This was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. They were a married couple who helped shape the Brill Building sound, named for the famous building in New York City where many hits from the '60 were written and recorded. Ode Records owner Lou Adler, who worked closely with King and Goffin, said: "Gerry Goffin is one of the best lyricists in the last 50 years. He's a storyteller, and his lyrics are emotional. 'Natural Woman,' 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.' These are perfect examples of situations, very romantic, almost a moral statement. Coming out of the 1950s, with the type of bubble gum music, and then in 1961, Gerry is writing about a girl who just might let a guy sleep with her and she wants to know, 'is it just tonight or will you still love me tomorrow?' Goffin could write a female lyric. If he could write the words to 'Natural Woman,' that's a woman speaking. Gerry put those words into Carole's mouth. He was a chemist before he was a full time lyricist. He's very intelligent and obviously emotional."
Regarding the origins of the song, Adler added: "Last year (2007) I spoke to Jerry Wexler at his home in Florida, and he told me the story that Gerry was coming out of a building in New York, (Goffin now remembers it as an Oyster House), and Jerry Wexler is passing in a car, and yells out, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Natural Woman'?' They felt the title was so distinct and so important to the song that they gave him a piece of it. So, when I spoke to Jerry recently to call him on his 90th birthday, he said, 'Isn't it amazing what those kids gave me? The checks keep coming in and I'm really happy about it.' Knowing how much he added to the song, not really as a third writer but the title and the inspiration of what was to be, a great song."
The recording features the vocal talents of three Franklin sisters - Erma and Carolyn are singing in the background. Erma had a record deal in the '60s, but didn't have much success. Her biggest hit was the 1967 song "Piece Of My Heart."
Carole King recorded her own version of this song on her 1971 Tapestry album.
When Aretha Franklin performed this song in tribute to Carole King at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, she brought the house down, wowing King and the many luminaries present, including Barack and Michelle Obama. The crowd rose to its feet when Franklin shed her fur coat to belt out the end of the song.
This was used on the TV shows Murphy Brown (in the 1988 episode "Respect" ) and Northern Exposure (in the 1991 episode "Animals R Us"). It was also featured in the movies The Big Chill (1983) and Street Smart (1987).
Several artists have covered this, including Peggy Lee, Freddie Hughes, Rod Stewart, and Celine Dion. Amber Riley also covered it on the 2014 Glee episode "Bash," and Mary J. Blige performed it during an appearance on the crime drama New York Undercover in the 1995 episode "Tag, You're Dead." Blige's version, found on the show's soundtrack, went to #95 on the Hot 100.
Carole King named her 2012 best-selling memoir, A Natural Woman, after this song.
The song landed at #79 on the UK singles chart in the week following Aretha Franklin's death. Surprisingly, Franklin's version of the Carole King-penned track had never charted in the UK before, though Mary J. Blige's interpretation did reach #23 in 1995.
Yolanda Adams, Andra Day and Fantasia performed this in tribute to Aretha Franklin at the Grammy Awards in 2019.
Keely from Fort Lauderdale, FlA word must be said for the magnificent orchestral arrangement by Arif Mardin with strings conducted by Ralph Burns.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 1st 1969, Lesley Gore performed "A Natural Woman" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'... Two years earlier on October 29th, 1967 Aretha Franklin peaked at #8 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart with her version, and she took it to #2 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart... In 1998 the 'VH1 Divas Live - Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, and Shania Twain' album was released; and the song was featured on it.
Ivy from Springfield, NeWhat a gorgeous voice :)
Don Hertel from Dover, NjGerry Goffin was drinking one evening outside the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station and Jerry Wexler drove up in a limo and called Goffin over. He told him that he needed Gerry and Carole to write the next song for Aretha Franklin, and that he would give him the title, Natural Woman. I think they wrote it that night. Jerry Wexler gets a writing credit for the title. Aretha also covered Goffin & King's "Oh No, Not My Baby" and King's "You've Got A Friend" in a medley "Precious Lord (Take My Hand) / You've Got A Friend". Erma Franklin recorded Goffin/King's "The Right To Cry". James Taylor's sister Kate named her daughter Aretha (Aretha Witham).
Leah from Brooklyn, NyThe lyrics can easily be directed at either a lover or God, but a glance below makes me more comfortable with the Lover option. That is, unless you believe God goes around kissing women.
"When my soul was in the lost and found you came along to claim it i didnt know just what was wrong with me till your kiss helped me name it. now im no longer doubtful of what im living for and if i make you happy i dont need to do more
ohh baby what ya done to me (whatcha done to me) made me feel so good inside (good inside) and i just wanna be (wanna be) close to you you make me feel so alive"
Chuck from Concord, NhThis song was used to great effect in the movie "The Big Chill". Aretha's best song in my opinion.
Luis from Fullerton, CaThis is a worship song, this is not about having a baby, this is the songwriters, giving thanks to the Father, if you listen to the words, you will be able to understand that the thanks can only go to the One, our Father, there are parts that you can say "this is about a man or a baby or something else" but if you listen to ALL of it, there is only one direction that it goes to, our Father, giving thanks.
Michael from San Diego, CaA truly emotional, and very beautiful tune! I have a video of Aretha's that contains her, Bonnie Raitt & Gloria Estefan all joining together to sing this song for some awards show and they were all incredible! This song stands that test of time and will be enjoyed and sang for geberations to come.
Chris from Pitman, NjC?mon! Doesn?t anybody realize that this song is about having a baby! ?Oh baby what you?ve done to me; you make me feel so good inside!? ?I just want to be close to you, you make me feel so alive!? A natural WOMAN, get it??? I've never heard it, but someone wrote that Rod Stewart covered this after changing the lyric. Yeah, Rod Stewart! Completely over his head...
Nicole from N/a, WiI love Aretha and on diva's live when they were all combined i thought Carole and Aretha blew the house away. The other ladies were good too though. I just gotta give respect to my fave soul queen miss franklin.
Ressie from Medford, OrI would like to hear Joe Cocker sing this. I know that sounds bizzare, but when that man gets passionately into a song...I think he could kick this song's ass! Anyway, as a tomboy I'm not particularly inclined to feel feminine...but it's still great.
Jon from Oakridge, OrI give Aretha 3 of 3. I give the great band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes 4 of 5 on this one.
Charlette from Budapest, HungaryIt's one of my favourite song! I can't tell more, it's simply amazing!!
Angela from Monroe, LaThis is the greatest love song EVER written! It wasn't until after I met and married my second husband that I understood what it ment to feel like a Natural Woman.it's the most wonderful feeling to have discovered this feeling of love. As Aretha sang, I had tears pouring down my face as I realized this is what my husband has done for me. I can't listen to the song with out tears.
Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScWhen I was little around the time I was 5 or so, they use to play this song a lot on the radio. That's probably where I first heard it. I was born a long time after the song came out though.
Nickc from Ft. Wayne, InOn the TV show, "Murphy Brown," the character sang a few lines of this to her baby in the culminating episode of the controversial leadup to her giving birth and becoming a single mother.
Charlie from Thomaston, Dcwhen i was little(about 5) this was my favorite song i still don't know why. go figure little kids!
Gary from Thetford, EnglandRod Stewart did a version of this in 1974 for his album 'Smiler'. He changed the gender in the lyrics, of-course. However the results, as described by The All Music Guide, were unbearably smug.
Nancy from Orange, CaProducer Jerry Wexler's contribution was that he came up with the title and told King & Goffin to write a song around it. Also, Aretha oversings on her version of this song. Carole King's subdued version is much more soulful.
Paul from Greenwood, ScA holy grail of female soul tracks. The greatest ah-oh's ever recorded..as in "Looking out on the morning rain...(ah-oh)...i use to feel so uninspired....(ah-oh)... Try to listen to this one and not ah-oh. I double dog dare you.
Deana from Indianapolis, InCarole King on Tapestry gives this song soul
Carolyn from P'ville, CaWas sang on the movie "Simone"