Natalie Cole's first single, this funky pop song made a statement that she was not going to be a ballad singer like her famous father, Nat King Cole, who died when she was 15. Natalie worked hard to stay out of her father's shadow, and didn't start singing seriously until her senior year at the University of Massachusetts. After graduating in 1972 with a degree in child psychology, she started singing at small venues and met the producers Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy in 1974. Jackson and Yancy were in the group The Independents, which had broken up. They recorded Cole at Curtis Mayfield's studio in Chicago, writing and producing all the songs that would get her a record deal with Capitol (also her dad's label) and become the Inseparable album.
There is no magical meaning behind this song - according to Chuck Jackson, he and Yancy wrote it after Larkin Arnold at Capitol said he didn't hear a hit single on the album. Jackson and Yancy went back to their hotel and wrote the song that night, providing Cole's big hit.
This was the first of five consecutive #1 R&B hits for Natalie Cole. She was extremely successful in the late '70s, but also developed a drug addiction that derailed her career and almost killed her. She got sober in the mid-'80s and launched a comeback that peaked with her 1991 album Unforgettable... with Love, where she sang many of her father's hits.
This won a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. It was the first time someone other than Aretha Franklin won the award, which was first given in 1968. Cole drew many favorable comparisons to Franklin when her first album was released.
Younger listeners may know this song from the long-running eHarmony commercials where it is used to suggest that using the service will bring forth a love that will last a lifetime.
The 1967 song "Everlasting Love
" probably convinced the record company and publisher to use the rather bland title "This Will Be" for this song, as back then it was a bad idea to use the same title as a song that was already a hit, since your song's royalties were sure to be incorrectly attributed to the more famous one. Over time, the song started appearing as the far more descriptive "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)."