Written by the celebrated partnership of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, the song was inspired by Atlantic Records co-owner and producer Jerry Wexler. As recounted in his autobiography, Wexler, a student of African-American musical culture, had been mulling over the concept of the "natural man", when he drove by King on the streets of New York. He shouted out to her he wanted a "natural woman" song for Aretha Franklin's next album. In thanks, Goffin and King granted Wexler a co-writing credit. the personnel on the recording included Melvin Lastie on cornet, King Curtis and Charlie Chalmers on tenor sax, Willie Bridges on baritone sax, Spooner Oldham on piano, Jimmy Johnson on guitar, Tommy Cogbill on bass, and Gene Chrisman on drums and Carolyn Franklin and the Sweet Inspirations doing background vocals
On April 14, 1998, Dion, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Shania Twain, Gloria Estefan and Carole King performed the song during a VH1 Divas concert at the Beacon Theatre, New York. The five vocalists were recruited by the cable music network VH1 to raise money for Save the Music, their education charity. Hyped extensively in the press, the event was a ratings' winner for VH1 - so successful, in fact, that the network arranged to have the concert released on disc and tape on October 6, 1998. At that time "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" (performed by all divas) was released as a radio single in selected countries.