In May of 1966, Percy Sledge’s version of “When a Man Loves a Woman” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright, it was originally recorded by Percy Sledge, but other artists have recorded covers since, like Bette Midler (1980), and Michael Bolton (1991), who also pushed it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 over 25 years later. Michael Bolton’s version of “When a Man Loves a Woman” is also included in the Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles Chart.
Percy Sledge will forever be associated with “When a Man Loves a Woman,” with his soulful ballad version being filled with true anguish and passion. Sledge sang all of his songs that way, delivering them in a powerful rush where he quickly changed from soulful belting to quavering, tearful pleas. It was a voice that made him one of the key figures of deep Southern soul.
“When a Man Loves a Woman” was the first number one hit for Percy Sledge and remained there for two weeks!
His other Billboard hits include, “Take Time to Know Her”, “Love Me Tender”, “I’ll Be Your Everything”, “Baby Help Me” and “My Special Prayer”.
Here is the soulful Percy Sledge version of the song: