledge claimed that he allowed Lewis and Wright to take the writing credits because they gave him the opportunity "to sing his heart out".

In another interview, Sledge said:

"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."

Percy Sledge recording

The song was initially recorded by Percy Sledge at Rick Hall's FAME Studios at Muscle Shoals, before being re-recorded at the nearby Norala Studios owned by Quin Ivy. The sidemen for the recording included Spooner Oldham, Farfisa organ; Marlin Greene, guitar; Albert "Junior" Lowe, double bass and Roger Hawkins, drums. Wright and Lewis did not play on the record. Rick Hall arranged a distribution deal with Atlantic Records, but Jerry Wexler asked that the song be re-recorded because the horns were out of tune. According to musician David Hood, "They went back in the studio and changed the horns, got different horn players to play on it. But then the tapes got mixed up and Atlantic put out their original version. So that's the hit."

Released by Atlantic Records in April 1966, Sledge's recording reached number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts, becoming the first #1 hit recorded in Muscle Shoals. It is also one of seven #1 hits to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at #100. It was also a top ten hit in the UK peaking at number four on its initial release and peaking at number two in 1987 after it was featured in a Levi's Jeans commercial.




Percy Sledge - When A Man Loves A Woman / Love Me Like You Mean It

U.K. Atlantic 584001 (1966).

The vinyl record attains a strong excellent grading, suggesting few plays

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean and unmarked.

The record centre displays no signs of spindle wear.

The record comes with an original company paper sleeve.

There is no picture sleeve with the record.

Browse these categories as well: Soul/R&B & Motown Singles, 1960's 7" Singles