Meaning of “When a Man Loves a Woman”

“When a Man Loves a Woman” is a song whose lyrics basically talk about the unthinkable or rather crazy things a man is capable of doing when he finds himself head over heels in love with a woman. This song, which is widely regarded as one of the most famous songs ever written, was first released by the late American singer Percy Sledge in 1966. According to Sledge, who never received any writing credit for the song, the song was inspired by the sadness he felt after his girlfriend left him in 1965 to pursue a modeling career because he was jobless.

Lyrics of "When a Man Loves a Woman"

Facts about “When a Man Loves a Woman”

  • “When a Man Loves a Woman”, which was first released in March 1966 by Sledge, was produced by Quin Ivy and Marlin Greene.
  • Since the song was first released in 1966, there’s been a lot of dispute surrounding the exact persons who wrote it. During his lifetime, Sledge had said in a number of interviews that he contributed to the writing of the song and should have therefore been acknowledged as one of its writers. However, Andrew Wright and Calvin Lewis are currently considered the sole writers of the song. Both Wright and Lewis were members of a band led by Sledge named the Esquires.
  • Sledge once claimed in an interview that when he first wrote the song, he gave it the title “Why Did You Leave Me Baby” before later changed it to “When a Man Loves a Woman”.
  • Although the song has been covered by several musicians, none of them has been as powerful and popular as Sledge’s version, which by the way is considered one of the greatest songs ever written. As of 2018, the song is placed at the number 53 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone’s magazine.
  • Sledge’s original version of the song reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
  • In 1991, American singer Michael Bolton covered “When a Man Loves a Woman”, and just like Sledge’s version, it also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
  • The song inspired the title of the 1994 romantic drama film “When a Man Loves a Woman” starring the likes of Meg Ryan, Andy Garcia and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Did “When a Man Loves a Woman” win a Grammy?

The original version recorded by Sledge in 1966 didn’t. However, Bolton’s 1991 version won a Grammy for the Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards in 1992.

What other notable versions of the song exists besides that of Percy Sledge and Michael Bolton?

Some other notable versions of the song include the following:

  • Esther Phillips’ in 1966
  • Bette Midler’s version which appeared in the 1979 drama film “The Rose”
  • Narvel Felts’ in 1987


1 Response

  1. Brent Meyers says:

    Just Heard the Marcus King Band Do their Version of it at the Pinacle Bank Arena in Lincoln Nebraska on 10/15/21. Absolutely Amazing & Stunning to say the Least.Check this Guy out on YouTube!

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