When a Man Loves a Woman (song)

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For the Jody Watley song, see When a Man Loves a Woman (Jody Watley song).
"When a Man Loves a Woman"
Single by Percy Sledge
from the album When a Man Loves a Woman
B-side Love Me Like You Mean It
Released April 16, 1966
Format 7" vinyl "45"
Recorded February 17, 1966 in Sheffield, Alabama
Genre R&B, soul,[1] blues, traditional pop
Length 2:51
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Calvin Lewis, Andrew Wright
Producer(s) 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[1] in 1966 at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama. It made number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts.[2] It was listed 53rd in the List of Rolling Stone magazine's 500 greatest songs of all time. The sidemen for this recording included Spooner Oldham, organ; Marlin Greene, guitar; Albert "Junior" Lowe, bass and Roger Hawkins, drums. The music is built around a commonly used descending bass line chord progression as in Pachelbel's canon, or Bach's Air on the G string.

It was later covered by Michael Bolton in 1991, whose version also reached number one on the U.S. pop and adult contemporary singles charts (Bolton received a Grammy Award for this song). The Michael Bolton version has the distinction of being the last number one song to chart on the old Billboard Hot 100 charting system which relied on sales and airplay reports before switching over to Soundscan.

Barbara Mandrell recorded a country version of the song that same year. The song has also been recorded by Jerry Butler, Art Garfunkel, Luba, and Karen Dalton.

Sledge's version 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.


End of year chart (1992) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[3] 54


A German version was recorded by the singer Manuela as "Wenn es Nacht wird in Harlem".


  1. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 52 – The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 8] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.  Track 3.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 533. 
  3. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1992". Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 367. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  5. ^ Whitburn, p. 168
  6. ^ Whitburn, p. 143

Michael Bolton 2005

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Monday, Monday" by The Mamas & the Papas
Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Percy Sledge version)
May 28, 1966
(two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Paint It, Black" by The Rolling Stones
Preceded by
"Get Ready" by The Temptations
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
May 7, 1966 – May 28, 1966 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown and the Famous Flames
Preceded by
"Too Many Walls" by Cathy Dennis
Billboard Adult Contemporary number-one single (Michael Bolton version)
November 2, - November 23, 1991
Succeeded by
"That's What Love Is For" by Amy Grant
Preceded by
"Cream" by Prince and The New Power Generation
Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Michael Bolton version)
November 23, 1991
(one week)
Succeeded by
"Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" by P.M. Dawn