If I Were Your Woman (song)

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"If I Were Your Woman"
Single by Gladys Knight & the Pips
from the album If I Were Your Woman
B-side "The Tracks of My Tears"
Released November 1970
Recorded Hitsville USA
(Detroit, Michigan)
March 13, 1970
Genre Soul
Length 3:14
Label Motown
Writer(s) Gloria Jones, Clay McMurray, Pam Sawyer
Producer(s) Clay McMurray
Gladys Knight & the Pips singles chronology
"You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You)"
(1970)
"If I Were Your Woman"
(1970)
"I Don't Want to Do Wrong"
(1971)

"If I Were Your Woman" is a song recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips. The song was written by Pam Sawyer, Clay McMurray, and Gloria Jones and it was produced by McMurray and arranged by David Van De Pitte. Released in late 1970 from the album of the same title, it spent one week at number-one on the Best Selling Soul Singles chart in January 1971. It was also successful on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, peaking at #9.[1]

Chart positions[edit]

Charts Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 9
U.S. Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles 1

Cover versions[edit]

Alicia Keys version[edit]

"If I Was Your Woman / Walk on By"
Song by Alicia Keys from the album The Diary of Alicia Keys
Genre R&B
Length 3:06
Label J
Writer
Producer
The Diary of Alicia Keys track listing
"Heartburn"
(3)
"If I Was Your Woman / Walk on By" "You Don't Know My Name"
(5)

Alicia Keys recorded a medley of "I Were Your Woman" and "Walk On By" for her second studio album The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003), entitled "If I Was Your Woman/Walk On By". Keys would later record a full version of the song for her first live album Unplugged (2005); it received a nomination for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance at the 2006 Grammy Awards.[2] Another version, entitled "If I Was Your Woman (Original Funky Demo Version)" appears on Songs in A Minor: 10th Anniversary Edition (2011).[3] Keys stated that it was "dangerous" to record the song, and commented "when I do a remake, it's not about wondering how people will criticize it. It's a private choice".[4] "If I Was Your Woman" was included on the set list of Keys' Diary Tour (2005).

"If I Was Your Woman" was generally well received by music critics in their reviews for The Diary of Alicia Keys. Mark Anthony Neal of PopMatters felt that the song is the "funkiest and most hip-hop inflected track" on the album, adding that it "forc[es] Keys to push towards her highest vocal register".[5] BBC Music reviewer Denise Boyd called it a "[song] to look out for" on the album.[6] Dimitri Ehrlich of Vibe praised Keys' vocal in the song, writing "Her voice is low and full, brimming with emotion. Singing as if her life depended on every note, she makes sure you feel the urgency".[7] Steve LaBate of Paste described the song as "a well-written soul-pop tune with a killer sitar hook and Keys’ chiming harp-like piano accents that eventually morph into sparse, pretty jazz chords during the verse" and concluded that it's one of the "stronger tracks" on the album.[8] Jim Farber of the New York Daily News commented that Keys took a risk by covering the song, but concluded that "she makes it her own, putting more funk in the rhythm and finding new throatiness in her voice".[9] Laura Sinagra of The Village Voice was not pleased with the song, writing that "Keys streets up Gladys Knight with "If I Was Your Woman" and might get fan points for effort, but her hip-hop "aw, aw, aw"s fail to convince".[10]

Other covers[edit]

There have been numerous other cover versions, most notably by Stephanie Mills. Her version peaked at #19 on the Hot Black Singles chart in 1988. This song was also covered by Shirley Brown in 2000 on her album Holding My Own.

Some years before, Latimore on his homonymous album of 1973, recorded this song with the title "If You Were My Woman" (#70 R&B).

George Michael covered the song as "If You Were My Woman" at Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute on June 11, 1988, at Wembley Arena. The performance appears as a b-side on the "Praying for Time" single. Drum and bass producers Brookes Brothers sampled the chorus in their 2008 song, "Tear You Down".

On November 4, 2013, Tessanne Chin covered the song on Season 5 of NBC's singing competition, The Voice for the Live Top 10 round.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 54. 
  2. ^ "Keys Pleasantly Surprised By Grammy Nominations". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2006-02-03. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  3. ^ Dinh, James (April 13, 2011). "Alicia Keys Announces 10th Anniversary Edition Of Songs In A Minor". MTV News. Viacom. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  4. ^ Farber, Jim (2003-12-02). "IT'S STRICTLY TALENT ON DISPLAY with Alicia Keys, Musical Craft is What's Shakin'". New York Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  5. ^ Neal, Mark Anthony (2003-12-20). "Alicia Keys: The Diary of Alicia Keys". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-10-17. 
  6. ^ Boyd, Denise (2003). "Alicia Keys The Diary Of Alicia Keys Review". BBC Music. Retrieved 2015-10-18. 
  7. ^ Ehrlich, Dimitri (February 2004). "Review: The Diary of Alicia Keys". Vibe. Spin Media. p. 127–128. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  8. ^ LaBate, Steve (2004-02-01). "Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  9. ^ Farber, Jim (2003-12-02). "'Diary's' Secret: Echoes Of '70s Soul". New York Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman. Retrieved 2015-10-23. 
  10. ^ Sinagra, Laura (2003-12-30). "Singing School". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2015-10-17. 
  11. ^ Tessanne Chin puts her heart and soul into "If I Were Your Woman."

External links[edit]