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I Can't Make You Love Me

by

Bonnie Raitt



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was written by songwriting team of Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin. Reid got the idea from a newspaper article about a guy who got drunk and shot up his girlfriend's car. When the judge sentenced him and asked him what he had learned, he said, "You can't make a woman love you if she don't."
Reid and Shamblin began writing this with a fast tempo. It came together when they slowed it down.
Linda Ronstadt was considered to sing this.
Both Nancy Wilson, in 1994, and Boyz II Men, in 2009, charted on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with cover versions of this ballad. The song has also been covered by George Michael and Prince.
Before Mike Reid became a songwriter and Country music artist, he played defensive tackle for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.
Producer Don Was told Spinner UK the session for this song stands out for him as a time when he stood back and watched greatness come out. Said Was: "We knew this was a great song; we had Bruce Hornsby in there playing piano with her. But when she connected to this thing, I don't even know how to describe it. But I guess it's like someone hooking you up to an electrical current; it was a physical experience to sit there and listen to it as it was going down there in the studio. And it was incredibly emotional. The only thing we ever had to change was a couple of lines where she started sobbing while she was singing. It was just an emotional thing, and she connected to the core of the song, and it was magnificent. And you can hear it today. It's tough for me to listen to that record today and not get really emotional. And I can't even relate to the song. It's, like, a woman's song. It's not what the song is about that gets me, it's some indescribable thing about the raw emotion in her performance."
The song reached its highest chart position in the UK in 1997 when a cover by George Michael released as a double A-side alongside "Older" peaked at #3. Another charting version was by Adele, which climbed into top 40 in October 2012. It was originally included on iTunes Festival: London 2011, an EP of songs released in the wake of her 2011 iTunes Festival appearance.
Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt Artistfacts
More Bonnie Raitt songs
More songs inspired by newspaper or magazine articles
More songs about heartache

Comments (22):

I love her performance and I love the melody but just looking purely at the lyric this may be the greatest song ever. I would put it right there with Clouds by Joanie Mitchell, Moon River by Johnny Mercer (the adjective Huckleberry gets a lot of points) and Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Paul Simon.
- thomas, macon, GA
Another perfect marriage of words & music.I love everything about it.As far as Linda Rondstat goes,the song they both covered is "Love has no pride."
- dane, lima,ohio, FL
i am a black lady and i am truly in love with this song i sing it with her and we sound exact the same she has some soul in her
- fine brown sugar, kansas city, MO
You just know when someone doesn't feel a damn thing for you. If you have to ask, it's a sure bet that he doesn't feel like you do. Oh, well. Heck of a song.
- Paula, Laredo, TX
This song came out at the time my best friend, who I was and still am totally in love with, announced she was getting married and asked me to walk her down the aisle. I loved her so much. That was 8 yrs ago and this song still makes me cry.
- snkefinger, Washington, DC
Oh...And By The By...Try not to cry when listening to bonnie do it live or studio!!! :_(


Sorry can't be done...If you own A HEART!
- Frank, battle Creek, MI
Everyone that I have heard do this song ...Other Than Bonnie Raitt Has crippled This Song... I can sing it better than some...and I Mean It When I Sing It! I live It!!Boo Hoo Bonnie IS THE QUEEN!!!! GM... LAME Prince...GIRL MAN NANCY WILSON...Not of my heart Fame BONNIE RULEZ!!!! LLBR! Love Frank
- Frank, battle Creek, MI
No matter how many people sing this song, there is no other version like Bonnie's.
- Kylee, Hartford, CT
Bonnie OWNS this song,...
- Butchieboy, Everett, WA
Such feeling. So emotionally wrenching you must cry and revisit why you were or are there now,...
- Butchieboy, Everett, WA
This is one of those songs that just makes you cry, I know I'm a big girl's blouse but I don't care, George Michael's cover is amazin, Bonnie Raitt rocks man.
- Norrie, Paisley, Scotland
i know that linda ronstadt did a recording of this song and i am trying to find it' yet it is not found on any internet links. i am currently going through my old vinyl albums searching for it to pinpoint where she sang this song. she did this well.
- terry, west new york, NJ
I have been in a situation where I wish i could make my woman love me,but she won't...listening to this song makes me feel hopeless and helpless at the same time, but will never give up loving her and fighting for her heart...don't you give up if she is worth it please! good luck
- Peter, London, Europe
I totally know the feeling of this song.
- Suzanne, White rock, Canada
I'm a vocalist and covered this song recently.The beautiful melody and sad lyrics caught my ear when first hearing it a few weeks ago.
- angie, Derby, England
Found this tape in my ex-wife's car and knew it was about us when I first played it
- Mark, Humboldt, IA
On the TV reality series RockStar: INXS, several of the female contestants tried to cover this song, with little success.

They all remarked that it is one of the hardest songs to sing...the vocal range, breathing, and emotion contained in the song make it difficult to pull off for all but the most talented voices.
- Dan, Fairmont, MN
I read about her in our local newspaper on the second to front page. Ilove this song
- Galina, New London, CT
This is the most heartbreaking song ever. Makes me cry when I hear it -- cause anyone who has ever been in this situation knows true heartache, loneliness and desperation to get back, even for one night what they once had.
- Susanna, Bridgeport, CT
they initially wrote this as uptempo bluegrass, for an artist like randy travis.
- Lara, hackensack, NJ
who wrote the lyrics and who wrote music or was it a joint effort by both allen and mike.which one of the two is more lyrically oriented?
- Michael, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Bruce Hornsby played piano on this. I personally consider this the best song of the nineties.
- Charles, Charlotte, NC
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