In 1961, Etta James recorded the song for her début album At Last!. Her rendition also served as the B-side to her hit of that name and became popular in the UK in 1996 after featuring in a Diet Coke advertising campaign. As a result, the song was released as a single there. The Etta James version contains lyrical changes that affect the meaning of the song. For example, "I don't want you to make my bed" becomes "I just want to make your bed". Instead of forgoing the traditionally female domestic chores eschewed in the original, the lyrics that Ms. James sings clearly state that she wants to perform all of those duties as well as "make love to you", whereas in the original, the male singer is essentially saying that his lover need not perform any of the traditional domestic duties—love making is all he needs.
Blues-rock group Foghat released a version of "I Just Want to Make Love to You" on their self-titled debut album in 1972 and released the song as a single the same year where it reached #83 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was their first hit. A live version was released on Foghat Live and released as another 45 rpm single with "Fool for the City" as the b-side; the single was edited from over eight minutes to 3 minutes and 56 seconds. This single version reached #33 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Violent Femmes' song "Gone Daddy Gone" on their 1983 eponymous debut album, contains an interpolation of lyrics from the song ("I can tell by the way that you baby talk...I could love you baby, it's a crying...")