When A Woman Loves A Man (Esther Phillips)

29 JUNE 1966


The Percy Sledge Classic 'When a Man Loves a Woman' had been released in March 1966 and became a massive hit around the world. It was so popular that it prompted a gender-flipping cover called 'When A Woman Loves A Man' from Percy's Atlantic Records stablemate Esther Phillips, which was released six weeks after Percy's record. Her version peaked at #73 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart (and #26 on the R&B chart) during June. 

Esther had successfully applied the same trick during the previous year when she had a hit (#14 in the UK) with 'And I Love Him', a reverse take on the Beatles' 'And I Love Her'. That success was largely due to the Beatles - who liked her version - flying her to the UK for her first overseas performances. 

Prior to that, she had three #1 hits as 'Little Esther' back in 1950, when she was just 14 years old. Since that time she she had suffered with drug addiction and commercial failure before bouncing back with 'Release Me' in 1962. 

This song was competently done but not very inspired, opting for a straight cover except of course for the female voice and slightly altered lyrics. It works simply because the original was such a strong bit of music.

When A Woman Loves A Man (Esther Phillips)

'when a woman loves a man
can’t keep her mind on nothing else
she change the world for the good things she’s found
if he is bad she can’t see it
he can do no wrong
turn her back on her best friend
if she puts him down

when a woman loves a man
she’ll spend all of her time
trying to hold on to what she needs
she’ll give up all her comforts
and sleep out in the rain
if he says that’s the way it ought to be

well this woman really loves you
i gave you everything i had
try to hold on, to your unwelcome love
baby please don’t treat me bad

when a woman loves a man
deep down in her soul
he can bring her such misery
if he plays her for a fool
she’s the very last one to know
loving eyes can never see

chorus
when a woman loves a man
she’ll never, never do him wrong
any friend in this whole wide world
yes when a woman loves a man
i know exactly how i feel
cause baby, baby i’m your friend
yes when a woman loves a man
i know exactly how i feel.'

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