Written by Ronnie Shannon, who was also responsible for Aretha's first Top 10 hit I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)," this horn-laden soul track finds the singer declaring her love and urging her man to make the next move. Aside from peaking at #4 on the Hot 100, it also held the #1 spot on the R&B chart for two weeks.
Aretha recorded this with Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler in New York City during the same session as "Chain Of Fools." Most of the personnel from "I Never Loved A Man" featured on the track, including engineer Tom Dowd and Muscle Shoals players Jimmy Johnson and Joe South on guitars, Tommy Cogbill on bass, Spooner Oldham on electric piano and Roger Hawkins on drums. Truman Thomas also played the organ. Likewise, her sisters Carolyn and Erma provided backing vocals along with the Sweet Inspirations, an R&B girl group founded by Cissy Houston.
Arif Mardin arranged the horns, which boasted King Curtis, who blasted out the famous solo on "Yakety Yak," on tenor sax, along with Charlie Chalmers on tenor sax, Willie Bridges on baritone sax, Melvin Lastie on trumpet, and Tony Studd on trombone.
Aretha called the recording space on the second floor of 1841 Broadway "big enough for the rhythm section, but intimate enough for the vocals." She recalled the sessions in the biography Queen of Soul by Mark Bego: "Those sessions were a lot of fun, and there was a lot of good food coming in and out of the studio. Lots of burgers, fries, milkshakes. In between takes, we would sit and chat, whoever was producing, Jerry or Arif. They'd be enjoying those burgers so much I couldn't wait until mine came!"
This is also featured on her live album Aretha In Paris (1968).
Several artists have covered this, including Erma Franklin, Otis Rush, The Bar-Kays, B.B. King, Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack, Irma Thomas, and Lisa Marie Presley.
This was used in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas, starring Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
Melinda from AustraliaI am just crazy about this song. I love it’s cool up and down rocky rhythm. That Aretha Franklin completely controls effortlessly.
Did Aretha Franklin ever sing a bad song?. Not to my knowledge. She make could a bad song fantastic. Jus by opening her mouth. She really understood music. And so did her sister. Aretha Franklin seemed to have an inate knowledge of where to take a song vocally. And was pretty handy on the piano.
I think she was a person who totally believed in her own talent and ability from very very young. Thank God.
I’m 53 now, but I didn’t discover the best of her old songs till my late 30’s. When I was divorcing. I was astounded how so many of her songs went straight to the heart of matters in relationships. With precise observations. Very Well written songs. And I believe Aretha Franklin deliberately chose songs that women would really ‘get’. She was also, definitely, an early Feminist. I’ve no doubt about that. Her activism in the Civil Rights movement was just half her story. Her old songs seemed to say to men, baby, we love ya, but ya got to treat us right. I’ll quote the lyrics from Respect. ‘Give me my propers’. Proper manners and decency. Seems less of it around these days than then.