Aretha Franklin began recording the song at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, after completing "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
." During the session, there was an argument between Franklin's husband, Ted White, trumpeter Ken Laxton, and FAME boss Rick Hall. Franklin and White stormed out and went AWOL, leaving Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler with an incomplete version of the R&B ballad. Dan Penn recalled to Uncut
magazine in 2020:
"I didn't think we had anything. I had sung the pilot vocal; it was real high for me, but I had to sing it with the band to get them through it. There wasn't much going on - a little drum lick, a little bass lick. (Aretha) didn't know the song; she wasn't ready to apply herself. And before I knew it, they pulled her out of there and the session was over."
A few weeks later, Franklin resurfaced at Atlantic Studios in New York to lay down her lead vocal with the help of her sisters Carolyn and Erma, along with Cissy Houston. Jerry Wexler decided to send the Muscle Shoals musicians to New York to work with the Queen of Soul. Penn remembered:
"Later on, they called the band to come up to New York, so I went up too. Jerry Wexler said, Dan - you come with me, so we went to the Atlantic control room and they played me the finished do right woman... with Aretha and her sisters and all that. It knocked me down! To me, it's the best record she ever made, so I was real happy."