The Story Behind the Classic Love Song “When a Man Loves a Woman”

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Percy Sledge’s song “When a Man Loves a Woman had a completely different title and meaning when it started. Sledge recalled in 2010: “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 says that when he originally sang this, he had in mind Lizz King, his girlfriend of three years who left him for a modeling job in Los Angeles. Said Sledge: “I didn’t have any money to go after her, so there was nothing I could do to try and get her back.”

(sourced from songfacts.com)

“When A Man Loves A Woman”

When a man loves a woman,
Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else,
He’d change the world for the good thing he’s found.
If she is 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,
He’ll spend his very last dime
Tryin’ to hold on to what he needs.
He’d give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain,
If she said that’s the way
It ought to be.
Well, this man loves you, woman.
I gave you everything I have,
Tryin’ to hold on to your heartless 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 is playin’ him for a fool,
He’s the last one to know.
Lovin’ eyes can never see.
When a man loves a woman
He can do her no wrong,
He can never want
Some other girl.
Yes,When a man loves a woman
I know exactly how he feels,
‘Cause baby, baby, you’re my world
When a man loves a woman….
lyrics by azlyrics.com

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