Dawn Penn first recorded this song in 1967. It was based on a track of the same title recorded by American blues musician Willie Cobbs in 1960, which itself was derived from Bo Diddley's 1955 recording "She's Fine, She's Mine." The tune was successful in Penn's native Jamaica, where it was a major hit.
Penn wrote the words when she was experiencing the painful aftermath of love. She recalled to The Sunday Gleaner, "The lyrics came about because I was in love like everyone else and had a broken heart in the process."
"You Don't Love Me" was first put on tape for Studio One, whose owner, Clement "Sir Coxson" Dodd, had her lay it down twice. Penn said that the first recording had an error. "Mr. Dodd made me re-record it in 1968."
In 1970 Dawn Penn left the music business and moved to the Virgin Islands. For the next two decades, she worked for accounting firms, banks and airlines. In the late 1980s, Penn returned to Jamaica in the hopes of reviving her career.
She re-recorded this song three times in the early 1990s, after Sir Coxson found it in the Studio One archives. The third version featured an updated dancehall arrangement courtesy of noted Jamaican production team Steely and Clevie. Penn explained: "Steelie and Clevie were asked by Mr. Dodd to do an album project for Heartbeat, celebrating Studio One's 35 years in the music industry."
This last version was a commercial success worldwide, especially in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at #3 on the Singles Chart.
Multiple recording artists have performed cover versions most notably Rihanna, who remade the song for her 2005 debut studio album, Music of the Sun and Beyoncé, who performed the song on her I Am... World Tour concert tour (2009–10).
The song has also been sampled several times including by the reggae group Aswad for their 1995 UK Top 40 single "You're No Good", Lily Allen for her 2006 track "Shame for You" and Usher for his 2010 Raymond v. Raymond cut "Pro Lover."